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Love and the psychopath: the Daniel and Gillian story (Intention, Bloodhound Books)

Book blurb:

When twenty-two-year-old Gillian Thompson returns from university for the summer, it is apparent there is tension at home. An irritant to her father and a concern to her mother, Gillian’s home life is less than ideal.

Geraldine, Gillian’s mother, has suffered abuse from Joe for years. However, it is not until Joe dies that the family dynamic shifts and Gillian starts out on her own dark journey…

When Gillian meets Paul and Daniel she starts to become the person she always knew she was. And as people around her start dying Gillian faces scrutiny from her mother. 

But are the deaths accidents or is something more sinister at work?

C.S. Barnes' Intention is set to be one of 2019's stand-out debuts. A dark and compelling psychological thriller, it will appeal to fans of authors like; Lisa Jewell, S.E. Lynes, Theresa Driscoll.

Love and the psychopath: the Daniel and Gillian story

Gillian was always a difficult protagonist to love, but in a strange sort of way I did love her. I loved, still love, her quirks and her off-beat way of viewing the world, and I love that she is malicious without being cruel (I like to think, at least). That being said, I realise that Gillian is a only-a-mother-can-love sort of character – which is probably why my fondness stands so strong even after everything she does in her book. Gillian’s love for violence, and her penchant for hurting fluffy things, meant that she needed something, anything, that would give her a kind of redemption – and that’s where Daniel came in.
            Daniel was written to be off-beat in a different (less threatening) way than Gillian and he brings an innocence and humour to the book that it desperately needs – otherwise, it’s just Gillian being quietly aggressive for one too many chapters without reprieve. By the time Daniel was coming into the book, Gillian had already done one or two things that required forgiveness from the reader (no spoilers, I promise). In many ways then, Daniel was designed to redeem Gillian’s nastiness by giving her back some humanity; she laughs, she blushes, and she lives in a ever so slightly more normal way when Daniel comes on the scene. In Gillian’s own first person narrative she comments at one point that Daniel makes her more human which, as a plot device and character, was exactly his purpose.
            That being said, I’ve never quite gotten over the guilt of pairing Daniel off with someone like Gillian. When people ask me about him – which people always do – I tell them at great lengths what a shame it is that they ended up together at all, but it was also a necessity, I know. I suppose my remorse at letting Daniel and Gillian ride off into the sunset – well, sort of (no spoilers, remember) – comes from the fact that Daniel is a genuinely good human (character, you know what I mean) because he acts in ways that we admire; he’s caring for a relative, he dotes on his girlfriend, he tries – too hard sometimes, I’ll admit – to be kind and funny and accommodating. Who wouldn’t want to have someone like that around? Even Gillian, with her never-ending difficulties in spotting human feelings, even when she’s experiencing them, appreciates Daniel’s worth as a character, as a companion. And if a psychopath thinks that you’re worth keeping around then you really must be!
            There are things that I really love about Intention, and things that, even after a thousand read-throughs and edits, I’m truly quite proud of – and Daniel is one of them. My partner joked once that the reason I like Daniel so much is because I basically created a person who I’d like to be with (hello, did you read the description above?) and it’s not an unfair accusation, really. I wanted a character that people would love – Gillian included – and subsequently, all these years later, I still love Daniel a little bit myself; his chapters are some of my favourites in the whole book. He lends himself so easily to comedy and drama – made all the more entertaining by the fact that he rarely seems to understand that he’s even a part of the drama – and time after time he is endearing, and clumsy, and very, very human.
Don’t get me wrong, I want people to love Gillian – in all of her dysfunctional glory – but I sincerely hope that when people do read the book, they keep a special place to one side for Daniel as well.


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