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New Young Adult Novel From Local Author Margot Harrison Aims To Chill

Matthew Thorsen
Author and Seven Days associate editor Margot Harrison's new YA novel is a first-person, present-tense thriller whose protagonist travels from Vermont to the Southwest to unmask a serial killer.

If you know a young adult reader who likes the kind of books that you need to store in the freezer at night, you might steer them toward the newest thriller from Margot Harrison.

Harrison is the associate editor at Seven Days and coordinates its literary and film coverage.

Her latest book, The Killer In Me, follows 17-year-old Nina. Harrison says the character believes she has "a window into the mind of a serial killer. She doesn't know him in real life but every night, she knows what he's doing. And the only way she can stop him from doing it is to convince other people that he exists."

Harrison says, "I thought I would never write a book about a serial killer ... but then something happened in Vermont that really unsettled me several years ago." 

A couple in Vermont disappeared, Harrison explains, and it was more than a year before they found out that a serial killer was involved. "It didn't fit any of those clichés of serial killers staying in one place or targeting one type of person," she says. "I started to think about the double lives that sometimes people have and I thought, 'What if someone were witness to this double life and she knew that this person had this dark side but she couldn't prove it?' And that person became my main character."

As for choosing to write fiction for young adults, Harrison says, "I really like the immediacy of YA. This book is written in first-person present tense, which is something that some adults are not crazy about. But for whatever reason, young people seem to really like that you-are-in-the-character's-head kind of style of writing, and I found that it really worked well for me."

"Reality is bone-dry, vast, beautiful in its indifference, like the desert where the Thief grew up, or the cold blue sky above it. Like reality, he's always here, whether they know it or not. Always waiting." - Excerpt from "The Killer In Me"

The Killer In Me was one of six books named as "top picks" for summer/fall 2016 in the YA fiction category from the trade group Independent Booksellers.

The book launch for The Killer In Me is Thursday, July 14 at 7 p.m. at Phoenix Books in Burlington.

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