July 2016 crime author of the month with Jackie Baldwin

1. How did you get started writing?

Twenty years ago I wrote a short film script to obtain a place on an intensive weekend scriptwriting course and that was me hooked. I was heavily pregnant and easily the least cool person in the room but it didn’t matter. Peter Mullen was one of the speakers and I got to see his short film, ‘The Fridge’ which just blew me away.


2. What drew you to writing a crime novel?

The words flying about at the time were ‘write what you know.’ My life was far from exotic in rural Scotland so I figured that as I was working as a solicitor and had attended the local convent school, I would write a crime novel featuring a former Roman Catholic priest. As a fledgling writer I liked the fact that the police procedural genre would give me a scaffold to hang my words on.


3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?

Well, I read quite eclectically as a child. Predictably, I was a massive Enid Blyton fan, particularly the Famous Five. However, I also loved Isaac Asimov’s ‘Caves of Steel’ series, and Jane Austen. I liked the way she focused in on Elizabeth so you could see right inside her head. I became attracted to crime because I always found complex, flawed characters more interesting to read about and I read loads of Ian Rankin, Patricia Cornwall, Peter Robinson, and Caro Ramsay. I also love books with big ideas that make me boggle like those of

Greg Isles, Alastair Reynolds and Peter James (Perfect People). 


4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to attract the attention of a publisher?

To be honest, I had never really thought about submitting to a publisher direct before. I thought you had to get an agent first. I sent it off to a few and got loads of rejection letters but also some positive feedback from a few which gave me some hope. I decided to have a massive rewrite and then start another book. I had just finished that when someone put up on my writing group Facebook page that Killer Reads were open to submissions. I fired it off never expecting anything to come of it and two weeks later was accepted. I was so shocked!

5. There are many interesting characters in your Novel. Do you have a particular favourite one?

I would have to say, DI Farrell. At times he is at war with himself but he strives to do the right thing. He is naturally hot-headed and self-control has been hard won.


6. What kind of research have you had to undertake in your novel?

I was lucky enough to be invited into Dumfries Police Station and allowed to ask heaps of questions. I have also lived most of my life in Dumfries, where the novel is set so that made things easier as did the fact that I practised criminal law for a time in the town. If I came up against something I didn’t know I would research it online.

7. Are the characters in your book based on any in real life?

No, definitely not.

8. What do you think makes your novels stand out from all the other Scottish Crime Fiction Novels out there?

Gosh, scary question! I would say the fact that Farrell is a former practising Catholic priest and ‘technically’ still a priest in the eyes of the Church coupled with the fact that he had a psychotic break when younger give the book a slightly different flavour.

9. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa?

I probably overthink things like Farrell and can struggle to feel at ease in social situations sometimes as he does.

10. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned.

I am writing a second DI Farrell novel and also planning an American serial killer novel and a science fiction novel. I had no notion of writing a serial killer novel but the character arrived in my head and took up residence. I hope there are no psychiatrists reading this!

11. What was your favourite scene to write in Dead Man’s Prayer and why?

The scene set in the abandoned convent as that is where I went to school so I could see it really vividly in my mind.

12. As an up and coming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share.

Well, based on some of my own mistakes along the way, I would say get the first draft bashed out. Don’t get hung up on editing as you go along. No matter how sparkly and shiny you make your prose at some point it will probably be rewritten or cut out entirely so just keep going until you finish. The other thing is to find a likeminded group of writers to celebrate success with and commiserate failures. It will help you to persevere and stay motivated until that acceptance comes through. Above all, do not give up. I nearly did!

Due: 2nd September 2016

Ex-priest DI Frank Farrell has returned to his roots in Dumfries, only to be landed with a disturbing murder case. Even worse, Farrell knows the victim: Father Boyd, the man who forced him out of the priesthood fifteen years ago.

With no leads, Farrell must delve into the old priest’s past, one that is inextricably linked with his own. But his attention is diverted when twin boys go missing. One twin is recovered in an abandoned church. But where is his brother?

Are the two cases linked or is the church just a coincidence? It’s clear someone is playing a sinister game and Farrell can’t help but feel it is directed at him. Either way, it’s a game he needs to win before someone else turns up dead.

Twitter: JackieMBaldwin1
Facebook Page: Jackie Baldwin Author



July 2016 author of the month interview with Ian Simpson

1. How did you get started writing? 

I always had a hankering to write a book. When I had to take early retirement on health grounds I had the time to do it.

2. What drew you to write a crime novel

 I had done a lot of criminal defence work at the Scottish bar then, on the bench, I dealt with a huge number of criminal cases. Latterly I was a temporary High Court judge and sat in the High Court in Glasgow handling serious crime. They say you should write about what you know. Also, I have always loved Agatha Christie’s work

3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing? 

When I read a well-written book I try to absorb the best aspects of the author’s style. Two authors whose style I particularly like are John Mortimer and Christopher Brookmyre.

4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?

 Almost everyone does. If you’re not a ‘celeb’ it’s very difficult. There are a heck of a lot of books and wannabe authors out there. This is the main plot-line of my first book, Murder on Page One.

5. There are many interesting characters in your Novels, do you have a particular favourite one? 

In my two Sheriff Hector Drummond novels, Hector is my favourite. He’s quite easy to write as he is similar to me. I put myself into the mind-set of 1930 and react accordingly. Hector is more conservative than I am but braver, driven by a strong sense of right and wrong. In my contemporary novels, I like Baggo best. He is a young, intelligent Indian from Mumbai who has joined the police. He has a great sense of humour and a strong interest in the opposite sex. He’s very enterprising.

6. What kind of research have you have to undertake for your Novels? 

In all my novels I try to get the details right and the internet is invaluable for that. The Hector Drummond novels required a lot of research, not just to take the reader back to St Andrews in1930 but to get right things like charges for trans-Atlantic telephone calls. To give authentic accounts of the championships Bobby Jones was playing in I consulted a number of books plus newspaper archives. When I mentioned historical figures like Churchill I took particular care, down to House of Commons debates he actually spoke in. My knowledge of St Andrews (I was brought up there) was a big help.

7. Are the characters in your books based on any real life? 

I often take an aspect of a real person and embellish it so my fictional character is unrecognisable. In my legal career I encountered some police officers who were quite prepared to bend the truth in order to convict known villains. My Inspector No is based on them, only I have made him a slobbish buffoon, a figure of fun.

8. What do you think makes your novels stand out from all the other Scottish Crime Fiction Novels out there

 I don’t do noir; I had my fill of that in the criminal courts. Most of the nasty stuff happens off the page and a vein of humour lightens my contemporary books. They have been described as cozy but I don’t see them as that. The protagonists in the contemporary books, Flick Fortune and Baggo Chandavarkar, are not Scottish although, apart from Murder on Page One, the books are set in Scotland. In the Hector Drummond books I weave murder mysteries into true accounts of important golf championships and I doubt if anyone else is trying to do that.

9. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa? 

Yes. A friend recently told me they could hear me and Annie, my wife, in exchanges between Hector and Lavender Drummond. 

10. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned. 

 A man is murdered during the fourth round of the 1984 Open. The man convicted is dying and is released in 2015, still protesting his innocence. He goes to live with his daughter in St Andrews. A political campaigner is murdered and attention is focused on a group of solicitors who call themselves ‘the Jolly Boys’. It should be out next year.

11. Out of all the Novels you have written do you have a favourite one that stands out to you?

I think The Andrean Project is my favourite; I really like the characters, I enjoy the mix of fact and fiction and I feel that I keep improving as a writer.

 12. As a up and coming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share

Read well and write better. Never give up.


Sons of the Father

Murder in Court Three

Murder on the Second Tee

Murder on Page One

The Andrean Project
TWITTER @simpso30

FACEBOOK- https://www.facebook.com/ian.simpson.9674



July 2016 new books to check out 



He has to clear thoughts of Joanne and thoughts of the past out of his mind. He has to think about himself, his situation. Think about the next hour. The last thirty-two years don’t matter; whatever remains of the rest of his life doesn’t matter. It’s the next hour. In that hour, everything will be decided. Usman Kassar is comfortable in his older brother’s shadow, for now. Staying off the radars of the big players lets him plan big scores with little danger of detection. But dangerous jobs will get you noticed, whether you want them to or not. Martin Sivok is a gunman without a target. An outsider in a new city who doesn’t know how to make a fresh start. But when you desperately need doors to start opening, someone like Usman might just persuade you to pull at the wrong handle – like the one that opens a safe full of dirty money. Dirty money that the Jamieson organization, one of the most dangerous criminal outfits in town, wants back. Any job can have brutal consequences when it threatens the reputation of Nate Colgan. Nate can’t help being frightening; a man with darkness inside him. As the reluctant ‘security consultant’ for a fracturing criminal organization, he knows that unless he recovers the stolen money quickly, much more than his livelihood will be on the line. But if you’ve been forced into a job that you know could be your ending, how hard will you fight to keep it? 



Scotland, 1932. Aristocratic private investigator Dandy Gilver strikes again with her witty sidekick Alec Osbourne to solve sinister goings on at a convent on a bleak Lanarkshire moor. The convent was set alight following a mass breakout at a neighbouring psychiatric hospital on Christmas Eve, resulting in the death of the mother superior. Most patients were returned safely but a few are still at large…As Dandy interviews each nun in turn she senses a stranger is still lurking in the corridors at night – could they be the same person who left blood-red footprints in the sacristy? One of Catriona McPherson’s creepiest – and funniest – mysteries yet.

June 2016 author of the month interview with Rob Ewing

1. How did you get started writing? 

It was probably a book that set me off. The Magus, Catch-22, Time’s Arrow, The Wasp Factory? I, Claudius, The Ginger Man, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? Books which moved me or made me laugh would leave me thinking: how cool would it be to do that!


2. What drew you to write a thriller novel?


Hopefully The Last of Us could call itself a thriller – of sorts, though a few good people have said it’s slow to get going. I really admire books which I can’t put down; I guess all fiction should be able to call itself thrilling. Whether the thrills come from elegant writing, or the subtle interplay of characters, or from car chases and zombie apocalypse, they’ve got to grip.


3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?


The first names which come to mind: George MacKay Brown, Gerard Woodward, David Mitchell, Alice Munro, Tim Winton, Aravind Adiga. Can I also mention Rosemary Sutcliff’s Eagle of the Ninth? Amazing book.


4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?


It’s really hard to get any kind of interest, full stop! I sent out loads of short stories and poems with no reply before my first ones were accepted. Then when it comes to longer works of fiction: most publishers won’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, so getting an agent is crucial… but finding an agent willing to take a punt on your work is probably even harder than finding a publisher!


5. There are many interesting characters in your novel. Do you have a particular favourite one?


I wrote a novel a few years back called Tightlacing, which had a psychopathic Victorian conman in it. He was definitely fun to write, if a little twisted!


6. What kind of research have you had to undertake for your novels?


I used to do loads. In fact early on I tended to over-research: using it to build my story, over and above the interaction of characters. (The geekiest research I ever did was look up which stars were high in the sky on one particular evening for a long-ago book about a couple who happened to like stargazing. Could’ve just made it up, I guess.)


7. Are the characters in your books based on anyone in real life?


No… Yes… er maybe one in the next book…


8. What do you think makes your novel stand out from all the other Scottish novels out there?


There are so many brilliant Scottish novels out there. Can’t speak for my writing, but I can big up Claire Ward’s cover art and endpapers – absolutely fantastic.


9. Do you see any of your characters’ personalities in yourself, and vice versa?


Yes. My rogues have the same cold madman inner voice…


10. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned?


The next is a thriller / crime novel set in Glasgow, about a GP who begins to suspect the senior partner at her practice of being a killer. Nearly completed, though it’s still a mess and needs much rewriting.


11. What was your favourite part of The Last of us to write, and why?


The last chapters. Without giving too much away – a change of voice at the end…


12. As an up and coming writer do you have words of advice you can share?


Write. Read. Keep writing and reading. Short stories are a great way to experiment and learn your craft. And be persistent: don’t give up.

The island is quiet now. 
On a remote Scottish island, six children are the only ones left. Since the Last Adult died, sensible Elizabeth has been the group leader, testing for a radio signal, playing teacher and keeping an eye on Alex, the littlest, whose insulin can only last so long. 
There is ‘shopping’ to do in the houses they haven’t yet searched and wrong smells to avoid. For eight-year-old Rona each day brings fresh hope that someone will come back for them, tempered by the reality of their dwindling supplies. 
With no adults to rebel against, squabbles threaten the fragile family they have formed. And when brothers Calum Ian and Duncan attempt to thwart Elizabeth’s leadership, it prompts a chain of events that will endanger Alex’s life and test them all in unimaginable ways.   


 Author Page



Book to check out

If you are looking for a good e book to buy and you don’t want to spend to much money and you love crime fiction, then this is the book for you and it’s only £1.79 on Amazon kindle at the moment

A helping hand? Or the grip of a murderer?

A Glasgow student is found dead in a city-centre alley, kickstarting a trail of brutality that drives DI Ray McBain to the very edge, staring into the abyss… The victim’s family and friends are all under suspicion, and McBain has to untangle a sordid web of lies, blackmail, infidelity and cyberstalking. And when Stigmata, a deranged serial killer from McBain’s tortured past, starts taking out new victims – with the suspects and McBain himself in his sights – the case gets even more treacherous. The pressure intensifies until McBain calls on Kenny O’Neill, his old underworld crony, to help watch his back. Will that be enough to stop the killing?

To buy the ebook for yourself, you can go to the Amazon link below


June 2016 author of the month interview with Andrew Nicoll

1. How did you get started writing? 
Well, I’ve been a daily newspaper reporter since I was 18 so it wasn’t a new departure for me but, as for writing fiction, it was a midlife crisis. Turning 40 hit me like a train. I was engulfed by the whole “is that it? ” thing. I’d already seen a good pal try the teenage girlfriend, red sports car cure and that was never going to work out well so I found another outlet. I started writing short stories, had some success with that and then, one day I sat down on the train to write another story. After 18 months, I had a novel.

2. What drew you to write a mystery novel ?

Is it a mystery novel? Really? I suppose it’s a mystery novel since it’s about an unsolved crime but that’s why so many people who like crime novels have been disappointed in it. I don’t like crime novels. In fact, I find it hard to think that you can even use the plural when talking about “crime novels”. There is really only one, endlessly repeated. Insert “maverick cop who doesn’t play by the rules”, or “mild mannered little old lady”, or “one legged juggler who won’t stop until he gets the truth”, here. The Secret Life and Curious Death of Miss Jean Milne isn’t like that. It’s about the people, not about the crime or the mystery, but about the people involved. That’s what interests me. I grew up knowing this story. All we knew was that this was the big house where the lady was battered to death and nobody was ever caught. That was all that anybody knew. Then, when I stumbled across the police files which were released after a hundred years, I couldn’t believe it. This was my streets, my neighbours and I could hear them speaking, talking about places I knew, people I’d heard of. I just had to write it.
3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?

Everybody I’ve ever read I suppose. I’m a big fan of Conrad, Stevenson, Greene, Chandler, Lampedusa. Anybody who makes it look conversational and easy. That’s the hard part.
 4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest? 

Next to impossible. I finally set myself a deadline. If nobody wanted to know me after two years, I’d pack it in. Ten days before the deadline, I got a deal.
 5. There are many interesting characters in your Novels, do you have a particular favourite one? 

I think it would have to be Otto from “If You’re Reading This, I’m already Dead.” He’s just a happy, funny guy who enjoys life.
6. What kind of research have you have to undertake for your Novels? 

The last one was simply a matter of reading through the police file, and a happy afternoon looking through old newspapers. Other than that, nothing. They are all works of imagination.
7. Are the characters in your books based on any real life? 

In the latest one they are, obviously, since it’s a true story. “If You’re Reading This” is a mix of real historical figures doing fictional things and fictional characters stolen from other people, doing silly things with fictional characters of my own devising. The Good Mayor and The Love and Death of Caterina are purely imaginary.
8. What do you think makes your novels stand out from all the other Mystery Fiction Novels out there?

There’s only one that would qualify, even slightly, as mystery fiction. That’s where I’ve gone wrong, you see. I’ve written four books when I should have written the same book four times. So what makes Jean Milne stand out is that it doesn’t fit the expectations of people who like that sort of thing. The bad guy doesn’t get caught. The detective fails. That really makes it stand out.
 9. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa? 

I suppose that must be true. I have nothing to mine from but myself so they must be a bit of me, but not consciously so.
10. If you were given the chance to write a book in any other genre, what would you write about and why?

I don’t think I could write in a genre. In genre fiction, there are happy endings, the bad guy gets caught, things are neat and tidy, you don’t have to be scared of the psycho because the troubled cop has taken care of everything for you. Sleep well.

 Life isn’t like that. Life is a lot more interesting than genre fiction.
11. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned? 
Future novels?

 I really don’t think I can be bothered any more. Maybe. We’ll see.

 12. Out of all the Novels you have written do you have a favourite one that stands out to you? 

I think Caterina. 

13. As a up and coming writer do you have words of advice you can share?
I had my first book published nine years ago. I have written four, internationally published novels, I’m out in about 30 countries and I’m still “an up and coming writer.” That’s all the advice you need. Step away from the word processor and go and do something more sensible instead.

The Good Mayor (Black and White) 2008

The Love and Death of Caterina (Quercus) 2011

If You’re Reading This I’m Already Dead (Quercus) 2012

The Secret Life And Curious Death of Miss Jean Milne (Black and White) 2015

Twitter @AndrewSNicoll

Books to check out


Conspiracy To Die For Mismatched journalists April and Connor are back – and this time they’re involved in a deadly plot, involving a man who claims to have assassinated Princess Diana, a website leaking government secrets, and a nurse running for her life 



Meet PC Craig Hunter of Edinburgh’s Local Policing Unit. Ex-Army. Ex-CID. Back in uniform.

A straightforward domestic call out twists out of control when 16-year-old schoolgirl Stephanie Ferguson alleges her stepfather, Doug Ferguson, has been abusing her. Hunter is soon working with DS Chantal Jain of Police Scotland’s Sexual Offences Unit to kick off the prosecution. But before a full statement can be taken, Stephanie disappears from hospital.

Now, Hunter must hunt the girl down before anyone else can. Where has Stephanie gone? Did she run? Or did someone take her? Will he get to the truth before it gets beaten into lies? Or before Stephanie is silenced for good…? And why does this case keep throwing up old enemies from Hunter’s past?

MISSING is a fast-paced police procedural, full of action and suspense that will grip you until its breathless conclusion.



It’s 1989 and fresh-faced graduate Angus Thoroughgood has just become Z325 Constable Thoroughgood and has exchanged the cosy cloisters of Glasgow University for the broken streets of Lennox Hill, ‘Z’ Division, the frontier posting that no rookie wants. He soon discovers his shift is full of veterans of the Northern Ireland troubles who are intent on ruling ‘The Hill’ by a brutal set of rules they have transferred from their time in the Province. Recruited by a new Internal Investigations Unit, he discovers that Glasgow’s criminal overlord Bobby ‘Mojito’ Dawson is a member of a deep cover special Army Unit and that his foes in the escalating gangland feud known as The Ice Cream War, the McGuigans, have strong links to the IRA. When Mojito recruits a deadly assassin from across the Irish Sea to bring the Ice Cream War to an end, Thoroughgood finds himself in a race against time before Glasgow is blown to smithereens.



DC Frankie McCormack’s ex-wife has gone missing and Frankie’s going mental.

The second in the Andromeda series sees DI Mike Donnelly and Annie use their very differing method to help. With Donnelly trying to keep him out of it, he turns to Annie’s jiggery-pokery. 

But Annie is being attacked by an old enemy and dodging a violent stalker just at the moment … 

A gritty tartan noir with wit and a hint of the occult.



When a mutilated body is discovered under a bridge in a Glasgow park, a chain of events unfolds for the McMahon family. Plagued by poverty, and with few options to repay their debts, a vicious loan shark is looking to use their misfortune to build himself a reputation based on fear. 
Set against the backdrop of the Commonwealth Games and the Scottish Independence Referendum, DI John Arbogast, is back on the case, looking to bring down this brutal debt collector, while fighting to unmask corruption at the highest level of the new national Police force. 

The Poverty of choice 


June 2016 new books to check out



Morlock  is coming. Death will follow.

DCI Jericho may have evaded the Hanged Man, but he knew there was something missing. He knew there was still someone out there. He knew there would be more death…

A man is murdered on the Somerset Levels, a bullet in the head from three feet. Jericho soon learns there was a connected killing the previous day in the Swiss Alps.

Death comes in the post, and quickly strands from the past become entangled: the hunted mountaineers, a long lost secret, the mystery of Jericho’s wife, and the covert organisation, working in the shadows, always in control.

Joined by DI Badstuber of the Swiss police, Jericho travels across Europe to North Africa, chasing an invisible killer. But Death is always one step ahead, while his past, sinister and terrifying, is closing in.


The retreat of glaciers has revealed a Cold War secret that should have lain buried for centuries, with the power to bring down the communications and defence systems of every country on the planet. Including his own. Connor Montrose must find a way to take control of the destructive power and stop the global race towards Armegeddon.

Connor Montrose is still running for his life. His CIA counterparts are determined to end his one man campaign for justice in another high-paced thriller from Mark Leggatt.The retreat of the glaciers has revealed a Cold War secret that should have lain buried for centuries, with the power to bring down the communications and defence systems of every country on the planet. Including his own. Montrose is faced with the choice of betrayal or survival, but either way, he’ll lose.He is told: “Your country needs you, but if you give up the secret, your friends and those you love will die. Then an old man tells him, “If I had the choice between betraying my friends and betraying my country, I should hope I have the guts to betray my country.” What will he do?