Monday, August 16, 2021

Seven novels that explore collective guilt & individual complicity

Ashley Winstead is the author of In My Dreams I Hold a Knife. A resident of Houston, she earned a Ph.D. in contemporary American literature from Southern Methodist University and a B.A. in English and Art History from Vanderbilt University.

At CrimeReads she tagged seven recent crime novels that explore collective guilt and individual complicity. One title on the list:
For the Best by Vanessa Lillie

The novel’s main character, Juliet Worthington-Smith, thinks of herself as more than the victim of a false murder accusation—in her heart, she thinks of herself as a hero, a philanthropic champion of progressive causes. The story is brilliant for the way it allows the reader to see how Juliet’s self-perceptions don’t match reality, from her inability to recognize her drinking problem to her lack of social awareness. When Juliet is accused of killing her friend Dr. Terrance Castle, she sets off to find the real killer, though frustratingly, her investigation keeps pointing back to herself. Juliet’s burgeoning understanding of her own complicity is all the more powerful because Dr. Castle was championing a new approach to crime, an ideological revolution that requires people to first recognize their own role in perpetuating broken systems (a belief Juliet supposedly shares, but consistently ignores).
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue