A Morbid Habit has all the hallmarks of a solid crime book: a slightly unhinged loner as the lead investigator, old-time journo pal, mysterious large companies, exotic settings (Russia and London), espionage and plausible plot line (just - but that's why we love them). The difference is that Catherine Berlin, the lead investigator is a part-time employee, single, 57 and a long-time heroin addict on a controlled opiate program. It's gritty stuff.
Annie Hauxwell ticks all the boxes and she's worth a look if you looking for a break from David Baldacci, Le Carre, James Patterson and Co. Oh wait, that would be the Boy's Crime Club!!
Give Annie Hauxwell a go.
Keep scrolling down for a great Q&A with the author.
Q & A with Annie Hauxwell, author of A Morbid Habit with thanks to Michael Joseph/ Penguin.
What is your new book about?
It’s Christmas in London. Broke and struggling with a drug habit, investigator Catherine Berlin gets lucky with a job in Moscow. Luck soon deserts her: her target is dead, her passport and prescription medication are confiscated, her interpreter is a spy. Pursued and betrayed, Berlin fears she may be her own worst enemy. But she’s not.
What or who inspired it?
Moscow. A fascinating, and sometimes frightening city that begs to be ‘read’, but where foreigners easily lose the plot.
What was the biggest challenge, writing it?
Writing Russians speaking English, if you know what I mean! There is no ‘the’ or ‘a’ in Russian, so how I had to determine a character’s English proficiency before I started, and make sure I kept to that ‘rule’.
What do you hope for your book?
That it’s a cracking read with some funny bits.
Are there any parts of it that have special personal significance to you?
The scene where Catherine Berlin’s mother attempts to burn her dead grandfather’s effects; any attempt at expunging history, whether personal or political, is dangerous and doomed.
To whom have you dedicated the book and why?
It’s dedicated to my partner, whose heritage I plundered in writing it.
Who do you think will enjoy your book?
It’s been said that ‘old comrades’ will get more value from some of the clues scattered throughout the book. I think it will probably also appeal to conspiracy theorists and exiles.
Sydney Morning Herald review
Review by Australian crime writer