Good Reading : November 2017
GOODREADINGMAGAZINE.COM.AU GOOD READING NOVEMBER 2017 32 BEHIND THE BOOK 1 I’d been nominated as a suspect by a number of people and asked would I mind speaking to them. I invited them in, they asked their questions, and I gave them a DNA sample. Talking with the detectives, I began to comprehend this case was now nearly 20 years old. My eldest daughter, born around City of Light’s publication, was now at university. I couldn’t help but think about the families of the victims and their long and awful wait, about the police who had tried to solve the crime and failed, and those who had been tainted with the suspicion of being involved. It seemed fate was directing me to use this canvas, but still, I resisted. Even after 20 years, the wound was still too raw. But I couldn’t ignore the profound ongoing effect of the murders on Perth’s psyche, nor that I’d been nominated as a serial killer. Finally, I had the basis of something that would justify the return of Snowy Lane. What excited me was the length of time Snowy had been off the scene. We’d last heard from him in 1989. Could I use Snowy to voice the frustrations and fears of all those faced with life’s inexorable advance and their own failings over that time? Technically I wanted to push myself even further. I wanted to create a story that tapped into the psychological trauma of a whole state and I wanted to use both Snowy and Dan Clement to do it. Dan was my age when I wrote City of Light, Snowy my age now. I saw potential. And so here you have Clear to the Horizon, spanning 1999 to now, set in Perth and the Kimberley, using the emotional power of the Claremont serial killings as a touchstone. This is not a fictionalisation of real events; I’ve simply worked at transferr ing the emotional impact I felt about the real crimes to my fictional world. The real events give me a template only. At the time I began the novel in August 2015, there had been no progress on the case. By early 2016, I had written the first third of the novel and decided that Snowy’s instinct should be to pursue his hunch that an earlier abduction and rape were carried out by the ser ial killer. Within a few weeks of me reaching this point in my story, a Perth journalist who had followed the case closely, revealed police had matched DNA from an earlier rape to DNA found on one of the victims ... Spooky. (P.S. Within six months of me finishing the book a suspect was arrested in the real case.) Clear to the Horizon by Dave Warner is published by Fremantle Press, rrp. $29.99. Dave Warner performing ‘Suburban Boy’ with his band Dave Warner and the Suburbs back in 1979 But I couldn’t ignore the profound ongoing effect of the murders on Perth’s psyche, nor that I’d been nominated as a serial killer.