'Ruth Dugdall's novels are intelligent and gripping, with a sophisticated psychological sensibility. She is a huge talent.' Sophie Hannah
'An absolute tour de force that left me thinking for days' Alex Marwood
‘a chilling psychological thriller with a shocking twist. I read it one day and couldn't put it down'. Louise Millar
‘sad, moving and beautiful’ Penny Hancock
Winner of the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award
Winner of the 2009 Luke Bitmead Bursary
Shortlisted for the People’s Book Prize 2011
Longlisted for the New Angle Book Prize
Shortlisted for the Brit Writer’s Novel Award
From the Author
(The Woman Before Me)
We are all just one event away from the loss of love, of the status quo, of the illusory balance in our lives.
The characters in The Woman Before Me are ordinary people made extraordinary by an unusual situation or an unusual choice. I am interested in extremities, situational and emotional, which would include crime but also madness, sexual deviance, and obsessive love....
Happiness is a fragile, transitory thing. In some ways only when it is gone can we truly discover what we are made of, the very essence of our self: integrity, courage; or the opposite. Whether or not we can be survivors. I'm compelled to explore human emotion (especially grief, jealousy, anger) and the tentative grip any of us have on our lives.
I spent years working with criminals, including murderers and sex offenders, and every novel has been inspired by a true event. Although there is often a crime or violent incident at the core of my writing, my novels explore the real consequences of crime. In much genre crime fiction, when the perpetrator is successfully caught, natural order is restored. If anything, my writing is the opposite of such escapism.
The Woman Before Me is (I hope!) a reflective novel. A careful exploration of loss and love, an emotional insight into ourselves. I want the reader to close the book and hug their child a bit tighter, kiss their lover more softly. To feel they have actively participated in the journey, arriving with a different view of their own surroundings...
...If only for a moment.