Mark Leggatt was born in Lochee, Dundee and lives in Edinburgh. A former specialist in Disaster Recovery for oil companies and global banks, his career has taken him around Europe, especially Paris, where he lived for a number of years. History and modern global conspiracy lie at the heart of his work, and are the backdrop for the adventures of CIA technician Connor Montrose. Leggatt is a member of the Crime Writers Association in the UK, and the International Thriller Writers in the USA.
Third in the Connor Montrose series by Mark Leggatt, following on from the success of Names of the Dead and The London Cage.
Ex-CIA technician Connor Montrose tracks two suspected terrorists to a deserted mountain village in Tuscany, where he witnesses an attack on a US Air Force troop plane, using a ground-breaking portable Surface to Air (SAM) missile. Unaware that the CIA were also monitoring the suspects, Montrose is blamed for the attack and narrowly escapes. The CIA receive orders from Washington to shoot him on sight, and a shadowy organisation begins to track his every move.
Then a spate of terror attacks threatens the fabric of NATO and the entire Western alliance. Civilian airlines are the new target, and the overwhelming evidence points to a CIA false flag plan to bring down aircraft and blame it on Moscow-backed terrorists. Montrose’s investigations lead him to underground arms sales on The Silk Road, the secret marketplace of the internet, hidden deep in the Dark Web. Montrose must assimilate himself into the society of the European aristocracy and the ultra-rich fascists, assisted by Kirsty Rhys, to pose as a middleman for the purchase of arms on The Silk Road and find the remaining cache of missiles. Montrose uncovers the layers of duplicity between governments and arms dealers, leading first to the CIA in Rome, and eventually to the palaces of the last Russia Tsar and the new oligarchs. Montrose must discover the remaining cache of missiles before the CIA catch up with him, and before carnage is unleashed over the skies of Europe.
The one question that always comes up, is ‘do you plot your novels before you start, or just go for it?’ This is the favourite question on the Four Blokes In Search of A Plot tour, and as a plotter, I am outnumbered three to one. The rest of the guys take an initial idea, go for it, and sit down and write the book by the seat of their pants. This is what we call ‘pantsing’.
They may go up a few blind alleys and have to backtrack, but they start at the original idea, and write their way through the plot to the end. There’s a good reason for this, in that if they don’t know where the plot and the story are going, then neither will the reader, and it will always be fresh and exciting. I completely understand why you would use this method, and why it is attractive (if sometimes frustrating) to use, but that’s not the way it works for me.
I’m a plotter. I do use the ‘seat of the pants’ method, but only for about 400 words, where the other guys will do it for 80,000 words. I’ll do my 400 to write down the plot in summary, and if I can’t see it working, I’ll ditch it. It was a good idea, but it won’t work for a book. Then I move on to the next one and do it again. If the first 400 words work to summarise the book, and it looks like it would work as an idea where the story will last 80,000 words, with the potential for enough thrills and spills, tension, double crosses, action and fun, then I’ll place it on my desk in front of me, and use it to tease out the story to about 4000 words. If that works (it doesn’t always!), then I’ll start breaking that plot down into detail, locations, and characters. This works for me, because my first three thrillers required me to have a very good grasp of where my characters were at any point in time, what they knew, and what they had done, and what that would cause to happen next. A firm grasp of the old journalists’ adage, ‘who, what, where, when and why,’ that is required to make up every good story. And when it’s all planned out, then I’ll sit down and write the story. I won’t stick rigidly to my planning if have a good idea, but I always like to know where the story is going. Planning is never wasted!
Mark Leggatt Amazon Author Page
The Silk Road Amazon Book Page