Guilty Pleasures: Kathryn Casey

I Probably Shouldn’t Tell You This, But….

By Kathryn Casey

My guilty pleasure? That’s a hard one. You see, I have a few. I won’t put reading in this category, since it never makes me feel guilty. With that exempt from the list, here are a few:

  1. Truly good dark chocolates. This is especially appropriate with Valentine’s Day approaching, of course. (I’ll make sure my husband reads this post.) I shared the love of fine chocolate with my mother, who died from Alzheimer’s in 2006. We habitually bought each other small, ribbon-tied boxes of these delicacies off and on during the year, never needing a special occasion. I remained her dedicated supplier even after Mom was in the nursing home. Long after she’d forgotten my name, my dear mother still savored the creamy gooiness of a fine raspberry truffle.


  1. Afternoon naps. I honestly don’t do this often, even though I have every opportunity working out of my home office. Why not? Because it’s hard for me to relax in the middle of the day. I write about crime, fact and fiction. Currently I’m working on a true crime book, this one on a series of unsolved killings called the I-45/Texas Killing Fields murders. Actually, sleeping even at night has become difficult. There are 30 some cases, which presents a real challenge. Lots of folks to track down, cases to investigate, a task to research and organize. We’re talking about four decades, so I had to take my favorite painting off my office wall to put up a three-poster board chart to track the timeline. Sigh. Anyway, I ramble. The point is that naps don’t happen often. But every once in a while, I chuck it all, turn off the computer, and about two in the afternoon, curl up on the couch. An hour later? I’m back at my desk, smiling.


  1. My third guilty pleasure? This one is a bit embarrassing. Popular culture habitually depicts authors with rather high-brow tastes, choosing entertainment that includes the opera and PBS. In my case, that’s not untrue. I do love Puccini and Mystery! Since I’m a crime writer, it wouldn’t be out of context to claim a love of gritty film noir. (Actually, that’s accurate as well; a favorite is Night and the City with Richard Widmark.) But there are only two television programs I’m currently addicted to. (Breathe in. Relax. Then just blurt it out, I tell myself.) American Idol and Desperate Housewives. There, I’ve said it.


Okay, I know I’m being overly dramatic. A lot of people watch Idol and those scheming suburbanites on Wisteria Lane. It’s just that both shows are so popular culture, I worry. Does it make me sound less than discerning? Will I disappoint readers? Heck, I don’t know. The truth is that both programs are good matches for me.

First American Idol: Listen, I study and write about murders all day, many of them real. I spend my days talking to cops, investigators, victims and their families. In the evenings, I’m often not in the mood for CSI or Law & Order. Now singing, contestants pursuing their dreams, I find that relaxing and uplifting. Most of us pull for the underdog, don’t we? Well, that’s what American Idol is all about. At the end of the day, I get to forget about all that’s happening in the book I’m writing, whether it’s a mystery where a serial killer has a child imprisoned in a closet (The Killing Storm) or a real case where a woman wanted her husband dead and manipulated her lesbian lover into pulling the trigger (She Wanted It All).

Second: Desperate Housewives. Yes, this falls more in line with my day job. The show often ventures into the criminal world, with story lines featuring murders (even a serial killer one year, a clean-cut neighborhood kid), to cover-ups (think Gabby’s stepfather’s fortunate death and the communal disposing of his body). But the difference is that it’s not presented in a realistic manner, unlike the aforementioned CSI and Law & Order. It’s drama but with a healthy dose of comedy. The beauty of the show is that no character is spared, not even the immaculately groomed Bree, gourmet cook and brilliant businesswoman, head of her church’s ladies’ auxiliary, and, in recent episodes, a remarkably loose woman. Reconsidering my list, perhaps I should have put Desperate Housewives at the top. It is a rather depraved pleasure.

Yet then again, I can’t say that any of this makes me feel in the least bit guilty. The chocolate may not be particularly good for me. (I do keep talking about losing weight.) The naps are rather a waste of good working time. (Deadlines are always looming.) And my two favorite TV shows aren’t particularly enriching or edifying. (Maybe I should make it a point to watch Nova?) But no one gets hurt and it’s all in fun. So hey, why not?

Yawn. You know, I’m a bit tired. We’ll talk later. I believe I see a nap in my future.

An award-winning journalist and novelist, Kathryn Casey is the creator of the Sarah Armstrong mystery series and the author of six highly acclaimed true crime books. Her first novel, SINGULARITY, was one of Booklist’s best crime novel debuts of 2009, and Library Journal chose the third, THE KILLING STORM, as one of the best books of 2010. Casey’s protagonist is a Texas Ranger/profiler headquartered in Company A, Houston. Kathryn Casey has appeared on Oprah, Oprah Winfrey’s Oxygen Network, Court TV, Biography, Nancy Grace, E! Network, TruTv, Investigation Discovery, and A&E, and Ann Rule calls Casey “one of the best in the true crime genre.”