But to me, these traits go hand in hand. Hallie is an investigative journalist, a recovering gambling addict who has to struggle with herself to stay away from the online poker sites. But because she isn’t really addressing her addiction, she still craves the action of a hot table. To get her adrenaline fix, she pushes whatever investigation she’s working on farther than it should go.
In Teaser, Hallie discovers that local teenage girls are featuring provocative videos of themselves on the local social networking site. Hallie discovers this is more dangerous and far reaching than just a teenage whim. When teenage girls start disappearing, Hallie’s story becomes a mission.
Although I’ve never been addicted to anything –except maybe FreeCell– I’ve had a lot of experience with the addictive personality. People I’ve loved have had to come back from the precipice, and I’ve suffered along on their journey. But I’ve also been fortunate enough to learn that when in recovery, the same personality trait that drives these loved ones to their addictions, also drives them to success.
A compulsive personality is a double-edged sword. The useful side of that sword is a single-minded drive can cut through a lot of obstacles the rest of us just wouldn’t take on.
In truth, a lot of thrillers never made sense to me. Most well-balanced people simply wouldn’t creep through a vacant warehouse or board a drug-dealers boat to try to bring down a child pornography ring. They’d give the information to the cops and let them take the risk.
But in the newspaper world, it’s bad form to give information to police. And if a reporter is terribly ambitious for a story, compulsive by nature, and in need of an adrenaline fix, then all that risk-taking begins to make sense.
To be honest, most super-hero sleuths bore me. I know I should be impressed with their skills, but they seem so one dimensional. And if they are so darn terrific, OF COURSE, they’re going to solve the crime. Where’s the suspense?
In every book, I want the reader to wonder: Will Hallie be able to overcome her own obstacles? Will she wreck her relationship with Matt? Will she go too far this time and ruin her career?
More than anything else, I strive to make Hallie human: fallible, complex, dedicated, compulsive, vulnerable, and self-depreciating. She’s got a good sense of humor and pokes a lot of fun at herself. But she never gives up. The books are about her struggle, not just with the clues of the puzzle, but with herself.