A young child lies mummified in a barrel. His hands, cable-tied, appear to be locked in prayer. As forensic officers remove the boy they are in for an even bigger shock – he is not alone.
With his near-fatal stabbing almost a memory, DI Bob Valentine is settling back into life on the force but he knows nothing will ever be the same. Haunted by unearthly visions that appear like waking dreams, he soon understands he is being inducted into one of Scotland’s darkest secrets.
When the boy in the barrel is identified as a missing child from the 1980s, it re-opens a cold case that was previously thought unsolvable. When further remains are unearthed, the facts point to a paedophile ring and a political conspiracy that leads all the way to the most hallowed corridors of power.
1. What have you been up to with your writing since we last spoke?
Well, the last few years has been pretty much all about DI Bob Valentine, Summoning the Dead being the third in that series. I have a fourth one mapped out but before I get to that there’s a new series kicking off with Bay of Martyrs. It’s co-authored with an Aussie writer called Matt Neal and set in SW Victoria. This one’s looking like being the start of a new series too, featuring an investigative reporter called Clay Moloney. I also have an American-set novel on the cards which is nothing like anything I’ve writen before and I’m toying with a new DI Rob Brennan book.
2. So far what was your favourite book to write in terms of characters and plot?
I think The Last Tiger was the biggest departure and the most interesting to me in terms of the research. It follows the demise of the Tasmanian tiger and has a historical setting. I’d like to return to this area but it’s all about finding a subject that interests you enough.
3. What do you see for the future for DI Bob Valentine?
I think he can run to a few more books but he is getting pressure from his wife to quit and there’s the dodgy ticker to consider too, so who knows.
4. Have you any events coming up that you can share with us?
I’m doing a few for Book Week Scotland: Montrose, Dumfries, Morningside and Danderhall. The week after that I’m off to Dundee again.
5. Which out of all your lead character has been your favourite to write about and if you could team two of them up and write a novel staring them, who would you chose and why?
I liked Marti Driscol in His Father’s Son, it’s great fun writing through the eyes of a child. Perhaps I’d team Marti with my Edinburgh PI Gus Dury in a kind of generational clash, I think that would provide some effortless comedy.
6. What has been your stand out moment so far as a Scottish crime fiction writer?
Perhaps sitting in a yurt, in Berlin, in the middle of winter, wrapped up in a parka and reading to a very polite German crowd from my very Scottish novel, Gutted.
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