There’s Been a Murder Interview with Allan Martin

Allan has worked as a teacher, teacher-trainer and university lecturer.  Itook early retirement and now live in Glasgow.  My wife and I visit the Hebrides and Estonia regularly. Before retirement, his writing was mainly academic work. In 2013 he edited (as well as co-authored) M. Lamb, J. Macmillan, & A. Martin, Bute Connections, Rothesay, Bute Natural History Society(a collection of biographies of historical figures connected to Bute).Since then He has concentrated on writing fiction.

1. How did you get started writing?

I’d written various bits and pieces (e.g. two school pantomimes when I was a teacher) and plenty academic stuff, but it was only when I took early retirement that things took off. Now I could focus on what I really wanted to write. To start with that was history. I did some family history, and then things relating to the history of Bute. Then I thought about fiction.

2. What drew you to write a novel?

We visit Islay regularly, and seeing the remains of the World War Two airbase triggered the idea of a novel related to it. I wrote the first draft of The Peat Dead without any idea of whether it was any good or not. It was only when my wife Vivien, who’s an honest critic, said how impressive she thought it was, that it became real.

I was then lucky enough to have it assessed by a published author through the Xpo North Emergents Programme. That was very encouraging and also gave me some good practical advice, a key point being to cut out 40,000 words! I had to sacrifice some beloved characters and scenes, but I learnt the lesson that you’ve got to focus on the plot and keep it moving. And that the first draft is only the first draft.

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

I’ve not consciously modelled my writing on anyone (I don’t think many authors do), but I guesslots of writers I’ve read have shaped my writing in one way or another. As a teenager I read Agatha Christie, Dennis Wheatley and Sax Rohmer, so they may be in there somewhere (though I’ve managed to resist writing about puzzle-solving amateur sleuths and oriental criminal masterminds). Eric Ambler probably influenced my mixing of crime, history and politics in the plot. Ambler’s The Mask of Dimitrios is a brilliant mixture of all three, as well as a powerful evocation of the atmosphere of the late 1930s. Lots of others will be in the mix too, as I do a lot of reading; I think all of your reading shapes what you write. Writers I’ve read more recently and very much admired are Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald and Peter May.

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

I didn’t think seriously about getting The Peat Dead published until I came second in the Bloody Scotland Pitch Perfect event in 2016. Then I wrote to agents and publishers, and got plenty of polite refusals and even more total non-responses (‘If after six months we haven’t responded, please assume we’re not interested’). So you can imagine how excited I was when the lady from ThunderPoint said yes!

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

Angus Blue is the lynchpin of the book. He’s the one I started with, and he drives the investigation from start to finish. He has a strong moral sense: he believes in right and wrong rather than law and order. Justice is for him a moral imperative rather than a legal quibble. He has passions, but keeps them below the surface. And there’s a tragedy back there too. He is a team player, and builds a small team, each member of which has a distinctive character. There are lots of other characters in the book too, and I wanted each one to be different, and real. If the next Inspector Blue novel is published, there are characters who will return and who will need to be developed further, starting with Angus Blue himself.

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

The plot and the characters are all my own. But the action has to take place in a plausible context. The locations on Islay are known from frequent visits. There are some very evocative places too which I wanted to include because they add to the sense of the past never being absent from the present.

One or two little tweaks were necessary in the service of  the plot. I had to add a cafe to the museum, create a fictitious distillery, and transform the police station from a small bungalow into an Edwardian villa.

Distilleries are an important part of Islay’s identity, as well as its economy. Angus Blue tries a different Islay whisky most nights. You can imagine that this necessitated many hours of careful tasting! I had to select the right whiskies, and describe the tastes as I experienced them. There’s only one fictitious whisky in the book, but Blue doesn’t get the opportunity to try it.

The plot hinges on historical events during World War Two. The airbase is real, but the events that happened there in the book are made up. However, some historical research was needed to make sure that the main events might have happened. The level of secrecy was so high during the war that, who knows, maybe they did happen!

Regarding police procedure, we are fortunate to know a retired detective who had worked in, among other things, the Vice Squad, and their advice on the activities of the police officers was very useful.

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

All the characters I create are I guess drawn from my take on real life. However, only three minor characters are based on specific real people, and they are very positive characters. I should stress that no character in the book is based on anyone resident on Islay.

8. Do you have a particular favourite scene in the book and why?

Not one particular scene, but there are several which I particularly enjoyed writing. The car chase (on an island!!) and Blue’s conversation with his reporter friend about the possibility of aliens being involved. I also surprised myself when I read some of the scenes in which older people remembered the distant past and found how moving they were. But I’ve just been reading a recollection of Wilkie Collins that on checking over a manuscript he reached a part so moving that he wept, and had to rewrite the page as his tears had caused the ink to run.

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

I think it would be a dishonest writer who did not admit that their own personality had been invested somewhere in their books. But we have to look through the eyes of each character, and so I suspect every character has got a tiny bit of us in them. I would of course like to be like Angus Blue. We all have our fantasies!

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

I’ve written the first draft of a second Angus Blue novel. It’s set on Jura. A cabinet minister is shot outside his mansion. But when Blue and his team try to investigate, they find themselves hampered by political policemen, who want to cover up what’s been going on at the house, and replace the truth with a fake narrative. Blue travels to England, Ireland and Germany before the truth behind the events on Jura emerges. That involved more research, including a visit to a small town on the Polish-German border.

The third one is still in the planning stage, but it will involve an Estonian woman, married to a Scot and living in Oban, who disappears on a visit to family in Estonia, and whose body is then found floating in Lake Peipsi. Blue works with local police to uncover some murky deeds harking back to the country’s communist past, and linked to dodgy goings-on in Scotland.

The reason I chose Estonia is that we go there regularly, so know the country quite well. I’veeven attempted to learn the language. I’ve translated a closed room mystery published in 1937 from the Estonian, and am currently working on a second novel by the same author (Elmar Valmre). It’s hard work, but very satisfying.

Finally, continuing the Estonian theme, I’m working on a crime novel set in 1930s Estonia, a small newly-independent country trying to forge its own identity. A senior policeman falls from a viewpoint in central Tallinn and is impaled on a flagpole. Chief Inspector Hallmets investigates, whilst two journalists develop their own take on events, and get sucked into them. Is this a new genre: retro-Baltic Noir? This book is involving us in some interesting historical research. It was weird to actually stay at the same hotel where DCI Hallmets stayed (in the book) some eighty-odd years ago.

11. If you had the opportunity to write a novel with any writer alive or dead, who would it be and why?

That’s a scary prospect, as I suspect the best writers aren’t good at working together, they’ve got too many of their own ideas, and their own writing style. It would have been interesting though to spend a week observing Raymond Chandler or Ross Macdonald at work.

12.  Do you have words of advice you can share with anyone who is interested in writing a novel?

No published author is short of such advice!

a. Don’t stop reading. It’s what you’ve read that makes you the writer you are.

b. Find the genre you’re happy with. And you own voice. Don’t try to emulate your favourite author.

b. Write regularly. It doesn’t have to be the same hours each day, but writing eighty or ninety thousand words is a big job and you have to keep at it. And even if you just get a few hundred words done in a session, you’re making progress.

c. Find a First Reader: someone you can trust to read your work carefully, and give you honest and constructive feedback.

d. Expect disappointments, setbacks and rejections. But don’t give up.

 

Published Fiction

Novel:

The Peat Dead, published April 2017 by ThunderPoint Publishing

ISBN 978-1-910946-54-1 (paperback); 978-1-910946-55-8 (eBook)

On the Scottish Hebridean Island of Islay, five corpses are dug up by a peat-cutter. All of them have been shot in the back of the head, execution style.

Sent across from the mainland to investigate, Inspector Angus Blue and his team slowly piece together the little evidence they have, and discover the men were killed on a wartime base, over 70 years ago.

But there are still secrets worth protecting, and even killing for.

Who can Inspector Blue trust?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Peat-Dead-Allan-Martin-ebook/dp/B07NPX8H12

Short Stories:

Magazine

Issue Date

No.

Title

Pages

iScot

December 2017

35

A Place for Inspiration

104-106

iScot

March 2018

38

Across the Bridge

100-103

iScot

April 2018

39

Darkness (as ‘Elspeth Forrest’)

68-73

iScot

April 2018

39

The View from the Balcony

74-78

iScot

May 2018

40

Seen but for a Moment

92-96

iScot

June 2018

41

The Man who hated Pillars

40-43

iScot

June 2018

41

Incident at Dunagoil

94-97

404 Ink

July 2018

4

Letter from America

34-39

iScot

August 2018

44

Out of the Rain

92-97

iScot

September 2018

45

Trouble with Chickens

96-101

iScot

October 2018

46

Somebody trod on your Grave

101-105

iScot

November 2018

47

The 4.30 from Wenbury Junction

103-106

iScot

December 2018

48

The Book of Names

111-119

iScot

January 2019

49

The Bridge at Siebenhäusern

103-107

iScot

Feb/March 2019

50

The Crypt

105-107

iScot

March/April 2019

51

The Rise and Rise of Carlotta Morazov

85-89

iScot

April/May 2019

52

Death by Chocolate

87-92

 

Website links: http://www.allanmartin.scot

ThunderPoint Publishing: www.thunderpoint.co.uk

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Allan-Martin/e/B001JXKVPQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

 

 

Val Penny Hunter’s Force Blog Tour

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ Hunter’s Revenge and Hunter’s Force are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fourth book in the series, Hunter’s Blood, follows shortly.

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature:

Can DI Hunter Wilson keep Edinburgh safe when he is the hunted?

 

DI Hunter Wilson is woken in the early hours of the morning by a call from his son, Cameron. Who has murdered the young student who shares Cameron’s flat? Why would anybody want to kill a young woman recently arrived in the city?

Now that the united police force, Police Scotland exists, Hunter must call in the new Major Incident Team (MIT) to lead the investigation. Hunter’s ability to investigate anything further is put in severe doubt when someone from his past decides to take revenge on him. He goes missing and his team have no idea where to look for him. Who would want to stop Hunter in his tracks? 

Hunter’s team must work closely with MIT, with or without him, to solve the murder in this taught crime thriller. 

Except from Hunters Force

Chapter 23

Hunter was still hurting in the back of the car. His breath was gone. He tried to stay calm because he remembered that, if he didn’t struggle with it, his breath would come back. Still, he felt as if somebody was holding his head under water.

“Hunter?” John’s voice came from the front of the car.

Hunter could not reply. He had no breath, and Squires kicked him again, this time hard in the side of the head. He rolled onto his back and saw stars. His chest started hitching and his breaths finally started coming in small grateful sips. Squires kicked his head again. Hunter felt blackness seep into the edges of his vision. His eyes rolled back. His stomach clenched and he thought that he might be sick. Hunter was so confused that he actually thought the missing carpet was a good thing. The metal floor would be easier to clean if he vomited.

“How do you like my brand of punishment?” John asked. “I had to leave the force because of you, and you’re lost to the force because of me. Neat, isn’t it?”

Scuttling to the far side of the car, Hunter said, “John, this is madness! We can sort this out and nobody needs to know, I swear!”

Hunter pressed his back against the car wall. The bar with the handcuff was above his left shoulder. Squires kept staring at him. Hunter didn’t move. He was trying to buy time. Catch his breath. Think straight. His head was still sore, making everything hazy, but he found the pain was an efficient way to bring clarity back to his life: the present.

He pulled his knees to his chest. Squires never stopped looking at him. Hunter felt something small and jagged against his foot. Bare feet can be useful. He thought it was probably a shard of glass or a rough pebble, but with mounting dread he saw it was neither. It was a tooth.

His breath caught in his throat. He glanced over at Squires, who continued to stare at him. Then Hunter watched as Squires opened the box he had seen in the corner of the car. Hunter felt sick again when he realised the contents were old rusty tools. He saw a set of pliers, a hacksaw, a hammer, and then he stopped looking. He didn’t like to think about how the tooth came out or who it had belonged to.

“Are we having fun yet, Hunter?” John asked.

“We need to talk this through, John,” Hunter said. “This is crazy.”

“That is a very disappointing attitude,” John said, shaking his head.

Hunter watched Squires. The huge man remained impassive, waiting for his instructions. But now the box was open his attention was distracted from Hunter to the tools.

“Squires, cuff him now. He is getting on my nerves,” John commanded.

Hunters Force Amazon Page

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hunters-Force-Edinburgh-Crime-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07MCH8KSQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=Hunter%27s+Force&qid=1554124040&s=books&sr=1-1&linkCode=sl1&tag=lovboogroblo-21&linkId=2c6093d4cd4aa0f9f2f61ead4beb6296&language=en_GB

Val Penny Website

https://authorvalpenny.com

Val Penny Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Val-Penny/e/B07C4725TK/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Val Penny Twitter

@valeriepenny

There’s been a murder interview with MR Mackenzie

M.R. Mackenzie was born and lives in Glasgow, Scotland. He studied at Glasgow University and has a PhD in Film Studies. In 2016, he contributed a chapter on the Italian giallo film to Cult Cinema: An Arrow Video Companion.

In addition to writing, he works as an independent Blu-ray/DVD producer and has overseen releases of films by a number of acclaimed directors, among them Dario Argento, Joe Dante and Seijun Suzuki.

His debut novel, In the Silence, reached #2 in Amazon UK’s Scottish crime fiction bestsellers chart.

1. How did you get started writing?

I suspect I’d credit my granny with infecting me with the writer’s bug. She was a wonderful storyteller with an incredible memory for events that had taken place eighty years ago or more. A lot of people have fond memories of their grandparents reading books to them as children, but with my granny, she always told her own stories. Unfortunately,when, I told my guidance teacher I wanted to be an author, not long after I started secondary school, she replied that hardly anyone made a living as a writer and that I should aspire to become a vet instead! As a result, I didn’t actually return to writing in any serious way until my mid-twenties… and have been making up for lost time ever since.

 

2. What drew you to write a novel?

At first, there was an element of expedience involved! When I returned to writing in my mid-twenties, I initially pursued a career screenwriting, seeking to combine my passion for telling stories with my love of film. (In fact, my first novel, In the Silence, was originally written as a screenplay.) Ultimately, though, despite making some promising connections and having some positive feedback from submissions to the likes of Channel 4’s 4Screenwriting and the BBC’s Script Room programmes, my big break never materialised, and I initially turned to novel-writing almost by necessity – concluding that, despite the challenges involved in getting a novel written and published, there are comparatively fewer hurdles to getting it out there than there are to getting your spec script turned into a feature film!

It’s probably somewhat fortuitous, then, that I quickly realised I actually enjoyed writing novels more than scripts. Something about that expanded canvass, that ability to really get inside my characters’ heads without that constant feeling of a need to hit an arbitrary page count, and (perhaps most of all) the lack of a need to satisfy an army of executives, producers and script editors, really clicked with me, to the extent that I’m extremely happy with where I’ve ended up. I certainly don’t miss having to format everything in 12pt Courier!

 

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

I read more Enid Blyton than was healthy when I was younger, and I’m inclined to credit her with my fondness for writing about amateur sleuths. I find them so much more interesting than professional detectives, possibly because I can relate to the life of a civilian thrust into unfamiliar circumstances in a way that I can’t an officer of the law.

Denise Mina, with her Garnethill trilogy, shattered my preconceptions about what Glaswegian crime was, eschewing hard-bitten, hard-drinking, middle-aged male policemen in favour of characters who were a whole lot more colourful – and more relatable. Her early novels in particular are chock-full of wonderful observations about the human condition and the weird and wonderful characters that exist in everyday life, and I try to capture some of that in my own writing.

Finally, Tana French showed me that crime can be literary. I’m not nearly as good a writer as she is, but I’m constantly inspired by her command of language and her ability to evoke atmosphere with nothing but text on a page.

 

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

I was actually very fortunate, in that In the Silence was both the first novel I wrote (as an adult – we’ll overlook my no doubt completely embarrassing efforts from when I was younger!) and the first one I ever submitted to any publishers. I spent an inordinate amount of time perfecting it as much as I could, then went through the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbookfrom cover to cover, identifying every publisher who accepted unsolicited submissions in my genre, then fired off a bunch of query letters and sample chapters. Bloodhound Books weren’t the only publisher to express an interest, but they were the first to get back to me and seemed eager to snap me up when they heard I’d submitted to other publishers, so I figured I was onto a good thing with them!

 

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

Zoe! It has to be Zoe! When I initially wrote In the Silence as a screenplay, my protagonist, Anna Scavolini, wasn’t all that well defined and it took a number of drafts before I started to get more of a sense of who she was and what made her tick. But Zoe, her red-headed, larger-than-life best friend, sprang off the page fully formed from the very beginning. She’s such a flamboyant and iconically Glaswegian character, and, when the time came for me to write the sequel, Cruel Summer(releasing on 28 May), I knew I wanted to switch gears and tell that particular story through her eyes.

Of course, that’s not so say that I’m not also very fond of Anna, and in fact I’m currently in the early stages of work on a third instalment, in which she once again assumes the role of protagonist. But I’ll always have a soft spot for Zoe and herlack of an internal filter. There’s something incredibly satisfying about writing a character who always says exactly what she thinks!

 

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

Research is probably my least favourite part of the writing process, as it invariably leads to the realisation that a particular plot development I’m desperate to include would never happen in real life. It’s also why I prefer to write about amateur detectives than the professional kind – because they’re so mired in rules and bureaucracy that I’d have to research and then present accurately in order for my writing to have any pretence of authenticity. But that’s not to say I don’t do any research. Right now, for example, I’m completely immersed in Frank Hagan’s Introduction to Criminology. My character, Anna Scavolini, is a criminology lecturer, and, in the in-development third novel in the series, her job comes to the forefront in a way that it hasn’t in the first two, so I feel it’s incumbent on me to get a decent grounding in the topic before I put pen to paper and completely embarrass myself.

Of course, working in a genre with a higher than average body count, part of the research process also involves figuring out gruesome and inventive ways to kill people and making sure I’m describing the effects as scientifically accurately as possible. I don’t mind THAT kind of research!

 

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

To some extent. I think it’s impossible not to incorporate elements of people you know in real life into your characters, and I think just about everyone has met a Zoe at one point or another! But I try to avoid basing anyone too closely on any single person, not least because a lot of the characters I write about tend not to be particularly nice people, and I don’t want to put anyone’s nose out of joint!

 

8. Do you have a particular favourite scene in the book and why?

There’s a scene, about a third of the way through Cruel Summer, in which Zoe, who has been conducting an unofficial investigation into a high-rising politician accused of assault, is confronted by a tag team consisting of her girlfriend Carol and her best friend Anna, who are trying to dissuade her from her current path. It’s a small scene but I think it captures the individual personalities of the three characters very nicely, and also manages to convey both the inherent absurdity in what, to Zoe, resembles an intervention or laying on of hands,and her burning anger at the sense that these two people are trying to control her life.

 

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

I reckon Zoe is just about the polar opposite from me in every respect. Honest, if I met her in real life, I’d probably be a bit intimidated by her! But I’ve said before that, while Anna is very different from me in a lot of respects, we actually do have a fair amount in common. We’re both PhD graduates, we’re both introverts, we were both born in Glasgow within a couple of years of each other, and we share many of the same socio-political views, though we disagree on certain key issues I won’t go into here for fear of spoiling too much of the story.

 

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

Well, I’ve already mentioned the third instalment in the Anna Scavolini series, which I’m in the process of plotting at the moment. My intention is for it to serve as the conclusion of sorts to a loose trilogy that began with In the Silence and continues with Cruel Summer. It’s very likely that I’ll continue the series beyond that – in fact, I already have rough ideas for Books 4 and 5 – but I envisage them being more standalone in nature, whereas In the Silence, Cruel Summerand the as-yet-untitled Book 3 are much more intertwined – though they can, of course, be read independently as well.

I’m also working on a standalone mystery called The Library Murders, which draws on my day job experience and which I hope will see the light of day as some point this year as well. Stay tuned for more info on that one in the not-too-distant future (hopefully)!

 

11. If you had the opportunity to write a novel with any writer alive or dead, who would it be and why?

That’s a tricky one to answer as I’m not, by nature, a particularly collaborative person. On the contrary, I tend to resist any and all attempts to change My Vision™, and often have to be dragged kicking and screaming back to my manuscript by admirably patient editors. In contrast to writing for film or television, writing a novel is a very solitary pursuit, and I suspect most authors would probably struggle with the idea of writing with another author, particularly one with their own distinctive style – though I know there have been many successful partnerships, either by established writing teams like Sjöwall & Wahlöö or Nicci French, or one-off pairingslike James Patterson’s recent collaboration with Bill Clinton.

 

12.  Do you have words of advice you can share with anyone who is interested in writing a novel?

I’d definitely encourage anyone thinking about writing a novel to put pen to paper and go for it. The rise of eBooks, self-publishing and independent publishing houses means that the process has been democratised like never before, and while I think that invariably presents challenges of its own when it comes to getting noticed in an increasingly crowded field, I genuinely think this is a really exciting time to be a writer, and that the opportunities are just waiting to be grasped.

I’d also say try not to be too discouraged if you don’t achieveovernight success. Very few authors shoot to the top of the charts and receive critical acclaim right out of the gate. It takes time to build a profile – I’m only in the early stages of it myself – and it can feel like an uphill climb with the summit nowhere in sight. My long-term goal is definitely to be able to make a living doing this full-time, but until then, I would much rather my work was out there and being read by however many people it can reach – whether that’s a bajillion or just a handful – than locked away on my hard drive being read by no one.

In the Silence (2018)

Anna hasn’t set foot in Glasgow for ten years. And for very good reasons…

When Anna, a criminology lecturer, does return to Glasgow from Rome, during the coldest winter in memory, tragedy strikes. While out with her best friend from school, Anna has a chance encounter with a former flame, Andrew, and later that night discovers Andrew stabbed and dying on a blanket of snow.

Soon Anna finds herself at the centre of the investigation as the star witness for the police, and embarks on investigating the case herself. But Anna doesn’t realise the danger she is in and soon finds herself in trouble.

When another body shows up, who has links to the first victim, it appears that the motive may lie buried in the past.

As Anna gets closer to the truth, the killer starts closing in.

But can she solve the gruesome mystery before the killer strikes again?

Cruel Summer (2019)

Zoe Callahan is having the summer from hell… and it’s about to get a whole lot worse.

She’s stuck in a dead-end job, her relationship is going nowhere, and the memory of the Kelvingrove Park Murders three years ago continues to cast a long shadow over every aspect of her life.

When a prostitute is brutally assaulted by Dominic Ryland, a rising political star with a suspiciously spotless personal reputation, Zoe leaps at the chance to distract herself with a noble cause, and sets out on a one-woman crusade to bring Ryland to justice.

But in doing so, she quickly finds herself on the wrong side of some very dangerous people – people who have reputations to protect and who would think nothing of silencing Zoe by any means necessary.

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M.R.-Mackenzie/e/B07H378NVB/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Author website: https://www.michaelmackenzie.scot/

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MRMackenzieAuthor/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/landofwhimsy/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/mrmackenzie

About Cruel Summer: https://www.michaelmackenzie.scot/cruelsummer/

Buy Cruel Summer: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07R571VZC

Buy In the Silence: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07H2M912V

Sue Lawerence Down to the Sea Blog Tour

As well as writing three very popular and well-reviewed historical mysteries published in the UK and overseas, Sue Lawrence is one of the UK’s leading cookery writers, with eighteen published cookbooks. Having trained as a journalist in Dundee, she won BBC’s MasterChef in 1991 and became a food writer, regularly contributing to Scotland on Sunday, as well as being the Sunday Times’ food writer for six years. Born in Dundee and raised in Edinburgh, she now lives near Newhaven, Edinburgh – the setting for her latest novel. She has won two Guild of Food Writers Awards and a Glenfiddich Food and Drink Award, and now focuses on researching and writing historical fiction.

When Rona and Craig buy a large Victorian house up from Edinburgh’s Newhaven district – once teeming with fishing boats – they plan to renovate and set it up as a luxury care home. But something is not quite right: disturbing sounds can be heard when the sea mists swirl; their unpredictable neighbour makes it clear that the house was not always a happy family home. And their ‘characterful’ historic pile has a gloomy cellar harbouring relics from days gone by.

Excerpt from Down to the Sea

What d’you mean, they grind up dead babies’ bones?’

Jessie turned to the tall boy who was holding out his tin bowl for porridge. He had just told her he was now old enough to be working with the men, even though he was only fifteen, and their job today was to crush babies’ bones.

The boy leant in towards her. He smelled funny so she wanted to draw back, but he started whispering. Jessie glanced round to where Molly was talking to Matron at the door. They were no doubt discussing whatever delicacy Molly had for Matron and the Governor today. Molly said Matron seemed to take little interest in food, whereas the Governor enjoyed both food and drink. His red nose reminded Jessie of Old Tom who was to be found every day at The Stone Pier Inn opposite the harbour. In summer, he was given a chair outside. He always had a tankard of ale in his hand. Jessie’s mum used to say not to go near him – he would lash out at the children nearby the more he had to drink. The one time she and Dorrie had no choice but to pass close by, the stink of him was enough to make them want to vomit.

‘The dead babies have their bones all hacked up then pounded up into dust and made into porridge.’ The boy nodded at the pot in front of her. ‘That porridge.’

‘That’s not true. It can’t be true.’ Molly waddled back over to the serving table, so Jessie asked, ‘This isn’t made from dead babies’ bones, is it?’

‘Billy, is that you telling tales again? Of course not, Jessie. Now get on with your work. And you, Billy Muir, be on your way.’ Molly thumped down the ladle and said to Jessie, ‘You’ve been here a good few months now. You know that boy’s trouble. Ignore him. Stay clear of all those boys.’

Once the last bowl of porridge had been ladled out, Jessie looked over the dining room where the Governor had finished morning prayers and was sweeping past them with his usual scowl. Squashed side by side on rickety benches at four long tables were the residents, heads bent low over the thin porridge. Two tables were for men and boys, two for women and girls. There was no conversation – no talking was allowed. Everyone had their heads bent low, concentrating on eating. Jessie started clearing the serving table ready to take the pan and ladle back to the kitchen.

Down to the Sea Amazon Book Link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Down-Sea-Sue-Lawrence-ebook/dp/B07HR52K3G/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1553083660&sr=8-1&keywords=down+to+the+sea&linkCode=sl1&tag=lovboogroblo-21&linkId=e6d044f3641c61e16171666a7cb34c8b&language=en_GB

Amazon Author Link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B001H6KVB4?_encoding=UTF8&redirectedFromKindleDbs=true&ref_=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1&rfkd=1&shoppingPortalEnabled=true

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Free Book Giveaway – Lethal Injection

Last week I interviewed the author of Lethal Injection Dave K MacDonald, up for craps is ten free copies of the book for the first ten people to email him on Davidkmacdonaldsty@gmail.com x

It looked like a routine homicide with traceable DNA and a witness that never lies.

However this was a high profile murder and the stakes were equally high.
The death penalty was on the table.
This case would cast serious doubt over the validity of capital punishment.
It would question the infallibility of forensic evidence.
The political fallout would reach the White House.
What nobody realised was that someone had committed the perfect crime not by
planning but by accident.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lethal-Injection-Dave-Macdonald/dp/1527210499/ref=sr_1_15?qid=1556525914&refinements=p_27%3ADave+Macdonald&s=books&sr=1-15&text=Dave+Macdonald