Scottish crime fiction looks to be in great health this year, as in the following months there will be a spate of novels from some old hands to the genere as well as from some new faces. I have picked 12 books that you should keep a look out for, they include
Stuart McBride – A Song for the Dying
He’s back…Eight years ago, ‘The Inside Man’ murdered four women and left three more in critical condition – all of them with their stomachs slit open and a plastic doll stitched inside. And then the killer just …disappeared. Ash Henderson was a Detective Inspector on the initial investigation, but a lot can change in eight years. His family has been destroyed, his career is in tatters, and one of Oldcastle’s most vicious criminals is making sure he spends the rest of his life in prison. Now a nurse has turned up dead on a patch of waste ground, a plastic doll buried beneath her skin, and it looks as if Ash might finally get a shot at redemption. At earning his freedom. At revenge.
Malcolm Mackay – The Sudden Arrival of Violence
He’s touching the front of his coat, feeling the shape of the gun. Should have got rid of it. On any other night, any other job, he would. This isn’t any other job. This, he intends, will be his last . . . It begins with two deaths: a money-man and a grass. Deaths that offer a unique opportunity to a man like Calum MacLean. A man who has finally had enough of killing. Meanwhile two of Glasgow’s biggest criminal organisations are at quiet, deadly war with one another. And as Detective Michael Fisher knows, the biggest – and bloodiest – manoeuvres are yet to come . . . The stunning conclusion to Malcolm Mackay’s lauded Glasgow Trilogy, The Sudden Arrival of Violence will return readers to the city’s underworld: a place of dark motives, dangerous allegiances and inescapable violence . . .
James Oswald – The Hangman’s Song
The body of a man is founding hanging in an empty house. To the Edinburgh police force this appears to be a simple suicide case.
Days later another body is found.
The body is hanging from an identical rope and the noose has been tied using the same knot.
Then a third body is found.
As McLean digs deeper he descends into a world where the lines of reality are blurred and that the most irrational answers become the only explanations.
Emma L Clapperton – Henderson Manor
Preston and Lang investigating the death of a young girl in an old Manor house in Glasgow gets their minds ticking. Who would want to kill an innocent girl in her own home and why? They believe their questions have been answered and the case is closed.
Sam Leonard could not be happier, he has an amazing acting career, an loyal best friend and a fantastic girlfriend and after a previous turbulent relationship, what could go wrong?
Patrick McLaughlin’s life is going well. His marriage is stable and with a baby on the way, things can only get better.
But a house that Patrick buys is not all it seems. With a family burial plot in the gardens, visions and messages from the deceased and a fairly recent death in the house, will Patrick and Jodie regret their purchase?
Alex Gray – The Bird That Did Not Sing
2014: The Commonwealth Games is coming to Glasgow and security is extra tight, particularly after a mysterious bomb explodes in nearby countryside. As the opening ceremony for the Games draws ever closer, the police desperately seek the culprits. But Detective Superintendent Lorimer has other concerns on his mind. One is a beautiful red- haired woman from his past whose husband dies suddenly on his watch. Then there is the body of a young woman found dumped near to the bomb site who is proving impossible to identify. Elsewhere in the city people prepare for the events in their own way, whether for financial gain or to welcome home visitors from overseas. And, hiding behind false identities, are those who pose a terrible threat not just to the Games but to the very fabric of society. Alex Gray’s stunning new Lorimer novel, set against the backdrop of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, brings the vibrant city to life in a race to stop the greatest threat the city has ever known.
Gordon Ferris – Gallowglass
He’s dead. So says his own newspaper, the Glasgow Gazette: Douglas Brodie, 25th January 1912-20th July 1947. Just 4 weeks before, a senior banker was kidnapped. Brodie delivered the ransom money on the instructions of the abducted man’s wife, but the drop went disastrously wrong. Brodie was coshed in the kidnapper’s den. He woke with a gun in his hand next to a very dead banker with a bullet in his head. The case against Brodie is watertight: the bullet comes from his own revolver, the banker’s wife denies knowing him, and his pockets are stuffed with ransom notes. In an apparant act of desperation, Brodie cheats justice by committing suicide in his prison cell. Could this be the sordid end for a distinguished ex-copper, decorated soldier and man of parts?
Gillian Galbraith – The Good Priest
In the house of a Roman Catholic bishop a man lies in a pool of blood. Out in the bishop’s diocese the quiet life of parish priest Father Vincent Ross is about to be thrown into turmoil by a terrifying revelation. There are ugly scandals being hidden by the church he has served for so long, and a murderer is on the prowl. The police and the authorities are groping in the dark, but Father Ross has been given special information that he cannot disclose to anyone. It gradually dawns on him that he and he alone can unravel the mystery and bring the nightmare of violence to an end. He must put his personal safety, his reputation and finally his life on the line.
Russel D McLean – Mothers of the Disappeared
Suspended from the Association of British Investigators and facing an enquiry into his alleged misconduct over four years previously, J. McNee’s career hangs in the balance. The last thing he needs is new business. But when the mother of a murdered child asks him to re-open a case he helped close during his time in the police, McNee can’t refuse.
Doug Johnstone – The Dead Beat
If you’re so special, why aren’t you dead? Meet Martha. It’s the first day of her new job as intern at Edinburgh’s The Standard. But all’s not well at the ailing newspaper, and Martha is carrying some serious baggage of her own. Put straight onto the obituary page, she takes a call from a former employee who seems to commit suicide while on the phone, something which echoes with her own troubled past. Setting in motion a frantic race around modern-day Edinburgh, The Dead Beat traces Martha’s desperate search for answers to the dark mystery of her parents’ past.
Quintin Jardine – Hour of Darkness
The body of a murdered woman is found washed up on Cramond Island near the mouth of the River Forth. Days later detectives are called to a flat in Edinburgh; the kitchen is covered in blood, and the occupier is missing.
When the name of the woman from Cramond Island is revealed, it stirs unwelcome memories for those who knew her, Chief Constable Bob Skinner most of all. Now based in Glasgow, he has no reason to become involved in the linked cases. Yet he does, unwittingly setting in motion a course that will lead him into a personal nightmare and the toughest choice of his life…
Denzil Meyrick – The Last Witness
James Machie was a man with a genius for violence, his criminal empire spreading beyond Glasgow into the UK and mainland Europe. Fortunately, James Machie is dead, assassinated in the back of a prison ambulance following his trial and conviction. But now, five years later, he is apparently back from the grave, set on revenging himself on those who brought him down. Top of his list is his previous associate, Frank MacDougall, who unbeknownst to D.I. Daley, is living under protection on his loch-side patch, the small Scottish town of Kinloch. Daley knows that, having been the key to Machie’s conviction, his old friend and colleague D.S. Scott is almost as big a target. And nothing, not even death, has ever stood in James Machie’s way..
Mark Douglas-Home – The Malice of Waves
For five years Priest’s Island has guarded the secret of Max Wheeler’s disappearance. Each anniversary the boy’s family gathers at the scene to mourn his loss and to commission a new inquiry into the mystery. So far a retired chief constable, a private detective, a forensic archaeologist and a former intelligence officer have failed to uncover what happened to fourteen-year-old Max.
Now Cal McGill, an oceanographer with expertise in tracking bodies at sea, has taken up the quest and finds himself caught between a father hell-bent on vengeance, a family riven by tragedy and a community resentful at being accused of murder. As Cal goes about his investigation he discovers an island that provokes dangerous passions in everyone that sets foot on it. And he has a nagging worry: if Max was murdered why shouldn’t it happen again?