December 14 Crime Question of the Month 15 books to seek out in 2015

The Missing and the Dead
Stuart MacBride

The new Logan McRae novel from the No. 1 bestselling author of CLOSE TO THE BONE and A SONG FOR THE DYING. One mistake can cost you everything…When you catch a twisted killer there should be a reward, right? What Acting Detective Inspector Logan McRae gets instead is a ‘development opportunity’ out in the depths of rural Aberdeenshire. Welcome to divisional policing – catching drug dealers, shop lifters, vandals and the odd escaped farm animal. Then a little girl’s body washes up just outside the sleepy town of Banff, kicking off a massive manhunt. The Major Investigation Team is up from Aberdeen, wanting answers, and they don’t care who they trample over to get them. Logan’s got enough on his plate keeping B Division together, but DCI Steel wants him back on her team. As his old colleagues stomp around the countryside, burning bridges, Logan gets dragged deeper and deeper into the investigation. One thing’s clear: there are dangerous predators lurking in the wilds of Aberdeenshire, and not everyone’s going to get out of this alive…

Peter May

In 1965, five teenage friends fled Glasgow for London to pursue their dream of musical stardom. Yet before year’s end three returned, and returned damaged.

In 2015, a brutal murder forces those three men, now in their sixties, to journey back to London and finally confront the dark truth they have run from for five decades.

The Exit
Helen Fitzgerald

Some people love goodbyes…

23-year-old Catherine is mainly interested in Facebook and flirting, but she reluctantly takes a job at a local care home after her mother puts her foot down – and soon discovers that her new workplace

contains many secrets.

One of the residents at the home, 82-year-old Rose, is convinced that something sinister is going on in Room 7 and that her own life is under threat. But Rose has dementia – so what does she actually know, and who would believe her anyway?

As Catherine starts investigating Rose’s allegations, terrible revelations surface about everyone involved. Can Catherine find out what’s really going on before it’s too late?

Prayer for the Dead
James Oswald

The body of a missing journalist is found in a sealed chamber of the mysterious catacombs at Gilmerton Cove. He appears to have been the victim of a macabre Masonic ceremony, his throat cut and arcane symbols scrawled on the walls in his blood.

The occult nature of the case lands it squarely on Inspector Tony McLean’s desk. But when another body turns up with a similarly baffling lack of forensics, McLean begins to suspect darker forces at work.

Teamed up with the most unlikely and unwelcome allies, McLean struggles to solve this case before the killer can strike again.

Beyond the Rage
Michael J Malone

Even though he’s a successful criminal, Glasgow villian Kenny O’Neill is angry. Not only has high-class prostitute girlfriend just been attacked but his father is reaching out to him from the past. Kenny is now on a dual mission to hunt down his girlfriend’s attacker and discover the truth about his father … but instead he unravels disturbing family secrets and discovers revenge is not always sweet.

Keep the Midnight Out
Alex Gray

When the body of a red-haired young man is washed up on the shore of the beautiful Isle of Mull, Detective Superintendent Lorimer’s tranquil holiday away from the gritty streets of Glasgow is rudely interrupted. The body has been bound with twine in a ghoulishly unnatural position and strongly reminds Lorimer of another murder: a 20 year old Glasgow case that he failed to solve as a newly fledged detective constable and which has haunted him ever since. As local cop DI Stevie Crozier takes charge of the island murder investigation, Lorimer tries to avoid stepping on her toes. But as the similarities between the young man’s death and his cold case grow more obvious, Lorimer realises that there could be a serial killer on the loose after all these years.

Black Wood
SJI Holliday

Something happened to Claire and Jo in Black Wood: something that left Claire paralysed and Jo with deep mental scars. But with Claire suffering memory loss and no evidence to be found, nobody believes Jo’s story. Twenty-three years later, a familiar face walks into the bookshop where Jo works, dredging up painful memories and rekindling her desire for vengeance. And at the same time, Sergeant Davie Gray is investigating a balaclava-clad man who is attacking women on a disused railway, shocking the sleepy village of Banktoun. But what is the connection between Jo’s visitor and the masked man? To catch the assailant, and to give Jo her long-awaited justice, Gray must unravel a tangled web of past secrets, broken friendship and tainted love. But can he crack the case before Jo finds herself with blood on her hands?

A Cold Killing
Anna Smith

Crime reporter Rosie Gilmour returns from hiding in Bosnia to a story of a brutal execution. University lecturer Tom Mahoney was shot at point blank range, the killing has all the signs of a hit. But who would want to kill a retired lecturer?

Rosie throws herself into the investigation, looking for a witness that has gone missing. A witness that might hold the key to the story. But she has her own reasons to stay hidden.

As Rosie digs deeper, she finds the story has connections to the Ministry of Defence and MI6 and Mahoney’s past is darker than anyone could imagine.

Rosie’s running out of time to find out the truth, before Mahoney’s killers silence her for good.

Blood, Salt, Water
Denise Mina

DI Alex Morrow and her team have been shadowing a woman suspected of being involved in a large drug-smuggling and money-laundering operation. Roxanna Fuentecilla recently moved from London to Glasgow in suspicious circumstances and Morrow’s bosses want all the glory when she’s finally arrested. But then Roxanna disappears. She’s left her partner and her two children and something about the situation, and the children’s evasive attitude, leads Morrow to question what’s really going on.

In the nearby picturesque town of Helensburgh, Iain Fraser is struggling to live with his overwhelming guilt. Under orders from the infamous Mark Barratt he’s just killed a woman and now he’s left with blood on his hands. Meanwhile Miss Grierson, a former scout leader who left the sleepy seaside town decades ago, has returned. Allegedly she’s here to sort out her recently deceased mother’s estate, but Iain knows her mother died over two years ago and suspects she has an ulterior motive.

The Malice of Waves
Mark Douglas-Home

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 commission a new inquiry into the mystery but so far nobody has been able to uncover what happened. 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.

Double Mortice
Bill Daly

When Anne Gibson, the wife of a Glasgow lawyer, mysteriously disppears from a block of flats in Glasgow, DCI Charlie Anderson has his work cut out to establish whether he’s dealing with a case of abduction, suicide or murder.

Dark Suits and Sad Songs
Denzil Meyrick

When a senior Edinburgh civil servant spectacularly takes his own life in Kinloch harbour, DCI Jim Daley comes face to face with the murky world of politics. To add to his woes, two local drug dealers lie dead, ritually assassinated. It’s clear that dark forces are at work in the town. With his boss under investigation, his marriage hanging on by a thread, and his sidekick DS Scott wrestling with his own demons, Daley’s world is in meltdown. When strange lights appear in the sky over Kinloch, it becomes clear that the townsfolk are not the only people at risk. The fate of nations is at stake. Jim Daley must face his worst fears as tragedy strikes. This is not just about a successful investigation, it’s about survival.

Last Resort
Quintin Jardine

LAST RESORT is the twenty-fifth novel in Quintin Jardine’s ever-popular Bob Skinner series, and sees the Edinburgh cop back as never before.

After thirty years of service, former Chief Constable Bob Skinner faces the possible end of his police career, at its pinnacle.

A quiet trip to Catalunya to contemplate his future soon takes on a different flavour when Skinner is approached by an old friend, media owner Xavier Aislado, with an unusual request. One of his business’s brightest talents, Hector Sureda Roca, has vanished without a trace. Now it’s up to Skinner to track him down.

But as he conducts his search it soon becomes clear that another manhunt is also in progress, and that he himself is the target.

While his daughter Alex fights that battle on the home front, his search for Sureda takes one sinister turn after another, until he is faced with the toughest question of all. Is natural justice sometimes the only answer?

The Jump
Doug Johnstone

Struggling to come to terms with the suicide of her teenage son, Ellie lives in the shadows of the Forth Road Bridge, lingering on its footpaths and swimming in the waters below. One day she talks down another suicidal teenager, Sam, and sees for herself a shot at redemption, the chance to atone for her son’s death.

But even with the best intentions, she can’t foresee the situation she’s falling headlong into – a troubled family, with some very dark secrets of their own.

A Taste of Ashes
Tony Black

Following a harrowing case that nearly finished him off, DI Bob Valentine returns to normal duties in the heart of Burns country on Scotland’s wind-scarred west coast. But all is not well in the town of Ayr, a place ravaged by austerity and slipping closer to the abyss every day. As the near eviscerated corpse of a man is discovered on his kitchen table, fear grips the area and a murder investigation, probing a series of new lows for the town, gets underway.

Russel D McLean launch of Cry Uncle


The fifth J McNee novel is the most explosive yet, mixing the grit of the American hardboiled tradition
with a distinctly Scottish voice.

To celebrate the launch of the new novel, Russel will be speaking at the following events:

25 November: Edinburgh, Gilmerton Library, 13 Newtoft Street EH17 8RG: 7.00pm: free, tickets available from library

1 December: Dundee, Waterstones, 35 Commercial Street: 6.30pm: free, tickets available from venue.

2 December: Glasgow, Blackfriars Bar, 36 Bell Street, G1 1LG: 7.00pm: free entry

For further information please see:

November 2014 up and coming crime author of the month with a j mccreanor


How did you get started writing?
As a child, I was a voracious reader, however it was only when I read J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye that I was inspired to write. I wrote lots of short stories and poetry which all ended up stuffed in a drawer. I went on to study English Literature at university and later became a teacher. I began writing short stories again and eventually wrote Riven.

What drew you to write a crime novel?
I’ve always loved reading crime fiction and the idea of the outsider. Also, the story I wanted to tell in Riven suited the genre.
Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?
I enjoyed reading William McIlvanney, Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, Mo Hayder and many more. I also attended an Arvon course on crime writing (tutored by Louise Welsh and Allan Guthrie) which I found both helpful and inspiring.

When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?
I submitted writing to various competitions. Eventually, as a result of winning one, I was put in touch with my agent who then secured a publishing deal. Riven is the first in a series of novels featuring DIs Wheeler and Ross.

There are many interesting characters in your Novel, do you have a particular favourite one?
I have two! My detectives Kat Wheeler and Steven Ross are my favourites, but I also have a soft spot for Andy Doyle.

What kind of research have you had to undertake for your Novel?
I didn’t do a lot of research. I was brought up in the East End of Glasgow, so the geography was familiar to me but I did research both forensic and police procedures.

Are the characters in your books based on anyone in real life?
No, everyone is a product of my imagination. (Although my husband swears that aspects of DI Ross are based on him.)

What do you think makes your novels stand out from all the other Scottish Crime Fiction Novels out there?
The location is very important in Riven. It’s set in the East End of Glasgow, a place which is incredibly interesting and atmospheric. Also the novel doesn’t rely solely on a ‘good versus evil’ narrative. As human beings we often have to deal with complex moral and ethical decisions which can result in uncomfortable compromise. I hope this is reflected in some way in Riven.

Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa?
I share Kat Wheeler’s love of Thelonious Monk and the Scottish Colourists but sadly not her discipline.

If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned?
The next novel, Silenced, will be published in September 2015. When Wheeler and Ross hunt a killer who is targeting a vulnerable group within society, the killer then makes it personal.

What was your favourite scene to write in your Novel and why?
It was the opening scene of Riven. I write in an organic (messy!) way and wait to see where it may fit into the book, but once I’d written that first scene I knew that it was the beginning of a novel.

As an up and coming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share?
Keep writing. Share your work with friends and fellow writers. Listen to feedback. These are your first readers. And edit, rewrite, edit! And if it interests you as a writer, find a decent course.


First he kills.

A psychologist is found brutally murdered, an addict jumps to his death and a student is found dead. These are the facts. And they are all that DIs Wheeler and Ross have.

He waits.

As Wheeler and Ross weave through the layers of Glasgow’s underbelly they find a subculture where truth and lies are interchangeable commodities and violence is the favoured currency.

He watches.

The killer stays one step ahead of them as Wheeler uncovers a web of deceit in which her own nephew is entangled.

He leaves his legacy…

And as the case draws to a close, Wheeler has to confront her own integrity and face the dilemma: is justice always served by the truth?

Amazon Author Page

Free books

If you are looking for some good reads for your kindle that won’t break the bank, and you like Scottish crime fiction then these are the novel for you



Detective Inspector Alex Menzies starts her first day in a new job with a call to the scene of a terrible murder. The body of a young man has been left on a funeral pyre with a hole in the middle of his forehead. The investigation into the bizarre murder is lead by Alex’s new boss Detective Superintendent Tom Russell.
A vicious, bigoted racist is the first suspect but within days the city is shocked by the discovery of another mutilated and burned body. The killer’s signature is a small cross placed in the victim’s hand and the terrifying possibility of the city’s first serial killer in over forty years gives the police investigators a challenge that will tax all their skills and combined experience.
New victims are found and with each death the case becomes more puzzling and the police more desperate. As fear grips Glasgow, the investigative team must find the Soulseeker before he kills again in his search for the truth about the human soul.

To buy this kindle book for yourself go to the Amazon Page


Can you really trust The Only Survivor ?

When a helicopter crashes off the western coast of Garansay, there is only one survivor; a nineteen year old boy called Cameron Fleming.
He is quickly befriended by one of his rescuers, Michael Nichols. But when Michael’s sister and her family come to Garansay for the summer, Imogen Croft soon discovers that the boy is not quite as innocent as he seems…
‘The Only Survivor’ is the gripping second novel in the Imogen and Hugh Croft Mysteries series. Imogen and Hugh become dragged into the murky world of international organised crime, finding themselves terrifyingly out of their depth. They travel to the fascinating city of Dubai in order to solve the baffling puzzle behind the Fleming’s deaths. Returning to Garansay just in time to reveal the mystery’s dramatic and unexpected solution.

To buy this kindle book for yourself go to the Amazon Page

Free book

If you are looking for a good read for your kindle that won’t break the bank, and you like Scottish crime fiction then this is the novel for you


Nancy Kerr refuses to be a victim – even when she walks in on her parents’ killers and is raped and left for dead. Fourteen months later, she wakes up in a psychiatric hospital with no knowledge of how she got there. Slowly her memory starts to return. Released from the institution, she has just one thing on her mind – two men brought hell to her family home. Now they’re in for some hell of their own.

Here is the Amazon link to buy this kindle book for yourself

November up and coming crime author of the month with Lisa ballantyne


1. How did you get started writing?

I have written since I was very small, but started writing long fiction when I was living in China from 1996 – 2002. Initially, I was in very isolated areas in the South East and North West and my guitar and my pen and paper (no computer then) were my best friends.

2. What drew you to write a crime novel

I didn’t start out to write a crime novel. It wasn’t my initial intention…. but I was very drawn to the main character of Daniel as a child in foster care and his relationship with his foster mother, Minnie. It was exploring this key relationship and deciding to explore it from Daniel’s adult perspective, when he was a criminal solicitor defending a young boy accused of murder, that led me to write a crime novel.

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

It is hard to say who has influenced you…. easier to say who you admire. I read a lot of literary novels: Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Toni Morrison, William McIlvanney, Jackie Kay, Ali Smith, Joyce Carol Oates. At the moment I am discovering and loving Donna Tartt and Jenni Fagan.

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

Yes. I managed to get an agent after finishing my second novel, but it would take another two novels before I managed to find a publisher.

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

In The Guilty One, I think it’s obvious that, as a writer, I was most interested in Minnie and Daniel and their relationship – that is the emotional heart of the novel.

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

The Guilty One involved a lot of research. I went down to London to scout the locations and also visited The Old Bailey where I saw one of my heroines performing: Helena Kennedy QC.

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

Definitely not. I never consciously mine real life for my books. I write to escape the misery and ennui of real life. When I read I want to be transported into another world, and when I write I want the same…. it just takes a bit more effort!!!

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

Maybe, it’s that I don’t see The Guilty One as a crime novel. I think that those who like gruesome, fast paced thrillers might be a bit disappointed. I took a lot of time making the characters rounded and real and I allowed myself time to let them unfold. This may frustrate many hard-boiled crime readers, but I am grateful to have found some readers who enjoyed.

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

Again, I am not consciously mining myself for my characters, but I can empathise with them all. The characters in my books tend to be flawed, and I am flawed, so who knows!!

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

REDEMPTION ROAD, my new book, is out in e-book in January and out in July 2015 in paperback, although it is launched overseas in Australia and New Zealand in January. Very nervous about the reception, but again hope that people enjoy.

11.What was your favourite scene to write in your Novel and why

I enjoyed writing the scene which comprises chapter 2 in The Guilty One, when Daniel meets Minnie for the first time. I might have written this scene first before anything else in the novel…. It is the kernel of the novel for me… their relationship and its development.

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

Again, I don’t see myself solely as a crime writer and so would hate to give advice on that, and also as an up and coming writer, I don’t feel I am in a position to give advice. The only thing I might say, is that a lot of people I meet think writing is easy and it’s not…. As Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “I don’t like writing very much, but I very much enjoy having written.”


A little boy was found dead in a children’s playground…

Daniel Hunter has spent years defending lost causes as a solicitor in London. But his life changes when he is introduced to Sebastian, an eleven-year-old accused of murdering an innocent young boy.

As he plunges into the muddy depths of Sebastian’s troubled home life, Daniel thinks back to his own childhood in foster care – and to Minnie, the woman who adopted him and whose love saved him, until she, too, betrayed him so badly that he cut her out of his life.

But what crime did Minnie commit that made Daniel disregard her for 15 years? And will Daniel’s identification with a child on trial for murder make him question everything he ever believed in?

Deeply psychological and suspenseful, The Guilty One is already an international phenomenon and one of the most talked-about books of the year.

Amazon Author Page

November 2014 up and coming crime author of the month with Wendy h jones


How did you get started writing?

I came to writing through an academic route. I worked for many years in academia and wrote books and journals. After a period of illness I decided it was time to change direction and I moved back to Dundee, the City where I was born and grew up. I love murder mysteries and had the idea for a book in my head. I was challenged to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month) and started writing fiction.

What drew you to write a crime novel?

I have been reading crime books almost since I could read. I started out with The Famous Five, Secret Seven, The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. By the age of ten I had read everything in the children’s section of the library. Being a feisty Dundonian I got my own way when I asked for an adult library card. I moved on to Agatha Christie, and have probably read every Crime author since. It was a natural progression to write crime.

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

I would have to say that my writing would be an amalgam of them all. I am an avid reader and have read so many different crime authors that it would be difficult to pick just one.

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

It is very difficult to get publisher interest these days. Publishers, and agents, are inundated with submissions. Many publishers and agents are now looking at people who have self published successfully and already have a fan base.

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

My favourite would have to be Shona McKenzie. She is the Inspector in charge of the CID team at, what was then, Tayside Police. She is a feisty character, definitely in control, sharp and yet funny. Her team love her and criminals get on her bad side at their peril.

What sort of research have you had to undertake in order to write your novels.

I was fortunate in that my nursing background helped a lot with any medical information I needed. I have taught medical law, but that was in England. I had to research Scottish Law, which is, of course, completely different. The police were extremely helpful. Just as I was starting the second novel, Tayside Police became Police Scotland and my local police sergeant came round to my house and explained the implications of the changes.

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

No, I have deliberately avoided that.  One name is mentioned who is a real person and that person then becomes a character in their own right in book 2 in the series. I also ran a murder mystery dinner party in aid of charity. During this there was a raffle where the prize was to have your name as a character in my book. Although the winner is named the character is not based on them.

What do you think makes your books stand out from all the other Crime Fiction novels out there?

Although my books are gritty crime books, and there are plenty of dead bodies, they are also meant to be funny and down to earth. It is not all doom and gloom.

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

I’ve deliberately tried not to base any of the characters on me personally but I suppose it cannot be completely avoided. The most obvious is, that both Shona and I have a dry sense of humour. I’d say she is funnier than I am, and gets away with a lot more.

Can you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned?

The next book in the series is almost completely written. In this Shona and her team are dealing with a number of murders and are wondering if it could be another serial killer. They are hampered by the fact that Dundee is in the grip of a blizzard. There are some gruesome scenes, but also moments of laugh out loud fun. I have ideas set out for a further seven books in the series. I am also bouncing around ideas for a completely different crime series.

What was your favourite scene to write in your novel and why?

It is difficult to choose just one but I would say the prologue. This is a flash-forward to a scene later in the book and it is very atmospheric.

As an up and coming crime writer do you have words or advice you can share?

The best piece of advice I was given is just sit down and write. You will never complete the novel if you do not start. Once you have completed the first draft then edit, edit, edit. Also use a professional editor and get a few people to edit the book. The on piece of advice I will give anyone when writing, is have fun. If you are not enjoying writing the book then this will come across in your writing. Enjoy the ride; writing is a great way to spend your time. Your characters will develop minds of their own and drag you along on their coat tails.


First book in the DI Shona McKenzie Series

Dead Women.

A Ruthless Killer.

A Detective with something to prove.

Newly Promoted DI Shona McKenzie struggles to cope with her new job, the respect of her colleagues, and the need to solve the hardest career of her life.

Will she succeed.

Amazon Author Page