Unto darkness.

I've always wanted to write something truly dark. Something like TOKYO, or THE MERMAIDS SINGING, something that makes people shiver as they read it in bed, while the bleak night roars outside their window. Stealing reason and warmth... Only trouble is I don't seem capable. I've said several times that, "This time, it's going to be bleak-tastic! It's going to be dark and nasty and scary..." and yet it never is.

I'm not sure if this is because my writing just isn't good enough to give full vent to mine bleak side, or if I'm just not cut out for that kind of thing. Take, as an example, Mr Steve Brewer -- his normal writing style is much like he is in person: entertaining, humorous, likeable. Bearded. He even has a regular, syndicated, light-hearted column, for God's sake! And yet his story PAYOFF in the DAMN NEAR DEAD anthology is pretty darn bleak. Clearly he can do the 'funy -- ha, ha' stuff and the dark and nasty too.

So why can't I?

OK, so here's a tiny spoiler-ete for you: at the end of Book 3, BROKEN SKIN, I've done something pretty bloody rotten to poor old DS Logan McRae. It should open up a whole cupboard of dark and nasty, but I don't know if I'll be able to carry it off. And even if I do, will the people who read my books go along with it? Or will they be really bloody disappointed? "Where's the funny stuff, you fat beardy bastard?" Where indeed...

Of course, a lot of this is 'new book jitters' where it doesn't matter what I do, I know it's going to be 156.7% more crap than my last book. And everyone's going to hate it, and I'll be chased through the streets by irate publishers and readers, wanting to take a cheese grater to my sinful-man-nether-portions. You leave my private areas alone! They're private! And She Who Must Patrol The Grounds With a Shotgun, Looking To Blow The Arse Off Anyone Poaching disapproves of such things.

Where was I? ... Ah, yes, stuff and things... Er... OK, so in order to pretend that this is some sort of cohesive article, rather than a somewhat shamefully incoherent ramble, I'll come back to the whole 'Dark And Disturbing' thing with a question:

Darkness -- is it a good thing in books? And exactly how dark are you prepared to go?