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Are you a lazy novelist? Just throw in some sexual violence

In thriller writing, violence against women manages to be both disturbing and boring at the same time. But a new prize promises to reward authors who do things differently

By Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett  

I mostly stopped reading thrillers about four years ago. It was Becky Masterman’s Rage Against the Dying that did it. It got under my skin to such an extent that I began to have nightmares filled with graphic images of rape, torture and mutilation. Psychologically, the prospect of it happening to me became a case not of if, but when. As I wrote in the Guardian at the time: “My reaction was certainly symptomatic of the kind of paranoid, hyper-aware symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (I was violently attacked in…

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