On the Shadowy Menace of the Suburbs
The suburbs are safe. They’re clean and orderly and civil. At least, that’s what my parents used to tell me whenever I asked why we lived there, instead of somewhere exotic and exciting, like Greenwich Village or the Left Bank. Long maligned for their boredom, conformity, and status-consciousness, the subdivisions and planned communities that sprouted during the Baby Boom years continued to be a big draw for one main reason – their promise of providing a safe haven from the perilous cities they surround. It was better to endure the boredom of a pot-luck dinner party than suffer a mugging.
Or so I was told. For me, the suburbs soon became something quite different than the sanctuaries described by my parents. As I grew older, I came to see them as places of shadowy menace, where the flaws, temptations and transgressions of humanity are just as prevalent as anywhere else. The difference between them and the inner city isn’t that people behave better beyond the beltway. They’re just better at hiding the wrong they do. Given the evolution of my thinking about the suburbs, it was only natural that I set the crimes featured in novels such as Security, Human Capital and the forthcoming Locust Lane on their leafy, deceptively sedate cul-de-sacs and lanes.
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