Aberdeen Booked Festival in partnership with the Edinburgh international Book Festival

Aberdeen Booked! Festival brings the buzz of Edinburgh International Book Festival north for a two-day literary feast, with great events for book lovers of all ages.

Aberdeen Booked! Festival – James Oswald and Gunnar Staalesen | Mon 29 August 2016


5.30pm to 6.30pm

£5 | £3.50

Venue Detail:
Aberdeen Arts Centre
AB24 5AA


Cold cases and conspiring communities surface in new thrillers from either side of the North Sea. In The Damage Done, James Oswald’s Inspector McLean is drawn deep into Edinburgh’s shadowy high society chasing monsters from past and present. Norwegian Gunnar Staalesen’s PI Varg Veum must untangle a web of lies while investigating a child’s sinister disappearance 25 years ago. Two bestselling crime writers come together to discuss the latest chilling installments of their iconic heroes.

Aberdeen Booked! Festival is part of Edinburgh International Book Festival’s Booked! programme supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and produced in partnership with Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeen City Libraries, and ACT Aberdeen

You can book your tickets for this event at the following website

Scottish crime on TV 

A horrific double murder rocks the lives of two families living side-by-side in isolated rural Scotland. But instead of focusing on the investigation, One Of Us explores the fallout for the grieving relatives, and the dark consequences that threaten to shatter their lives.

Starts Tuesday 23rd August. 9pm.

A Trailer can be found at the BBC website here


The main BBC website can be found here


Crime in Edinburgh during August at the Edinburgh Book Festival 2016 Wednesday 24th to Monday 29th

Tom Gauld

Wed 24 Aug 3:45pm – 4:45pm

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00

Tom Gauld

The Last Policeman on the Moon

‘Living on the moon? What were we thinking?’ The lunar colony is winding down and the last cop’s beat is getting steadily smaller. In the plaintive, pared-back style of his popular Guardian cartoons, Tom Gauld’s new graphic novel Mooncop is a story that beautifully captures the personal realities facing a dying community. A witty, melancholy adventure that confirms Gauld as a star of British graphic novels.



Kate Summerscale with Val McDermid

Thu 25 Aug 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

Kate Summerscale with Val McDermid

The Story of a Victorian Child Killer

While Kate Summerscale remains best known as the author of the number one bestseller The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, she has certainly not rested on her impressive literary laurels. The Wicked Boy is an unforgettable forensic analysis of the dark side of 19th century Britain in which Summerscale explores the story of teenagers Robert and Nattie Coombes, and a shocking murder case that sent Victorians into a frenzy. She discusses her book with bestselling crimewriter Val McDermid.



Marcus Sedgwick & Alice Thompson

Sat 27 Aug 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00

Marcus Sedgwick & Alice Thompson

Tales of the Darkly Unexpected

Two tales of mystery, murder, memory and madness. In multi-talented writer Marcus Sedgwick’s Mister Memory, a crime of passion leads a psychiatrist and a policeman to startling discoveries in 19th century Paris. With The Book Collector, James Tait Black award-winner Alice Thompson offers up a spine-tingling Gothic tale about an Edwardian woman whose obsession with a book of fairy tales uncovers a trail of shocking murders.


Steve Cavanagh

Sat 27 Aug 8:30pm – 9:30pm

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00

Legally Thrilling

Lawyer-turned-novelist Steve Cavanagh left us breathless with his high-octane debut thriller The Defence. His hard hustling lawyer Eddie Flynn returns for more in his action-packed follow-up, The Plea. Once again he is in the fight for his life, up against the mob and the FBI, trying to save his client and his family – and trying not to break too many bones or laws along the way! Hear about this gripping and ingenious legal thriller from one of the funniest crimewriters around.



Mark Billingham with Val McDermid

Sat 27 Aug 8:45pm – 9:45pm

Studio Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

Mark Billingham with Val McDermid

Deceptively Brilliant Fiction

With over three million copies of his books sold to date, Mark Billingham’s career as a novelist has been a slam-dunk success. And he’s back for more this summer with Die of Shame, his smartest, most unusual thriller to date. When six people meet each week to discuss addiction, they share their most shameful secrets. So when one of them is murdered, will any of the others testify? He discusses his book with fellow crimewriter Val McDermid.


Irvine Welsh

Sat 27 Aug 9:45pm – 10:45pm

Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

Irvine Welsh

Begbie: Scarier Than Ever?

With The Blade Artist, Irvine Welsh returns to the vicious Trainspotting character who’s emerged as the best reflection of our angry times. Robert Carlyle, who memorably played Begbie in the iconic movie, recently claimed that ‘small psychos are the best’, and his characterisation is a case in point. In Irvine Welsh’s new novel, the hard-man has taken on a new persona as an artist in cosy California. He discusses his work with Brian Taylor.


Joanne Harris

Sun 28 Aug 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

Joanne Harris

A Very Good Book About a Very Bad Boy

The author of heart-warming dramas such as Chocolat, Joanne Harris is also a psychological thriller writer blessed with a talent for whipcrack tension and masterful plot twists. Her latest work, Different Class, is set in the same eerie fictional Yorkshire village where previous thriller Gentlemen & Players unfolded. It features a teacher still haunted by a troubled schoolboy decades after they last met.


James Oswald & Gunnar Staalesen

Sun 28 Aug 5:45pm – 6:45pm

Garden Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

James Oswald & Gunnar Staalesen

Uncovering Long-Hidden Secrets

Mysterious cold cases are at the heart of two Eurocrime books. James Oswald unleashes the sixth of his Edinburgh-set Inspector McLean books with The Damage Done, plunging us deep into an elite society that harbours gruesome secrets. Dubbed by Jo Nesbo as the ‘Norwegian Chandler’, Gunnar Staalesen brings us Where Roses Never Die which has PI Varg Veum probing the disappearance of a 3 year old girl in a tranquil suburb.


J M Gulvin & Ragnar Jónasson

Sun 28 Aug 8:30pm – 9:30pm

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00

J M Gulvin & Ragnar Jónasson

Cops and Rangers

In the latest of his Dark Iceland series, Ragnar Jónasson’s Nightblind reintroduces us to young cop Ari Thor, on the case of a murdered policeman in a tightly-knit community. J M Gulvin’s The Long Count marks the dawn of a new crime series which focuses on a different kind of investigator. John Q is a Texas Ranger who has no time for a local police force’s contention that a fellow war veteran killed himself.


Peter Arnott & Herman Koch

Mon 29 Aug 10:15am – 11:15am

The Spiegeltent

£12.00, £10.00

Peter Arnott & Herman Koch

Kidnappers and Stalkers

If you wanted to break free of your criminal past, would you get closer to a bag of stolen money by kidnapping your family? This is the intriguing move from Tommy Hunter, the anti-hero of playwright Peter Arnott’s novel Moon Country. He’s joined on stage by Herman Koch (bestselling author of The Dinner) whose Dear Mr M features a once-famous author being monitored by an admirer whose motives may not be especially healthy.




4th There has been a murder crime book of the Year 2016 Nominations 1to7




I enjoyed my first day at primary school. Of course, I didn’t know then that this was the first day of a suffocating friendship with a psychopath, a friendship I’d still be trapped in thirty years later.’

Joseph Staines left town with a stolen tallybook, but two suspicious deaths and a surprise inheritance have lured him back home to Edinburgh. No-one is pleased to see him. The debtors want him gone. The Police have some questions for him. And a mysterious stranger has been asking about him in the pub. To survive, Staines has to sober up, solve the murders, and stay one step ahead of the man who wants him dead.



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?




It’s December, and the Shannon family are returning home to their clifftop mansion near Kinloch for their annual AGM. Shannon International is one of the world’s biggest private companies, with tendrils reaching around the globe in computing, banking and mineral resourcing, and it has brought untold wealth and privilege to the family. However, a century ago Archibald Shannon stole the land upon which he built their home – and his descendants have been cursed ever since.When heavy snow cuts off Kintyre, DCI Jim Daley and DS Brian Scott are assigned to protect their illustrious visitors. As an ancient society emerges from the blizzards, and its creation, the Rat Stone, reveals grisly secrets, ghosts of the past come to haunt the Shannons. As the curse decrees, death is coming – but for whom and from what?




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?


book cover of  Rough Cut

When a young Pakistani bride falls to her death from a window, Rosie has to navigate the story with care. After talking to the family, however, Rosie becomes convinced that there is more to the story. Meanwhile, Rosie has been talking to Laila, who has voiced her fears of being forced into marrying a much older man in Pakistan. When Laila disappears, Rosie is sure her fears have been realised…



When a two-year-old girl is reported missing, DCI Andy Gilchrist is assigned the case. But Gilchrist soon suspects that the child’s mother – Andrea Davis – may be responsible for her daughter’s disappearance, or worse, her murder.

The case becomes politically sensitive when Gilchrist learns that Andrea is the daughter of Dougal Davis, a former MSP who was forced to resign from Scottish Parliament after being accused of physically abusing his third wife. Now a powerful businessman, Davis demands Gilchrist’s removal from the case when his investigation seems to be stalling. But then the case turns on its head when Gilchrist learns that a paedophile, recently released from prison, now lives in the same area as the missing child. The paedophile is interrogated but hours later his body is found on the beach with evidence of blunt force trauma to the head, and Gilchrist launches a murder investigation.

As pressure relentlessly mounts on Gilchrist, he begins to unravel a dark family secret, a secret he believes will solve the fate of the missing child.



mysterious patient. A nurse running for her life. Secrets that can destroy a nation.

Kelly Carter is used to staring death in the face. She’s an experienced palliative care nurse working the graveyard shift, in more ways than one. When her latest patient presents with his own state-of-the-art medical kit and a delusional conspiracy story about Princess Diana’s ‘assassination’, she’s sure his illness has reached the brain. Because there’s no way he could be for real. 

Meanwhile, journalists April Lavender and Connor Presley are investigating devastating revelations from beast-shamer.com – the shadowy website that’s exposing some nasty government secrets. But when an explosion blasts apart a suburban garage and another annihilates a doctor, they exit cyberspace and head for the epicentre of the action. Can they stop the killings?


Crime in Edinburgh during August at the Edinburgh Book Festival 2016 Thursday 18th to Tuesday 23rd


Stuart MacBride

Fri 19 Aug 7:15pm – 8:15pm

Studio Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

Stuart MacBride

A Drop of the Hard Stuff

With ten Logan McRae novels under his belt, Aberdonian crime writer Stuart MacBride is firmly established as an international bestseller. In the Cold Dark Ground kicks off with the discovery of a maimed body in woodland not far from the Granite City, and quickly lands McRae in an underworld trench war. Top drawer plotting and extreme brutality: this Scottish heavyweight’s on gruesomely good form.


Ben Aaronovitch

Fri 19 Aug 8:45pm – 9:45pm

Studio Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

Ben Aaronovitch

Local Gods for Local People

Ben Aaronovitch’s Metropolitan PC Peter Grant crime novels have propelled him into top 10 bestseller lists, and his latest, Foxglove Summer, proves why. This time, the man who has penned Doctor Who stories for print and screen takes our favourite London copper out of his comfort zone and into the countryside to investigate the supernatural forces behind the disappearances of local children.


Neil Broadfoot & Michael J Malone

Sat 20 Aug 8:30pm – 9:30pm

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00

Neil Broadfoot & Michael J Malone

Prose Like a Sniper’s Bullet

The much-missed William McIlvanney didn’t care for the phrase Tartan Noir, but his work paved the way for a vibrant crimewriting scene in Scotland. Two of the most exciting new talents are Neil Broadfoot (described by Magnus Linklater as ‘the one to watch’) and Michael J Malone (who, according to Douglas Skelton ‘delivers a belter of a yarn’). Join them to hear about Broadfoot’s All the Devils and Malone’s Bad Samaritan. Belters, both.


Chris Brookmyre

Sun 21 Aug 8:15pm – 9:15pm

Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

Chris Brookmyre

Does Feminism Have a Dark Side?

For years he’s been regarded as one of Scotland’s best-loved and funniest crimewriters, but Chris Brookmyre’s critical reputation has also steadily grown over that same period and now he counts among the best-respected writers in his field. With Black Widow, Brookmyre bravely strides into new political territory with a thriller that takes in sexism in the workplace, revenge porn and internet trolling.


Mary Paulson-Ellis & Nicholas Searle

Mon 22 Aug 2:00pm – 3:00pm

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00

Mary Paulson-Ellis & Nicholas Searle

Tales of the Unexpected

Curious mysteries take deft turns in new books by two emerging stars. Edinburgh-based Mary Paulson-Ellis’ fine debut The Other Mrs Walker follows a woman on a seriously odd case for the Office for Lost People. Nicholas Searle makes a strong case to be le Carré’s heir with debut novel The Good Liar. A successful conman is about to pull off one final coup, but this one is not as simple as first imagined… Chaired by Diana Hope.


Val McDermid

Mon 22 Aug 8:15pm – 9:15pm

Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

Val McDermid

Star Writer Returns to the Dark Side

Crime-writing Fifer Val McDermid has had a busy year so far, having found a cameo role for the First Minister in a play she penned for Radio 4 and campaigning hard to save an award-winning Orkney mobile library. Now she’s back on familiar ground as she launches another of the gripping, spine-tingling bestsellers that have turned her into one of Britain’s hottest thriller writers.


Eva Dolan & Kati Hiekkapelto

Tue 23 Aug 10:15am – 11:15am

The Spiegeltent

£12.00, £10.00

Eva Dolan & Kati Hiekkapelto

Fictional Deaths Turn Up Anywhere

Finnish author, punk vocalist and performance artist Kati Hiekkapelto is the latest Scandinavian noir star. The Defenceless features investigator Anna Fekete and the curious death of a man run over by an au pair. Essex-based author Eva Dolan presents her third Zigic and Ferreira novel, After You Die, in which Ferreira investigates the case of two bodies found in a picturesque village near Peterborough.


Quintin Jardine

Tue 23 Aug 5:00pm – 6:00pm

Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

Quintin Jardine

Scottish Sleuth Settles Scores

Bob Skinner is back! This time he’s shocked by what he uncovers in the back of a stolen car when it collides with his own on the outskirts of Edinburgh. In Private Investigations, the 26th story of Quintin Jardine’s series, Scotland’s toughest cop sets out on the trail of an expensive yacht as the body count rises. But working for the newly-unified Police Scotland, it’s unclear whose side Skinner is on. Jardine talks to Brian Taylor.


book to check out

If you are looking for a good e book to buy and you don’t want to spend too much money and you love crime fiction, then this is the book for you and it’s only 99p for one day on the Amazon kindle Daily Deal

A young man enters the culverted remains of an ancient Glasgow stream, looking for thrills. Deep below the city, it is decaying and claustrophobic and gets more so with every step. As the ceiling lowers to no more than a couple of feet above the ground, the man finds his path blocked by another person. Someone with his throat cut.

As DS Rachel Narey leads the official investigation, photographer Tony Winter follows a lead of his own, through the shadowy world of urbexers, people who pursue a dangerous and illegal hobby, a world that Winter knows more about than he lets on. And it soon becomes clear that the murderer has killed before, and has no qualms about doing so again.

Delivering brilliant crime fiction for fans of Stuart MacBride and Ian Rankin, Craig Robertson is the author of the acclaimed Random, Snapshot, Cold Grave, Witness the Dead, The Last Refuge and In Place of Death.

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


Crime in Edinburgh during August at the Edinburgh Book Festival 2016 Saturday 13th to Wednesday 17th




Sun 14 Aug 7:00pm – 8:00pm

The Spiegeltent

£8.00, £6.00

David Ashton


Fans of David Ashton’s BBC Radio 4 drama (and his Inspector McLevy novels) will already know Jean Brash. She’s the actor-turned-writer’s counterpoint to McLevy and in Mistress of the Just Land she gets a novel that’s entirely her own. As the boss of Edinburgh’s finest brothel, she finally has a case to solve – and it’s a violent murder that’s taken place in her own house of pleasure.



Tue 16 Aug 5:45pm – 6:45pm

Garden Theatre

£12.00, £10.00


Are the disruptive technologies and transitions facing the book business a liberation for authors and will they create a fairer relationship between corporate and creative? Is this the ‘best of times’ to be a writer, a translator, an illustrator, a poet? How can writers take advantage of the opportunities and protect themselves against the pitfalls? Our panel includes published, self-published and hybrid authors who discuss these and other questions. Chaired by Linda Strachan




Tue 16 Aug 7:00pm – 8:00pm

The Spiegeltent

£8.00, £6.00

Lucy Ribchester & Sara Sheridan


Two Edinburgh-based writers discuss fast-moving historical adventures, featuring intriguing women at their heart. Sara Sheridan gives us On Starlit Seas in which a celebrated 1820s writer leaves a civil war-ravaged Brazil for England. Lucy Ribchester’s follow-up to The Hourglass Factory is The Amber Shadows, a pacey wartime tale of a Bletchley Park typist who finds herself embroiled in murder and intrigue.



Wed 17 Aug 7:00pm – 8:00pm

The Spiegeltent

£8.00, £6.00

Richard T Kelly & Mark Lawson with Val McDermid


Mark Lawson’s The Allegations centres on a reputation-threatening investigation into the past behaviour of a well-known historian, while Richard T Kelly’s The Knives features a fiery Home Secretary struggling to cope with border control, terrorism and modern policing. With such sensitive social contexts involved, what personal risks did the authors take in approaching the material? An event marking the publication of two very contemporary novels, chaired by Val McDermid.



Wed 17 Aug 8:30pm – 9:30pm

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00

Raja Alem & Abir Mukherjee


Winner of the 2011 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, Raja Alem is an exciting new voice in Arabic literature. In The Dove’s Necklace she describes the customs of Mecca from the intriguing perspective of a female Saudi author. Abir Mukherjee spent most of his childhood in Glasgow, but his award-winning Calcutta-set crime novel A Rising Man is an evocative portrait of India and the dark underbelly of British Raj. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.



August 2016 crime author of the month interview with Mark J Newman

1. How did you get started writing?

I’ve always wanted to write, as a child I had an overactive imagination and used to write and make up my own comic strip storyboards. At school I always enjoyed the creative writing aspect of English but frequently got told off for writing violent and graphic crime stories. I began writing a novel back in 1998 but didn’t get past the first 30K words.

2. What drew you to write a crime novel

In my youth I spent a lot of time at my nan’s house, she had a fondness for Westerns, in particular films that starred Clint Eastwood, so I guess it was organic, I progressed from watching spaghetti westerns to the Dirty Harry movies. That fed in to my imagination and led me to look for other darker gritty crime movies. So overall its very cinematic, as I’m writing I can see the images in my head. I’m drawn to investigate the darker side of human nature, and what drives us to commit acts of violence and revenge.

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

Lawrence Block, Ed McBain, George Pelecanos, Don Winslow, Ian Rankin

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

I made a conscious choice to bypass the traditional route and go straight for self publishing, I like the element of control that it allows the writer.

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

Well, at present it would have to be Malkie Thompson, as a reader you know that you’re not really supposed to like him but you can’t help but get drawn to him. That said Baxter, the main character in the new book, In For The Kill, is complex, without giving too much away, let’s just say he’s not all that he appears to be.

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

In the past I worked as a Police Photographer and I’ve also worked as a prison tutor, both jobs gave me a wealth of experiences to draw upon for ideas, plots, characters, settings etc. My stories are an amalgamation of truth and fiction woven into what I hope are entertaining genre fiction crime thrillers.

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

No one character is based on any one particular person that I may have come in to contact with in the past. I draw upon my own experiences and others to create the characters. I used to go for end of shift drinks with a lot of police officers, so I would get to hear the banter and the stories. I’ve been saving these up in my head for the best part of 20 years, and of course I embellish them to bring them to life on the page.

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

I’m definitely writing to a specific audience with this particular series. I don’t shy away from the gritty and the explicit. I’ve heard some people refer to it as Brit Grit. Having seen it up close in real life, documenting crime scenes, I’m trying to tell it how it is. Of course that’s not always to everybody’s taste.

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

Good question, am I a violent sociopath like Malkie Thompson? I think as humans we all have a propensity for violence, given the right circumstances. But no, character trait wise, I’m not like Malkie Thompson, I’m probably closer to Baxter and George, Malkiel’s loyal friend and confidant.

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

Crime Syndicate book 3: Walk Amongst the Dead, leads on from book 2. It’s set in the present day and joins Malkie Thompson and his crew at their midlands base where they’ve set up home and established their business interests since leaving Glasgow in 1987. This is written and I’m currently re-drafting it prior to sending it off to my editor.
I’m also writing a standalone revenge novella, Paid in Full, a homage to the 1980s’ film Falling Down starring Michael Douglas. Also in production, I have a psychological thriller, which I’m approximately 30K words in to and a new series in development about a rogue cop, again, this character isn’t all that he might first appear to be to the reader. Going beyond that I have outlines written for another 2 different series, both of which feature strong female lead characters.

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

So far I think the new book In For The Kill is my favourite as it’s finished and polished, having said that, book 3 in the Crime Syndicate series was a lot of fun to write, but I’m still in the process of redrafting it.

12. As a up and coming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share
Best advice to anyone wanting to write whether they’re writing crime or any other genre, just get on and do it. I put it off for years, made a lot of excuses for not doing it. With self publishing there really is no excuse. I spent three years researching the market, listening to various podcasts, taking part in webinars before dipping my toe in but really if you feel you have a story to tell just get on with it, there are plenty of forums to join all offering help and advice to the budding writer.


Crime Syndicate Series

Violence in the Blood

In for the Kill

Walk Amongst the Dead (due for release September 2016)

More in series planned for 2017


10:54 Suburbia Volume 1 (a book of 5 thriller shorts) FREE at sign up to the VIP Club

Paid in Full (a revenge novella due for release October 2016)

Social media links:



Amazon Author Page


August 2016 crime author of the month interview with Alex Walters 

1. How did you get started writing? 


It’s always been there, I think. As a teenager I wrote endless bad short stories and had ambitions to be a writer, but then, after university, life got in the way for too long. I never really stopped writing but it was a long while before I seriously thought about trying to get published.


2. What drew you to write a crime novel?


I’ve loved crime fiction since I first stumbled across Agatha Christie as a teenager. That led me into other ‘golden age’ British crime writing and then to the American greats and eventually to modern crime fiction. I didn’t initially think about trying to write crime fiction myself but, as I struggled to write a first novel, I found myself drawn to the disciplines of the genre as a way of giving shape to the plot. After a while, I realised I didn’t want to write anything else!


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


I always find it difficult to talk about influences because it always feels such a mixed bag. There are writers I read as a child or a teenager who just made me want to write because they showed me what a writer can do – those range from Agatha Christie through to people like Alan Garner. In terms of crime writing, my biggest influence was probably Reginald Hill who I think Is still hugely underrated. If I could produce something half as good as his best novels I’d be happy.


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


For a long time, my attempts to find an agent or get published were fairly half-hearted – I didn’t really believe that it was possible. I’d written a humorous crime novel which I rather liked, but no-one else seemed to. Eventually, I sent it to the man who’s now my agent, Peter Buckman, who basically told me, very gently, that I could clearly write but that he couldn’t sell that particular book and that he’d be interested to see anything else I had. It was great advice because I stopped wasting time on that book and started on what became the first in my series set in Mongolia, The Shadow Walker. Peter took that on and sold it to what was then a brand-new imprint, Quercus. It all happened quite quickly in the end, but as always with publishing it’s as much about luck as anything else.


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


My new novel, Candles and Roses, is the start of a new series set in Scotland’s Black Isle, just north of Inverness. I always try to develop an ensemble of characters in my series but I suppose that, for the moment at least, my favourite character in the new series is DI Alec McKay, who’s an acerbic Dundonian who I hope manages to combine charm and irascibility. It’s great fun to write dialogue for him, not least because he’s surrounded by female colleagues who (mostly) keep him in his place.


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


The Black Isle’s an area I love and have spent a lot of time in over recent years (and I’m hoping to spend even more time there in the future), and much of my research involves trying to find suitable locations and settings for the books. I also do of course need to ensure I’ve a thorough knowledge of the local pubs and cafes…


I also have a freelance day-job that, over the last few years, has involved me in working extensively with police forces and other parts of the criminal justice sector, so that’s been invaluable in giving me insights about the way the police work – not just the procedures but also the way individuals and teams interact.


In general, I don’t tend to do much advance research, unless there’s a particular topic I know I’m going to want to include, because that can easily suck up all your time. I tend to write a first draft and then research any areas where I feel I need to know more to present a scene or a character convincingly.


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


I’d never admit it if they were! But I think like most writers that I draw on elements of people I know to create characters. Alec McKay, for example, has a few verbal tics and mannerisms that one or two friends may recognise, but he’s a very different character from them in most other ways (he adds, hastily). Candles and Roses does also contain one small cameo (with his permission) from someone who’s entirely real…


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


Scotland punches hugely about its weight in terms of the quality of its crime fiction, and I’ll be delighted if the book stands comparison with any of the best of Scottish crime writing. I hope that the book’s strengths are traditional ones – a gripping plot, distinctive and engaging characters, and a beautiful and atmospheric setting.  


I also wanted to write about a real issue. The book is in part about loneliness and rootlessness – the murder victims are individuals without families or close friends whose disappearance is hardly noticed by others. I felt a real shiver when, chatting to a hotelier on the Black Isle recently, he told me in passing a story that exactly replicated the background to Candles and Roses. I hope that the poignancy of that issue gives the book an added dimension.


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


Again, I probably wouldn’t admit it if I did! The honest answer is that there are probably bits of me in many of my characters. The even more honest answer is that some of my characters, including Alec McKay, probably behave in ways that I might like to if my personality was a little different. Writing fiction is a great way of living out your small fantasies!


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


I’ve got a second book in my DCI Kenny Murrain series, Dark Corners, set in and around Manchester, already written and I’m hoping that will be out later in the year. That begins with the apparent kidnapping and killing of a young child and takes us back to a notorious child murder of a decade or so before.


I’m just starting to write the second Alec McKay book. It’s probably too soon to say much about it except that it’s about relationships, old and new, and that it begins with the death of a former colleague of McKay himself…


11. Do you have a favourite scene that is in your new book and why did you pick that one


I’m not sure I have a single favourite scene but I particularly enjoyed writing the scenes that highlight the beauty and distinctiveness of the area. One of the book’s early scenes takes place by the Clootie Well, a supposedly holy stream where visitors tie scraps of cloths to the trees as offerings on behalf of sick friends or relatives. It’s a genuinely eerie and slightly disturbing place, and it seemed an appropriate spot to begin a novel about isolation and murder.


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


For those who seriously want to write, all I can really say is: just keep on writing. It can be hugely frustrating particularly if your work is being rejected by agents and publishers (and even the most successful writers have experienced major ups and downs in their careers), so in the end you have to do it because you really want to.


The other word of advice I’d give is that editing is at least as important as writing. It really helps to have a good editor giving a detached view of what you’ve written, but you can also do a lot for yourself in the first instance. My first draft is usually significantly longer than my final version. I put it to one side for a week or two (or longer if possible) and then come back to it fresh. Then I’m ruthless in trying to cut anything that doesn’t add to the plot, the characters or the atmosphere (as well as details that, while they might have been necessary for my thought processes, the reader doesn’t really need to know). It won’t be true of everybody, but in my case I’m always amazed by how much I can lose without detracting at all from the story, and I usually go through this process several times before I even think of showing the book to anyone else. I think many inexperienced writers, whether they’re looking to self-publish or submit to an agent, are so keen to get their story out there that they neglect this stage, but in my experience it really is critical.


Who will live and who will die? 

DI Alec McKay is a man haunted by the loss of his daughter. As he obsesses over a missing person case that is going nowhere, McKay’s investigation is interrupted when bodies start appearing on the Scottish Black Isle. Soon McKay and his team start to identify a disturbing pattern behind the killings. 

Why are candles and roses placed around the bodies?

What is this twisted murderer trying to achieve?

While the police follow their own leads, a young woman who discovered the first victim begins an investigation of her own.

As the case unfolds McKay will be forced to face his own demons.

To catch the killer McKay must discover the true motive and untangle the web of truth and lies.

As Michael Walters:

The Shadow Walker

The Adversary

The Outcast 

(Series set in present-day Mongolia)

As Alex Walters

Trust No-One

Nowhere to Hide

Late Checkout 

Murrain’s Truth (short stories)

Dark Corners (forthcoming)

Twitter: @mikewalters60
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alexwaltersauthor/
Blog: https://mikewalters.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page