Everyone has secrets. Everyone goes through crises while even their closest friends remain in the dark. Everyone fears gossip and judgment. There is something about a marriage that creates necessary walls between friends. Sometimes a secret must remain trapped behind the walls of a home. And so when a good friend suddenly announces an impending divorce or enters rehab or worse, dies in a manner suggesting depression, friends are often baffled and heartbroken, realizing that even people with a large support group, a full social life, a seemingly wonderful marriage, can feel all alone. This is what I thought about while writing my latest mystery, Depth of Lies.
In the story, Shea Walker, a woman who seemed to have it all, dies in a tub, her body full of pills and alcohol. Her closest friend and longtime neighbor, Kat Burrows, can't believe it could have been suicide. She's determined to understand why it happened.
In a story that pinballs back and forth between Kat's investigation and Shea's last months of life, the truth is finally revealed.
Though the story is full of thwarted desire, shameful secrets and shocking betrayals, I was actually inspired by a fantastic group of friends I've made since moving to Oak Park almost two decades ago. It's an eclectic group that has grown and changed over time, but the bond has always been motherhood. We've relished our Girls' Nights Out and even the occasional, treasured weekend getaway. We often play games, sometimes there's a little too much alcohol involved, and maybe we even break into a dance party. But mostly, we laugh a lot and return to our families refreshed.
During one of those getaways, my imagination took hold as it sometimes does. After all, I'm always thinking about stories. That day I wondered: what if a friend were involved in a crime during this trip? What if an otherwise smart woman, found herself in a terrible and dangerous situation? What if she did something that could ruin lives? How far would one friend really go for another? And that became one of the seeds of this story.
My first book, The Green Line, a legal thriller, used my background as an attorney in Chicago for inspiration. My second book, Broken Grace, was inspired by southwest Michigan and the idea that among those beautiful pastoral settings, crimes could be committed, bodies could be buried, and harmful gunfire could be mistaken for the sound of a hunting rifle. And for this book, I looked around my own idyllic, historic, beautiful town and envisioned a fictional version of Oak Park, called Maple Park in the book. I envisioned friends who'd been together for years, entering the empty-nest phase and facing all the stresses that come along with long-term marriage. I sought to create a just-one-more-chapter, compelling mystery with relatable and complicated characters. I've always been a binge-reader and I know, especially among busy parents, if you put something down, you may never pick it back up, so I hope that with my latest, I've created a story that readers will devour like a sleeve of Oreos or a bottle of wine, but without the guilt.
Depth of Lies (Thomas & Mercer) hit shelves on Sept. 26 and is available in paperback, e-book and audio. Signed copies are available at The Book Table in Oak Park. West Suburban Living Magazine reviewed the book in its October issue, calling it "a mind-bending drama inside a page-turning thriller."
To learn more about my books, go to ecdiskin.com and follow the latest on facebook.com/ECDiskin.
E.C. Diskin will be at the Buzz Café for a book club event on Monday, Oct. 30, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. for a discussion of her novel "Depth of Lies." $15 includes appetizers, desserts and soft drinks (BYOB if you'd like). Reservations required: 708-660-0894, email@example.com. 905 S. Lombard, Oak Park.
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