Bodily Harm

Bodily Harm

(1992) Pan

‘An extraordinary thriller’ Daily Telegraph

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Bodily Harm has been constantly optioned by film companies since its publication, although sadly never progressed beyond script stage. I hope it will happen one day. I’ll quote the blurb: ‘On a summer’s day in the heart of London, a young woman is viciously stabbed by a complete stranger. The woman recovers. Her attacker is sent to prison. As Lydia strives to regain control of her life, Pat becomes hardened by the terrors of life in captivity. Neither can forget the random act of violence that changed the course of their lives. After the crime there was justice. But healing needed love…’

I wrote Bodily Harm at the start of my involvement with Inside Time when I was beginning to wonder about the stories behind the superficial media reporting of violent crime. My Christian belief in the possibility of repentance and the healing power of love coloured my take on a story which is filled also with violence and pain. I structured it like a thriller which was a new approach for me. Since then I (like many other modern novelists) have often borrowed from thriller techniques. Incidentally, the idea for the plot came from a report I read in The Washington Post – the only time I’ve been helped in this way by the press.

‘Compassionate, psychologically observant… it has the page-turning quality of a good thriller’ Times Literary Supplement

‘A refreshingly unexploitative account of violence’ Time Out

‘Not so much a whodunit as a whydunnit… Rachel Billington’s triumph’ Daily Mail

‘A book that succeeds in entertaining without sacrificing a degree of complexity and commitment to social issues’ New Statesman

‘An extraordinary thriller’ Daily Telegraph

‘A serious, caring novel’ Financial Times

‘Compelling reading’ Daily Express

Suggested reading: Lies & Loyalties, Tiger Sky

Lies & Loyalties Tiger Sky