One To Watch November Crime Author of the Month – Matt Bendoris


1. How did you get started writing

I started writing on the train to work after I hit a bad run of reading a few crime novels that bored me – by my favourite authors too. So instead of complaining (and who’d listen to me anyway) I thought I’d have a bash at writing my own.

2. What drew you to crime fiction

I love the genre. And I’m not smart enough to do an intricate spy novel!

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

Ben Elton. He’s not normally listed as a bone fide crime writer, but he is in my book. I like his plots, characters and more importantly his humour. My book Killing With Confidence has a lot of humour.

4. What was the inspiration behind the storyline of Killing With Confidence

I had one idea only – a serial killer who uses self-help material to make him a better killer. I then threw in all these different characters I have worked with and interviewed over 25 years in newspapers, and hey presto, I think (and hope) I’ve come up with something different form what’s already out there.

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

I’ve always written – from when I was a kid – and I always will. Bet yes, getting a publisher was murder. I landed mine through pure luck (someone I was interviewing for the paper recommended me).

6. How did it feel to be involved in the Bloody Scotland Festival, Fresh Blood Event

Honoured. But also I feel at home with the crime writers, especially the new authors like myself who are all trying to make it.

7. Why did you decide to set your book in Glasgow

Simply because I live and work there. But the one I’m currently writing has a more international feel.

8. Killing with Confidence has been given glowing reviews from the likes of Tom Morton and Lorraine Kelly how did that feel when you found out

Again honoured. Even the First Minister Alex Salmond gave me a glowing review and recommended it to his cabinet. But I can honestly say I feel chuffed to bits when anyone likes my book. I never thought it would get such a wide audience.

9. What kind of research did you have to undertake for your book

None. It’s purely experience.

10. Are the characters in your books based on any real-life

For legal reasons I’d have to kill you if I told you the truth.

11. Since you have started writing crime novels have any known authors given you any advice

Mark Millar (who wrote Kick-Ass and Wanted) told me that the characters are EVERYTHING as many people don’t even remember the plots.

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

The reporter Connor Presley is my voice in the book. But he’s not my favourite. That’d have to be Detective ‘Bing’ Crosbie – the cop with Tourette’s!

13. What do you see for the future of April Lavender and Connor Presley in your books

Hopefully continuing as they were. I have plans for them. Big plans.

14. At the moment there are numerous authors setting their books in Glasgow, what do you think sets yours apart from the rest

Quirkiness and the fact that I have experienced what I’m writing about (well, apart from the murders…)

15. As a blossoming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share

Write every day. Don’t try to copy anyone else’s style. And the characters are what will catch the eye of a potential agent and publisher. Also, good luck – you’ll need plenty of that!

Information and prices about Killing with Confidence can be found here

Matt Bendoris Chief Features Writer
The Scottish Sun
57 Queen Street
G1 3EN


Amazon Author Page

Book to look out for

In August you will remember that I interviewed an Author called Ed James who writes a series of Police Procedural Set in Edinburgh featuring an D.C. Scott Cullen, his latest novel Dyed in the Wool in that series was a nominee for the First There’s  been a Murder Crime Book of the Year Award, he has now branched out a started a new series of Novels.  The following information has been taken from Eds own website which can be found at


My next book, SHOT THROUGH THE HEART [Book one of the SUPERNATURE series], is out this Thursday, 31-Oct-13. Or Hallowe’en as its otherwise known… The book has been ready for a few weeks now, but I’ve been getting my ducks in a row on the old publicity front… It’ll be £2.99, BUT –

It will be free on Thursday, just for one day.

This is as a thank you to all my loyal fans over the eighteen months I’ve been self-publishing. If you get in there on Thursday, you get yourself a brand new book for the nothing. I couldn’t do this without people liking my books, so this is a little something back to you.

Mark Campbell, historian and author, is desperate to finish his new book on the infamous Highland Clearances when his researcher mysteriously disappears. Abandoning his depressed wife and new baby, Mark rushes to a remote Scottish village to investigate.
But when he gets there, all is not what it seems. Who is the attractive landowner, Lady Elizabeth Ruthven, and why is she housebound on a remote loch island? Why are wild dogs hunting him? What really happened to the researcher?
Mark’s investigation is soon overwhelmed by a series of unnerving events, plunging him into a nightmare of vampires and devil worship. Can he make it back home to his family in one piece?
SHOT THROUGH THE HEART is a thrill-ride adventure set in the Scottish Highlands, cleverly weaving the supernatural with history. It will grip you right through to its shocking conclusion.
Book one of the SUPERNATURE series

Book Review – Good Deed – Steve Christie


***** 5 STARS

Good Deed by Steve Christie is a fast paced crime novel that introduces a new Scottish detective hero, DI Ronnie Buchanan. Events take Buchanan from his base in Aberdeen on a frantic journey around all the major Scottish cities as his increasingly deadly pursuit of a mysterious criminal master mind known only as Vince comes to a breath-taking climax back in Aberdeen.

I know a lot of people that would be put off when they see a book that in their minds is just another one of those police procedural set in Scotland and don’t we already have enough of them.  But I dare them to say that after they have finished reading this novel, and honestly the people who think like that are not in the know, each different author brings their own unique twist to their books and their Characters like D.I. Ronnie Buchanan and his unique twist on life but sorry I won’t spoil it for you you will just to have to read this book for yourselves and find out what I mean

But anyway back to the review,the pace of Good Deed is so exceptional and breathtaking it will take you on a rollar coaster ride of ups and downs it has you laughing at one point, crying at the next and every other emotion in between. With this in mind you will be wanting to read Good Deeds in one sitting where it will have a detrimental effect on your eating, sleeping and other tasks and when it ends you will be desperate to get your hands on the next novel in the series.

It’s lucky then that I have been informed by a good source, the author Steve Christie that the next novel will be out in Springtime 2014 published by Ringwood  and will be called Cold Shot, I know that I will be one of these people who will be getting their hands on this book whatever it takes.

Paperback: 305 pages
Publisher: Ringwood; First edition (1 Oct 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1901514064
ISBN-13: 978-1901514063
Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.6 x 2.8 cm

November crime Author Interview – Bill Kirton


1. How did you get started writing? I can’t really remember how it started. It’s just always been part of what I do. I just like the magic of words.

2. What drew you to crime fiction? Pure accident. I suppose it was the genre I read most but my first novel was just intended to make readers laugh.An agent liked it and took me on but I’ve rewritten (and retitled) it many times since. It’s now The Sparrow Conundrum and it’s got lots of excellent, generous reviews and won two top awards for humour and satire. Then I wrote a stand-alone thriller which my second agent sent to Piatkus. They liked it but weren’t doing stand-alones at the time and asked if I’d written any police procedurals. I hadn’t, but they said if I did they’d like to see it. That’s obviously just the sort of spur you need to get writing, so I wrote the first of my 5 Jack Carston novels, Material Evidence, and they published it in hardback. When they also took the second, I supposethat made me a crime writer. I’d rewritten the stand-alone a couple of times then realised that, with a bit of imagination and a lot more rewriting, it could fit into the series and it became The Darkness.

3. Which crime writers past or present have influenced your style of writing? Consciously, none. I was interested (and secretly pleased) to read a review of Material Evidence which said it showed ‘Rendellian touches’ because I’m a huge admirer of Ruth Rendell, so perhaps her influence was there without me realising it. But I also like stories to have humour, even in the darkest places, and she’s not strong on that. I love the one-liners of Elmore Leonard and the characters of Janet Evanovich and I used todevour the Spenser novels of R B Parker. But there are so many excellent crime writers around now that this answer could easily become nothing more than a list. I must, though, add the giant of Scottish crime fiction –William McIlvanney. His novels are about so much more than crime.

4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get interest from publishers? That’s a question that brings home how much the business has changed. Before writing novels, I wrote radio and stage plays and contact with the producer or broadcaster was always direct, personal. When I switched to novels, the best way forward then (in the 90s) was to get an agent. I was lucky enough to get one quite early. He was very encouraging and tried hard for me but I was impatient and moved to another one. (That’s how easy it was then – relatively, anyway.) At last, she got the response I’ve mentioned from Piatkus and I was on my way. In those days there were lots of good writers who didn’t get lucky. I think self-publishing and the growth of small independent publishers has made things much easier.

5. You have written many books, standalone and series, do you have a favourite one so far? I’ve always said that, for a male writer, holding a copy ofhis newly published book is the nearest he’ll ever get to having a baby so you’re asking me which of my children I prefer. If forced into a corner, I still wouldn’t be able to choose between my top three – all different. The Darkness is my favourite in the Carston series, The Figurehead is a crime novel but it’s set in the 19 th century and I loved immersing myself in the period, andThe Sparrow Conundrum has made lots of people laugh. It was also my first-born and, even though it’s had extensive surgery and various transplants, it still has a special significance for me.

6. You recently were involved with the 2nd Edinburgh Ebook Festival, Can you tell us more about that? It’s the brainchild of Cally Philips, a writer friend. The main Edinburgh Book Festival is marvellous and she thought that creating a parallel festival featuring ebooks would open a virtual Edinburgh Festival for readers and writers who couldn’t make the trip to Charlotte Square. It started in 2012 and Cally tried to make it pretty eclectic. It was a success but we all learned from it and this year’s was much more structured and featured some terrific slots covering lots of different genres with blogs, workshops, guest contributions and resident writers. Again, it was a great learning experience and I suspect 2014 will be even bigger and better. My own hope is that there’s some technology that’s easy for dumbos like me to use in order to hold truly interactive sessions.

7. Why did you decide to set your books in the North East of Scotland? I’ve lived here most of my life so I know the places, the climate, the moods and attitudes of the people here.Aberdeen’s very different from the rest of Scotland. In fact, its allegiances with ports around the North Sea are closer than those with other parts of the country. I regret (but only slightly) having decided to invent a fictional town (Cairnburgh) for my policemen. My thinking was that I might want to say critical things about police processes so I didn’t want to alienate Grampian Police, who were very helpful when I asked for information on procedures. Paradoxically, the year after the first book appeared, there was a major scandal involving the Chief Constable which went far beyond anything I might have imagined. In later books, I’ve written about a university and a hospital, both fictional, and it would have been hard to write it in the same way using one of Aberdeen’s actual universities, colleges or hospital departments.

8. If you were to write another Jack Carston do you think that the amalgamation in April of the Scottish police force into one organization could effect the way you write? That’s a fascinating question. I do have another Carston (probably the last) in mind and it really should acknowledge such a major organisational change. On the other hand, my main interest is always in the characters (police and others) who feature in the story and real policemen probably find the ‘procedures’ in my books leave lots to be desired. Jack Carston has developed through the series and I suspect that the next book will find him sick of having to conform as well as weary of his daily contact with the evidence that people can be so nasty to one another. I think he’ll probably leave the force. Luckily, he has a great marriage and his wife won’t let him vegetate.

9. What kind of research have you had to undertake for your books? As I mentioned earlier, Grampian Police were very helpful at the start. I knew nothing of procedures so I wrote asking the Assistant Chief Constable if I could talk with some of his officers. He said yes and I spent a whole morning with a Detective Superintendent and a Detective Inspector asking them daft questions and coming away with more information than I could ever use. Libraries also have a great selection of books on the forensic aspects of medicine, law, archaeology, psychology and other disciplines. Perhaps more interesting was the research I did for The Figurehead. One of its central characters is a figurehead carver so I joined a woodcarving class to make one for myself. That was many years ago but I still attend the classes and have wooden sculptures, including two figureheads, all over the place at home now. It really gave me the feel of what it was like to find the figurehead in the wood. For the same book, I also paid to be a member of the crew of the beautiful square-rigger, Christian Radich, on a trip across the North Sea from Oslo to Leith. That was a dream of mine anyway so I loved climbing to the yards, taking the helm, being on watch at night on a sea with oil platform flares visible all around. For me research is more than reading words or looking at pictures or objects. I like to feel what the characters might feel.

10. Are the characters in your books based on any in real life? Emphatically not – at least, not consciously. In fact, in the past, I’ve tried to base characters on real people I’ve met (especially nasty ones) but when I do, I find that the real person gets in the way and doesn’t allow the character to grow into who they’re supposed to be. Sometimes, I may use a specific incident which has occurred in real life, but as soon as it happens in the book, the fictional character reacts to it in his/her own way, and that may be completely different from the reality. Having said that, though, when I’m writing, the characters are more real to me than the people actually around me.

11. Since you have started writing crime novels have any known authors given you any advice? People may be surprised to hear that most writers are very generous, helpful people and always ready to pass on tips, advice, or other information which may solve your writing problems or tell you about new markets for your work. Theoretically we’re all competing in the same market place so we should guard our secrets, but that never seems to enter into it. One of my claims to fame is that I got an acknowledgement from Ian Rankin in hisBlack and Blue. He knew that I’d done a lot of work on safety DVDs for offshore platforms. Rebus had to fly out to one so Ian asked me what procedures he’d have to follow. I know that I could ask almost any member of the Crime Writers’ Association for information about one of their specialities and I’d get a comprehensive run-down on it.

12. Do you see any of your characters’ personality in yourself and vice versa? Another very interesting but quite difficult question. I suppose it’s inevitable that at least some of my people will share my attitudes, but I think writing’s a bit like acting in that you have to get inside and understand the character. That means using his/her voice and reactions, pushing aside your own self and adopting theirs. On the other hand, I have to admit that, sometimes when I read extracts from my books, I’m surprised at how much of me there is in them. I suppose we’re bound to reveal ourselves if we’re passionate about something.Sometimes I do wonder, though, whether my baddies are saying and doing things that come from levels of me of which I’m unaware. It’s a scary thought.

13. If you can, can you give us a sneaky peek into any books you have just released or are in the process of writing? I’ll give you both. My last release was Alternative Dimension, which isn’t a crime novel. It’s a satire on the interplay between the real and virtual worlds. Some years ago I joined the online role-playing game Second Life TM to do some research. It was fun and, while I was there, I wrote a few short stories about the people and the avatars I met. The stories were all different but clearly linked by themes involving who we are and who we’d like to be so I rewrote them, created an extra narrative thread to hold them all together and they became a stand-alone satire on how we operate in a space that’s both real and false at the same time. And my work in progress is the sequel to The Figurehead. I’ve researched and worked out the various themes I want to explore in it but the issue that’s proving the most difficult concerns the two central characters. InThe Figurehead, John and Helen both contributed to solving the mystery but they were also attracted to one another and the book ended with them having what I called ‘a lovers’ kiss’. The sequel starts a year later, so what the hell have they been doing meantime? This is 1842 so there’s not the freedom to indulge or experiment that we’ve enjoyed since Victorian times., There’s also a wee social gap between the characters, and I’m not sure either of them wants to marry anyway. I know they’ll tell me their secrets eventually but, at the moment, they’re being a bit awkward with one another.

14. You and Stuart McBride were two of the first authors to use Aberdeen as a backdrop for their novels instead of Edinburgh or Glasgow, this in turn has influenced some authors to do the same, how does that make you feel? It would be great to feel that I had that sort of influence but I’m not sure that’s how it works. I think budding crime writers have realised that setting their works in a named, recognisable location gives them a head’s start in finding an audience. It anchors the stories and the people. I don’t just mean the books get a local following; they attract others who want to find out more about the Western Isles, Inverness, Skye, Bute and many other places. In a way, it adds romance to the reading experience – not kissy-kissy romance, but the romance of places which can sound exotic to outsiders – and that means just about anywhere in Scotland.

15. As a blossoming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share? I’m not sure I’d go along with the adjective there but I’m always happy to share thoughts about writing. In talks and workshops, I always offer the same advice to new writers. Make writing and editing separate processes and be meticulous about both. Read your work aloud. It’s better for spotting bad grammar, mis-spellings, punctuation problems, repeated words, sentences which are all the same length and therefore make the writing monotonous. Most of all, it lets you feel the all-important rhythms of the piece. Trust your own voice. Writing doesn’t have to be posh or complicated. Some of the best crime fiction is written in a simple, almost staccato style. Respect the profession. Words are your tools, use them well and don’t submit work unless you’re absolutely positive it is as good as you can make it. If you can afford an editor, use him/her. Editors have very special skills.


The Jack Carston series:
Material Evidence
Rough Justice
The Darkness
Shadow Selves
Unsafe Acts

The Figurehead

The Sparrow Conundrum
Alternative Dimension

Short story anthology:
Other People and other stories

You Write (co-authored with Kathleen McMillan)
Brilliant Study Skills
Brilliant Essay
Brilliant Dissertation
Brilliant Workplace Skills
Brilliant Academic Writing

Amazon Author Page

Another Book to Check Out

David Shaw MacKenzie – The Interpretations


Here is another good Scottish Crime Book that at the moment  is down to the low price of 99p on Kindle so if you are looking for a good book to read just now then I suggest that you make it this

The police believe that Tom Kingsmill killed himself by jumping off a bridge but Mike Delvan is convinced he is still alive. To solve this mystery Mike will not only have to excavate the past but examine the fears, prejudices and secrets of the people of his home town, Dalmore. This carefully paced, illuminating novel explores, with sensitivity and humour, the complexity of life in a small town where everyone knows everyone else and where affection and friendship stray towards separation, deception and loss.

Here is the link to buy this book from Amazon

Bloody Scotland Crime Festival On Tour


Bloody Scotland 2013 had come and gone, leaving a trail of books and bodies left in its bloody wake but like every good story there is a thrilling twist.
Bloody Scotland is on tour and will be coming to a town near you this November. Or at least it will if you live near Edinburgh, Dundee, Kirkwall, East Kilbride, Stirling, Glasgow, St Andrews or Lasswade.

Edinburgh – Waterstones West End, 7pm
128 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4AD – 0131 226 2666
This event is ticketed, please contact the store for details.
Lin Anderson
Quintin Jardine
Sara Sheridan
Aly Monroe

Dundee – Steps Theatre, 7pm
Central Library, The Wellgate, Dundee DD1 1DB – 01382 431533
This event is free but ticketed, please contact the theatre for details.
Will Jordan.
Chris Longmuir
Gillian Galbraith
Gordon Brown

Lasswade – Lasswade Library, 7pm
19 Eskdale Drive, Bonnyrigg, EH19 2LA – 0131 271 4534
Free and not ticketed.
Alex Gray
Marianne Wheelaghan
Aline Templeton

Orkney – Orkney Library, 6.30pm
44 Junction Road, Kirkwall,  KW15 1AG – 01856 873166
This event is free but ticketed, please contact the library for details.
Craig Robertson
Gordon Brown
Helen Davies

Stirling – Central Library, 7pm
Corn Exchange Rd, Stirling FK8 2HX – 01786 432107
This event is ticketed, please contact the library for details.
James Oswald
Al Guthrie
Moderated by Alexandra Sokoloff

Stirling  – Tolbooth Theatre, 7pm
Jail Wynd, Stirling, FK8 1DE – 01786 274000
This event is ticketed, please contact the Tolbooth for details.
Will Jordan
Michael J Malone
Bert Mitchell
Douglas Skelton
(Moderated by Craig Robertson)

Glasgow  – Waterstones Sauchiehall St, 6pm
153-157 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3EW – 0141 332 9105
Free and not ticketed.
Craig Robertson
Chris Brookmyre
Helen Fitzgerald
Matt Bendoris

East Kilbride  – Waterstones East Kilbride
The Plaza, East Kilbride, G74 1LW
Alex Gray
Alanna Knight
Lin Anderson

St Andrews  – Waterstones St Andrews, 2pm
103 Market St,  St Andrews, KY16 9NX – 0843 290 8603
This event is ticketed, please contact the store for details.
Alex Gray
Lin Anderson
Craig Robertson
Gordon Brown
Frank Muir

See more at:

Book to Check Out

Douglas Skelton – Blood City


At the moment this book isdown to the low price of 99p on Kindle so if you are looking for a good book to read just now then I suggest that you make it this

Meet Davie McCall – not your average henchman. Abused and tormented by his father for fifteen years, there is a darkness in him searching for a way out. Under the wing of Glasgow’s Godfather, Joe ‘the Tailor’ Klein, he flourishes.

Joe the Tailor may be a killer, but there are some lines he won’t cross, and Davie agrees with his strict moral code. He doesn’t like drugs. He won’t condone foul language. He abhors violence against women. When the Tailor refuses to be part of Glasgow’s new drug trade, the hits start rolling. It’s every man for himself as the entire criminal underworld turns on itself, and Davie is well and truly caught up in the action.

But an attractive young reporter makes him wonder if he can leave his life of crime behind and Davie must learn the hard way that you cannot change what you are. Blood City is a novel set in Glasgow’s underworld at a time when it was undergoing a seismic shift. A tale of violence, corruption and betrayal, loyalties will be tested and friendships torn apart.

Here is the link from amazon to buy this book for yourself

Free Book On Kindle


The following book was one of my nomanationsfor the 1st There’s Been a Murder Crime Book of the Year is free just now on amazon kindle

Dumfries Dectective Series 1 – The Case of the Pig in the Evening Suit – RR Gall

An ordinary man. A far from ordinary detective. A topical thriller.

The Case of the Pig in the Evening Suit is the first book in a trilogy of murder mystery thrillers.

In the Scottish town of Dumfries, people come to Jin Johnstone with their problems – but this can lead to problems of his own.

A missing son, a beautiful, enigmatic woman, a pig in an evening suit: it is the swift start to a deadly turn of events.