Great cover, isn't it!
This was created by the in-house design team at
Penguin. Without doubt, it is the best cover I've ever been given
for any of my books. Come to think of it, I can't recall a
better cover on any book I've ever seen.
Kill the Possum is
my tenth novel for Young Adults and it is not for the
fainthearted. How can it be when two of my teenage protagonists
set out to murder a man? That's right, the big M.
such an act ever justified? That's one of the questions my novel
asks the reader to consider and it's not as easily answered as you
might think. After all, we don't call it murder when soldiers kill
on the battlefield. Ask a warrior in uniform how he justifies
killing and the answer might be the need to defend one's country
from aggression or to regain what has been stolen by force of
arms. But when a soldier is caught up in the terror of
battle where politics doesn't seem as important as survival, his
answer is more likely to be, 'I killed the other guy so he
couldn't kill me first,' or 'to stay alive' or 'because the guy next
to me was depending on me to do it.'
Possum , Dylan Kane chooses the worst
possible moment to make an unexpected call on his
girlfriend, Kirsty. What he sees leads him to a dilemma similar to that faced
by the soldier on the battlefield. He becomes the only person
to witness what Ian Cartwright does to Kirsty's family, to
her mother and her brother Tim in particular. Cartwright is a bully
of the most vicious kind, someone who gets a rush out of
what he does. But he doesn't use his fists to harm and intimidate.
The damage he inflicts on the Beal family is psychological
which means the bruises he leaves aren't visible on the body. If
it doesn't stop, the abuse will might well lead to Mrs Beal
or her son taking their own lives.
what does Dylan do? The police and the courts can't stop Cartwright.
Someone has to take responsibility.
would you do, and how would you feel if the price of your
actions was the same as what happens in this story?
Where does the possum come in? In part the
reference is a metaphor for characters in the story but there is
also a real possum and its fate will shock you.
I had written this book, I began to wonder about my view of my
fellow man. Seems awfully grim, after all. I've always done my best
to see the good in humanity and it is still there to be glimpsed in
Possum . I hope Kirsty's character comes across
as bursting with life. I deliberately set out to make her that
way. Yet there is darkness here. Maybe I have watched too
much ofThe Sopranos
. Or perhaps it is the influence of Barry Unsworth's
novels where the naive and the good are trampled so ruthlessly by
the cruel and the powerful. His story, A Morality Tale is
one of the most brutal indictments of the human heart you will
So many of my ideas these days come from the books, the
movies and the television that I watch. I know that I first
started to think about a story of this nature after seeing a movie
titled In the Bedroom . It's not a film young
people are likely to choose for an afternoon in front of the
flat screen TV, (and it's not pornographic, as the title seems to suggest)
but it's well worth a look if you want to understand my