I’ve often heard it said that writers conjure up plots by starting with an initial observation and then asking themselves over and over again: What if?
On February 25, 2006, New York City graduate student Imette St. Guillen was bar hopping in SoHo with a girlfriend. The friend called it quits, but St. Guillen stayed behind for one last drink. Her body was found the next day, nearly unrecognizable from the damage. Five months later, an 18-year-old woman was drinking in a Chelsea nightclub with a girlfriend when her car was towed by city authorities. Denied access to her vehicle at the impound lot, she wandered off alone. Her body was discovered in a New Jersey trash bin. In the fall of 2007, two women separately reported that they were kidnapped and then raped after leaving the Box, one of Manhattan’s hottest nightclubs, on their own.
I began to ask myself, What if?
The inspiration for Angel’s Tip is none of these cases, and yet all of them. For many of us * especially women — that alcohol-fueled argument at three in the morning is familiar. Someone wants to go home. Someone wants to stay behind for one last drink. I have been both of those women, and I have been lucky. But I know from the cases I saw as a prosecutor, and from the string of tragic cases coming out of New York City, that sometimes the luck runs out. Angel’s Tip is fiction, but the danger that made me ask, What if?, is real and universal.