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Zoe Caldwell reveals how her experience of being raped led to her new novel

Zoe Caldwell’s new novel is a ‘thriller for the #MeToo generation’, a revenge story taking aim at rapists. She talks to David Barnett about the sickening experience that led to ‘Predator’

Monday 25 January 2021 10:57 GMT
Hundreds of rapes each year result from people having their drinks spiked
Hundreds of rapes each year result from people having their drinks spiked (Getty)

In the opening chapter of Zoe Caldwell’s novel Predator, protagonist Camilla is on a date with a smartly dressed, good-looking man she met on a dating app. While she is in the bathroom he slips a pill into her unguarded glass of wine. It does not go according to his plan, though. Camilla is secretly watching him drug her drink… in fact, she’s been fully expecting it. Her date was not a random hook-up, but a carefully orchestrated and meticulously researched meeting.

The date, Julian, has been specially selected because of his history with women. He is a predator. Unfortunately for Julian, so is Camilla. Two hours later – Camilla having avoided her drugged drink and given him, quite literally, a taste of his own medicine – Julian is crucified on a London rooftop, his body riddled with crossbow bolts. And Camilla is already on the hunt for her next victim.

Predator is the ultimate revenge story, described by its author as a thriller for the #MeToo generation. And while Camilla’s uncompromisingly brutal and gory revenge is indeed the stuff of fiction, the root of it is all too real for Zoe Caldwell.

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