Douglas Kennedy, author of The Pursuit Of Happiness and The Moment talks exclusively with IBTimes UK about his latest novel, The Heat Of Betrayal.
His twelfth fictional book is told through the eyes of Robin, a 40-year-old accountant, desperate for a child and hopelessly in love, who discovers a gut-wrenching secret about her Bohemian husband, Paul, while the pair are taking a long break in Essaouira, Morocco.
But just when Robin intends on confronting her partner about what she has discovered, Paul disappears. With a bloody scene at the last place he was and no trace of where he went, she soon finds herself a prime suspect in a missing person's case, as she hopelessly grapples with the urge to find her husband, the devastation of the betrayal and the imminent demise of her marriage.
Describing The Heat Of Betrayal as a "modern day adventure", Kennedy reveals how keen he was to present a novel that focused on the "unknowingness of other people; especially those which we are most intimate".
No stranger to a story with dark undercurrents, the American novelist's entire fictional collection has covered a wide range of subjects including financial struggles, mental health and turbulent relationships. Often with his books, you start off thinking the story is going to go in a particular way but then it surprises you and ends up being in a completely different place.
Across his entire bibliography, Kennedy certainly does not stick to one genre, nor does he let a genre determine the avenues that any particular book can explore. As his work often features a relationship of some sort, something also present in The Heat Of Betrayal, audiences have sometimes believed his work to be influenced by romance novels – but despite how some readers might feel, Kennedy strongly believes he's "never written a romance in [his] life."
While the auther is fully aware that he's "always written about couples", he argues "there's almost a pejorative sense" to describing books as romance and would not necessarily associate his works in that way.
There's no arguing that by the end of The Heat Of Betrayal, readers will conclude it is most obviously a drama/thriller – a feel so different to the impression you first get from the book, when narrator Robin is lavishly describing her love of husband Paul. But it is this unexpected turn of pace that makes Kennedy's novel such a great read.
Because his stories have such exciting twists, turns and heightened emotion, it is no surprise that three of Kennedy's past novels have been made into motion pictures. His first book, The Dead Heart became the basis of 1997 Australian film, Welcome To Woop Woop, while his second novel The Big Picture was adapted into a piece of French cinema in 2010, starring Romain Duris and Catherine Deneuve.
The Woman In The Fifth, Kennedy's eighth novel, was the material behind the film of the same name that saw Kristin Scott-Thomas and Ethan Hawke portray the dark tale of mental illness, divorce and attraction.
When we jokingly asked who he would envision playing his main characters if The Heat Of Betrayal were to be adapted on to screen, Kennedy good-naturedly suggested that he would like to see Marion Cotillard or House of Cards star Robin Wright take the female lead and that he would love to work with Hawke again.