5 books that bust the myths of drug writing

In November of 2014, my crime thriller Cracked was published by Titan Books. Its protagonist is a crack-addicted former fighter and personal trainer, Danielle “Danny” Cleary.

Soon after I signed the publishing contract for this series – it will be a trilogy – I realized with a kind of sinking, sickening clarity, that I might be asked about the drug use in the book. While Cracked isn’t about, uh, crack per se, I knew that having an addict for a heroine was going to raise some eyebrows. The drug use, like some of the violence in the book, is precise and detailed.

Barbra Leslie's Cracked is available from Amazon.

Now, I’ve never been a fighter (although I do like to punch things). But the drug use? Yeah, I didn’t have to make that part up. Ten years ago, after a painful split from my then-husband, I tossed my middle-class, respectable life out the window and dove head-first into a world of dive bars, cocaine and finally, after falling for a guy whose addiction beat mine by many years and orders of magnitude, crack. (This was very out of character for me: I’m one of those people who can’t smoke weed without feeling nauseous, and never had a second’s interest in any hallucinogen or opiate, though à chacun son goût, and all that.) I was able to stop. I’ve been drug-free for about seven years now.

Despite all this – and my bookworm English degree, and a life filled with reading nearly everything I could get my hands on – I was never attracted to books about drugs, or written by addicts. Read the rest