Writing Magazine

FOCUS ON THE NEGATIVE

Looking for a clever, clued-in thriller writer to take you on a white-knuckle rollercoaster ride into the psychological undercurrents of contemporary culture? Step up, SJ Watson. The multi-millionselling author of runaway debut Before I Go To Sleep – one of the genre-defining psychological thrillers – and the follow-up Second Life has a new book that will find readers feverishly turning pages as the midnight oil burns.

Final Cut, Steve’s new novel, takes his familiar themes of memory and identity but shows his scope widening from domestic noir to look at the events that unfold when a documentary photographer embarks, despite many misgivings, on a project to record life in Blackwood Bay, a northern seaside town. From this uneasy outset, the story, punctured by the screw-turning twists Steve is famous for, spirals inexorably into very dark waters indeed.

‘I wanted to get away a bit from the domestic noir – this one is less family-based,’ Steve says, down the phone during lockdown. ‘I want to broaden my palette. It’s about our modern-day drive to document and share, and a seaside town and what might be going on below the surface. I’ve always had an interest in our reliance on technology and our obsession with describing every part of our lives. I’m old enough to remember when you took photos you shot on film and if you didn’t like them, you’d discard them… and now we share every aspect, particularly with film and videos and photos on Instagram. came from thinking about how we do that – and that drive to share and document is taken to extreme to

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