There’s Been a Murder Interview with Marion Todd


A native of Dundee, Marion studied music and worked for many years as a piano teacher and jobbing accompanist. A spell as a hotel lounge pianist provided rich fodder for her writing and she began experimenting with a variety of genres. Early success saw her winning first prize in the Family Circle Magazine Short Story for Children national competition and she followed this up by writing short stories and articles for her local newspaper.

Marion has also worked as a college lecturer, plantswoman and candle-maker and now is a full-time writer, penning the DI Clare Mackay series of crime fiction novels set in St Andrews.

Marion lives now in North East Fife, overlooking the magnificent River Tay. When she’s not writing she can be found tussling with her with her jungle-like garden and walking her daughter’s unruly but lovable dog.

How did you get started writing? –  I suppose, like most writers, I’ve always written. I have a school jotter from when I was 9 that has a 6-chapter mystery story, heavily borrowed from Enid Blyton. But it was many years before I decided that crime was the genre I wanted to pursue. I had non-fiction pieces published in my local paper, short stories in My Weekly magazine and I won a children’s story competition organised by the then Family Circle Magazine.  And then life became busy for a while and I didn’t write so much. But it was always there in the background, always something I knew I wanted to do.

What drew you to write a novel  It was a feeling every time I read a book – I wanted to see if I could do it myself – could I write a book that people would want to read? I suppose for most writers the ultimate aim is to walk into a book shop and see your work on the shelves. I started attending writers talks in bookshops, listening to what they said about the writing process and I wanted to do it even more – to be someone who could call myself an author.

Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?  – My interest in crime goes right back to childhood when I read those Enid Blyton mystery stories. I loved the puzzle – trying work out who the culprit was and how we might find out. It seemed natural to move on to Agatha Christie and as my aunt collected her novels I borrowed them and read as many as I could. But going back a few decades crime tended to be looked down on, almost like a kind of pulp fiction. And then I discovered Ian Rankin – the creator of Inspector Rebus and I began to realise a good novel is a good novel, no matter what the genre. For me, the Queen of plotting is Kate Atkinson. Her Jackson Brodie novels are sublime – the most complex plots woven through the book which come together seamlessly at the conclusion. The more I write the more I like to try and copy this technique, introducing plot threads which appear to be unconnected but which all have a bearing on the investigation. I envy Chris Brookmyre his knowledge of computer hacking. I love that level of detail and, while my knowledge of hacking is very limited, I do try to introduce some interesting detail into my plots.

When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest? –  Oh yes! I’d love to say I had a reply within hours of sending out my three chapters and synopsis but it rarely works like that.  The first novel I wrote hasn’t been published and it never will. It was a learning curve and while I waited for agents and publishers to reply (or not) I began writing my second novel and it’s this story that became See Them Run, my debut novel.  I had lots of rejections and I would say to anyone trying to be published to expect that. Don’t be put off – keep going. In the end my book was picked up by Northbank Talent Management and they sold the book to Canelo who offered me a 3-book contract. I’ve not stopped writing since!

There are many interesting characters in your Novel, do you have a particular favourite one? –  I should probably say my protagonist, DI Clare Mackay. I do love Clare, flaws and all but, if I’m being absolutely truthful, my favourite of the continuing characters is Benjy the dog. He adores Clare and he introduces a bit of fun into the novels. I also enjoy writing flawed characters and in my second novel, In Plain Sight,there’s a character called Susan Clancy who I really liked writing. I won’t give the game away by saying if she was a goody or a baddy but I did enjoy writing her.

What kind of research have you have to undertake for your Novel? –  Lots!  Police Scotland publishes their Standard Operating Procedures for different types of investigations online so that’s really handy. But for See Them Run I had to investigate intricate wood carving, vehicle tyres, the dark web and ballistics. Some information is more difficult to come by and I often have to find ways to work round. But I’m so lucky to have a lovely group of friends and family with different skillsets who are happy to share their knowledge with me.

Are the characters in your books based on any real life? –  Hm. That’s a hard one. Not as far as I’m aware. In my never-to-be-published novel there was a character based on a horrible university tutor I had. I took great delight in killing him; and I let the killer get away with it! But, since then, I’m not aware of basing characters on particular people. I do take personality traits I notice in people and use them in characters though. I’m always observing people and situations for anything I can use in a book.

Do you have a particular favourite scene in the book and why  In See Them Run I do like the opening scene where there’s an exchange of text messages during a wedding ceilidh. In Scotland we do weddings very well – a ceilidh is an evening of Scottish country dancing usually with the Orcadian Strip the Willow near the end when everyone has had a lot to drink, and chaos ensues. I wanted to recreate that at the start of the book. Apart from that I always enjoy scenes where there’s great tension. But probably my favourite is writing the last few chapters of any book. All the hard work is done and it’s so satisfying to tidy up loose ends and decide just how to finish that last page.

Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa? – I suppose, inevitably, there’s a lot of me in Clare – or how I would like to be. She has better hair than me and she’s fitter too. She’s probably the person I’d like to be. Otherwise, I don’t think I’m interesting enough to be in a book – probably why I make up characters and give them interesting lives.

If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you might planned. I’m currently writing book number four in the series where the victims seem to be connected by a dating website they have used. But then another connection emerges and there are people who the police can’t track down! I’m still at what Val McDermid calls “the muddle in the middle” stage but it should work out fine – I hope!  Books five and six are just germs of ideas just now

If you had the opportunity to write a novel with any writer alive or dead, who would it be and why –  Ooh that is an interesting question. Writing is such a solitary activity, it’s hard to imagine collaborating with another writer. The trick would be finding someone who didn’t intimidate me. In my third novel, Lies to Tell, I wrote a scene in the High Court in Edinburgh but my knowledge of court proceedings isn’t great so it might be fun to write with an Advocate or a QC – someone like The Secret Barrister. I’d love to write a court room drama.

Do you have words of advice you can share with anyone who is intrested in writing a novel – First of all, read widely, particularly across your chosen genre. By reading published authors you’ll absorb what makes a compelling story. Some writers plan carefully before they start to write (I’m a planner) but others have only a rough idea and launch straight in. Whatever you do, keep careful notes about your characters. I keep mine in an Excel spreadsheet and record their age, likes, dislikes, hair colour, type of car etc.  I don’t write biographies for them but any time I write something about them I go to my spreadsheet and put it there. It’s so easy to forget details later on. But whether you plan or not, try to get to know your main character – get inside his or her head before you start to write. Your writing will have more conviction that way. When you finish your first draft bear in mind it’s just that – a first draft. It’ll have to be edited so put it away for a week or two then read it afresh. You’ll be amazed at what you spot. Finally, when you think it’s ready to send off, take a few days to read it out loud. You’ll spot even more errors, clunky dialogue and places where you’ve repeated or contradicted yourself. It’s a tiring but valuable exercise. And keep going! Writing is a long-term goal – it doesn’t happen overnight but it does happen. I’m living proof of that. 😊


In a famous Scottish town, someone is bent on murder – but why?

On the night of a wedding celebration, one guest meets a grisly end when he’s killed in a hit-and-run. A card bearing the number ‘5’ has been placed on the victim’s chest. DI Clare Mackay, who recently moved from Glasgow to join the St Andrews force, leads the investigation. The following night another victim is struck down and a number‘4’ card is at the scene. Clare and her team realise they’re against the clock to find a killer stalking the streets of the picturesque Scottish town and bent on carrying out three more murders.

To prevent further deaths, the police have to uncover the link between the victims. But those involved have a lot more at stake than first meets the eye. If Clare wants to solve the case she must face her own past and discover the deepest secrets of the victims – and the killer.


A child’s life is at stake. Which of the residents of St Andrews is hiding something – and why?

When a baby girl is snatched from the crowd of spectators at a fun run, the local police have a major investigation on their hands. DI Clare Mackay and her team are in a race against the clock when they learn that the child has a potentially fatal medical condition.

As Clare investigates she realises this victim wasn’t selected at random. Someone knows who took the baby girl, and why. But will they reveal their secrets before it’s too late?



Keep your friends close and your enemies closer…

Early one morning DI Clare Mackay receives a message from her boss DCI Alastair Gibson telling her to meet him in secret. She does as he asks and is taken to a secure location in the remote Scottish hills. There, she is introduced to ethical hacker Gayle Crichton and told about a critical security breach coming from inside Police Scotland. Clare is sworn to secrecy and must conceal Gayle’s identity from colleagues until the source is found.

Clare already has her hands full keeping a key witness under protection and investigating the murder of a university student. When a friend of the victim is found preparing to jump off the Tay Road Bridge it is clear he is terrified of someone. But who? Clare realises too late that she has trusted the wrong person. As her misplaced faith proves a danger to herself and others, Clare must fight tooth and nail to protect those she cares about and see justice done.

All published by Canelo as eBooks.

See Them Run and In Plain Sight will be published as paperbacks on 23 July and as audio books in August and September.



There’s Been a Murder Interview with Dougie Brimson


Having written 15 books and three award winning feature films in under 15 years, former serviceman Dougie Brimson has emerged as one of Britain’s most diverse writers.

Perhaps best known for penning the multi-award winning feature Green Street, his writing career began in 1996 when after 18 years service with the RAF, he co-authored the best-selling non-fiction work Everywhere We Go. A book that remains essential reading for anyone with an interest in the culture of English football.

A further 14 books have followed including the crime thriller The Crew which has topped the Amazon sports book download charts for EIGHT years following its publication in eBook format and the comedy Wings of a Sparrow which after a successful electronic release, was issued in print to great acclaim.

May 2020 will see the publication of In The Know, the long awaited third book in the Billy Evans gang leader trilogy (The Crew and Top Dog) whilst the summer will see the release of Dougie’s first military based crime thriller.

In 2003 Dougie made the move into screenwriting first with the critically acclaimed short movie It’s a Casual Life and then with his first full length feature, the Hollywood funded Green Street starring Elijah Wood. Following its release in September 2005, the film won numerous awards including:

Narrative Jury Prize – SXSW Film Festival
Narrative Feature Audience – SXSW Film Festival
Best of Festival – Malibu Film Festival
Jury Award (feature) – Malibu Film Festival
Official Selection – Tribeca Film Festival

May 2014 saw the release of his second feature, an adaptation of his own novel Top Dog. Directed by Martin Kemp (The Krays, Eastenders) the film took the
Best Feature award at the British Independent Film Festival as well as the Best Actor (Leo Gregory), Best Supporting Actor (Ricci Harnett) and Best Supporting Actress (Lorraine Stanley) awards.

A third feature, the urban revenge thriller We Still Kill The Old Way starring Ian Ogilvy, James Cosmo, Steven Berkhoff and Danni Dyer, was released to more critical acclaim in December 2014.

Projects currently in development include adaptations of his comedy novels Wings of a Sparrow and Billy’s Log, Mister One Hundred (a biography of Welsh darts legend Leighton Rees), Boots On The Ground (a drama about a British soldier injured in Afghanistan) and Three Greens (a modern day reworking of the classic movie The League of Gentlemen).

Widely acknowledged within the media as one of the leading commentators on the culture of both ‘lads’ and football, TV and radio credits include Sky News, BBC News, BBC, News24, NBC, ABC, CBN, ESPN, RTL, TalkSport and Radio 5. Dougie has also produced and presented two motorsport series for Granada Television as well as working as a presenter for Bravo TV. In 2007, he also produced a motorsport series for Channel 5 covering the sport of BrisCA Formula One Stock Car racing.

A highly qualified engineer, Dougie is an avid motorcyclist and has been happily married to Tina since 1983. He is also a member of both The British Legion and The Falklands Veterans Association (SAMA82).



  1. How did you get started writing?


I fell into writing purely by accident. In 1994, I’d just completed 18 years service in the Royal Air Force and had no real idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my working life. As a result, I ended up working as a background extra on TV and film with my younger brother.


Whilst doing that, we had an idea for a non-fiction book about football hooliganism which was a big subject at the time due to the fast approaching tournament, EURO 96. The idea was to write something which explored the reality of being around that world, as we’d been for years, as opposed to the media portrayal of it that was already starting to fill newspapers.

In all honesty, we saw it primarily as a way of making some money because up to that point, neither of us had ever written anything and we certainly didn’t know anything about how to put a book together let alone getting it published.

However, once we’d decided how we were going to do it, it actually put if together, it actually started to come together really quickly.
That book was called Everywhere We Go and it was published in March 1996 which was the perfect time. As a result, it was a huge success and effectively kick started a career that’s lasted over 25 years now.



  1. What drew you to write a novel


In 1999, I received a call from Lynda La Plante of all people. She wanted me to consult on an idea she’d had for one of her TV series involving football hooligans.

So I went in to see her and told her that her idea was rubbish, which it was. In response, she challenged me to come up with a better idea and so I did. However, whilst she loved it, ITV wouldn’t accept it due to one of the characters being a racist (which was essential to the plot) and so she told m that I should write it as a novel.

Even though I’d never considered writing any fiction, I said I would, but only if she’d give me a quote for the cover. She agreed and that book became The Crew. I think it’s sold something like 350,000 copies now.



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

It sounds arrogant, but it’s absolutely true when I say none. I never wanted to be a writer and I certainly never trained to be a writer so when I started, the only way I knew how to write was the way that came naturally.

If I’ve been influenced by anything, it’s the work I’ve done as a screenwriter. I’ve had three scripts produced now and have learnt huge amounts whilst writing each one. The main thing being that you have to leave the actor with something to do. Substitute actor with reader and you have much the same thing.


Hence, my books aren’t full of flowery descriptive prose about people or places, I simply give the reader the basics and let them colour in the pictures in their heads whilst I concentrate on driving the plot along as quickly and effectively as I can.

That style of writing has obviously developed over the years but I can honestly say that it’s wholly my style. Thankfully, my readers seem to like it and if they’re happy and continue to buy my books, I’m obviously happy.


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


When we were putting together our first book, Everywhere We Go, we didn’t even know any writers let alone know how publishing worked. However, we did have one thing, we had a finite amount of time.

We started thinking about the book early on in 1995 but we knew that if it was going to get anywhere, it had to be out by March 1996. So once we had some material together, I walked into WH Smiths, picked up a football book and wrote to the publisher to ask them if they’d be interested. That publisher was Headline and they bit our hands off.
They were the only publisher we approached and it was only years later that we began to realise that it didn’t happen like that for everyone.



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


In the Know is the final instalment in a trilogy so having written three books and a movie with the same central character, it would be impossible to give you any other name but Billy Evans. Despite him being a villain, I have a huge amount of affection for him.


Oddly, when I adapted the second book in the trilogy, Top Dog, for the screen, one of the biggest challenges I faced came with the casting of the actor Leo Gregory as Billy. He was nothing like the character I’d created in my head and who I’d written two books for.

It was a huge mental adjustment to make and took quite a while but I finally got it to work. So much so in fact that when I wrote In The Know, it was with Leo firmly in mind.



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


In truth, very little. All of my books are written about worlds I’m fairly familiar with. Indeed, I’m a firm believer in the old adage ‘write what you know’ purely because it means you can draw on personal experience rather than be bogged down in research.

That said, the worlds I write about tend to be inhabited by people who are fairly anal when it comes to detail and that’s certainly reflected in my readership. They have no problem letting me know if I get something wrong which is of course, as it should be. It makes me try even harder to avoid giving them any ammunition!


Ironically, my next book is about another world I’m more than familiar with, the military. However, I’ve had to undertake a huge amount of research for reasons associated with the plot that will become apparent when it’s published.




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


Oh god yes! All of them. However, I do that for a very specific reason.

When I’m developing a project the central characters will come to the fore pretty quickly so almost instantly I’ll create an identity for each of them. That means that I have to give them a face, a name and a voice.

The face will come pretty quickly to me because I’ll know what kind of person I want them to look like and then I’ll find a name to suit. They come from all kinds of sources ranging from trawling Facebook through to people who have won the right to be named as a character in an auction prize. I do that quite often.

However, when it comes to the voice, which is the thing I hear in my head as I’m writing, it becomes more difficult. So, once I’ve got my face, my name and have written a back story of sorts, I’ll pick a suitable voice either from someone I know or who I know of. That can be anyone from my mate Neil to a famous actor.

The reason I do that is because if I’m writing about my character and get stuck on something, I can ring them up or watch them on YouTube and hearing their voice will almost instantly overcome any issue I might be having.

It’s a simple trick, but it works for me.



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


There are actually two scenes in In The Know that I’m really pleased with. The first is a scene where Billy’s partner, Claire, is watching him interact with some equally dangerous characters out of the window and it’s about how she finally comes to terms with his criminal lifestyle and her role in it.


The second is the ending although for obvious reasons I’m not going to tell you anything about what happens. As anyone who’s read any of my thrillers will know, I love a good twist and this one’s a cracker.

I should say at this point that I always write my endings first. Indeed, most of my books will come about purely because of an idea I’ve had for an ending. It’s another creative trick I employ that seems to work for me.


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


A few years ago I wrote a comedy called Billy’s Log which some people have reviewed as the definitive male Bridget Jones.

The Billy in this book is very different from Billy Evans in the thrillers. He’s essentially a loner who is about to hit 30 and is forced to redefine his entire outlook on life. Particularly his relationship with the opposite sex.

It’s very funny and is actually my personal favourite of all my 16 books because the truth is, it’s as close to an autobiography as I’m ever going to write!

As for Billy Evans in In The Know, there are definitely elements of me in him. I’m not going to say which ones though.




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


As I previously mentioned, I’m currently writing a thriller with the military as a central theme. This is the first time I’ve used my experience of life in the armed forces as a reference and it’s proving to be really exciting. The novel is actually an adaptation of a script I wrote a few years ago that we’re currently financing with a view to shooting next year.

After that, I’m being pushed to write another Billy Evans book, possibly a prequel set in the 80’s. I also have some ideas for more military stuff but I’m very much driven by my readers. I like giving them what they want as opposed to what I think they might like.




  1. If you had the opportunity to write a novel with any writer alive or dead, who would it be and why?It’s hard enough co-writing scripts, I can’t even begin to imagine what co-writing a novel would be like. I suspect a prison sentence would feature at some point.
  2. Then again, if the aforementioned Ms La Plante came to me with an idea to work with her, I’d bite her hands off. Well, you would wouldn’t you.




  1. Do you have words of advice you can share with anyone who is interested in writing a novel.Yes. Don’t write in my genre. It’s full. Of me.


Seriously though, the first thing I’d say to anyone is that you should forget trying to find either an agent or a publisher until you have something fully formed and properly edited to show them.


They’re going to ask to see something anyway so make sure that you have something ready or you’re going to blow what may be your only chance.

In The Know (Caffeine Nights) 2020


In The Know…Revenge is a dish best served quickly

From the writer of the cult hooligan film, Green Street and the best-selling thrillers The Crew and Top Dog comes the third and most explosive book yet in the most successful hooligan thriller series ever written.

It’s been over a decade since gang leader Billy Evans stepped away from his life on the wrong side of the law to mourn the murder of his beloved wife.

Yet when he is hit by a second tragedy, his first thoughts are not of more loss, but of revenge. Violent, bloody revenge.

However, even before he can make his first move, Billy is presented with an alternative method of extracting vengeance. One so intriguing that he quickly finds his past passion for organised violence reinvigorated.

And as Britain heads toward a future defined by Brexit and the political right wing, he realises that he’s stumbled upon the opportunity he’s been waiting for. The chance to wield genuine power within the very establishment he’s fought his entire life.

The only question is, will he be allowed to survive long enough to grab it.

Top Dog (Headline) 2001


Hooligan gang leader Billy Evans is above the law. He knows it, and they know it. And when you regard the law as an irrelevance, all kinds of opportunities can open up for you. Especially when you begin to exert your increasingly powerful influence over the back street pubs and clubs of East London.

So when Billy gets the chance to make some serious money very quickly by helping a football club with an insurance scam, he grabs it with both hands.

But he’s about to discover that this time, he’s finally pushed his luck too far. And this time it isn’t the law he’ll have to contend with. It’s something far more dangerous.

The Crew (Headline) 1999


APPEARANCES CAN BE DECEPTIVE – as Paul Jarvis of the National Football Intelligence Unit is only too well aware. He knows that Billy Evans is no ordinary East End lad made good. He’s also a thug, a villain and a cop killer. Jarvis just hasn’t been able to prove it… Yet.

So when Jarvis discovers that Evans is putting together a hooligan ‘Super Crew’ to follow England to Italy, he feels sure he can finally put Evans behind bars – if only someone can infiltrate the Crew and get him the proof he needs.

But nothing is ever that simple. The Crew believe Evans is just out for a full-on riot. Jarvis thinks he’s trafficking drugs. But Billy Evans is always one step ahead. He has another plan. And it will be catastrophic for everyone concerned.


Fiction – Comedy

Wings of a Sparrow (Caffeine Nights Publishing) 2012

Billy’s Log (Headline) 2000


March of the Hooligans (Virgin USA) 2007

Rebellion (John Blake) 2006

Kicking Off (Headline) 2006

Eurotrashed (Headline) 2003

Barmy Army (Headline) 2000

Derby Days (Headline) 1998

Capital Punishment (Headline) 1997

England, My England (Headline) 1996

Everywhere We Go (Headline) 1996


Non-fiction – comedy

The Art of Fart (EBook Partnership) 2011

The Geezers’ Guide to Football (Mainstream) 1998


Bibliography – Screenwriting

We Still Kill The Old Way Feature – lead writer (dir: Sacha Bennett) 2014

Top Dog Feature – sole writer (dir: Martin Kemp) 2014

Green Street Feature – lead writer (dir: Lexi Alexander) 2005

It’s a Casual Life Short – sole writer (dir: Jon S Baird) 2003


Web: http://



David Hutchison The Book of Skulls Blog Tour

David Hutchison was brought up in the Scottish Highlands. He worked for many years as a fisherman, crofter, DJ and self-taught artist.

His children’s book Storm Hags was shortlisted for the Kelpie Prize. He’s had several short stories published in anthologies (New Writing Scotland, Read By Dawn) and on BBC radio. He is also a filmmaker. He wrote and directed the sci-fi feature Graders, and comedy/meta-horror Baobhan Sith. 

He has just completed The Book of Skulls, a BAME and LBQT story of hidden identity and murder, inspired by Edinburgh’s murky medical history.

Last year he put on the exhibition Medical Inspirations, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Edinburgh Seven; the first group of women to matriculate at a British university.

He is currently working on Kore, a supernatural novel where a bank clerk is contacted through her new hearing aid by her dead girlfriend. He also teaches a class in scriptwriting and is hoping to do some online class in the autumn.

A Victorian tale of gender-bending, hidden identity, obsession and gruesome murder, set in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

1875. Liz Moliette; a poor orphan of unknown heritage, and Amulya Patel; from a wealthy Indian family, are the only female students at the Edinburgh Medical School, where a hostile attitude towards women is driven by Professor Atticus. However, Liz and Amulya have allies in fellow student Campbell Preeble, The Reekie reporter Hector Findlay and the charming Dr Paul Love.

In dire need of funds, Liz becomes assistant to gruff lecturer and police surgeon Dr Florian Blyth.  When a series of grisly murders take place the doctor and Liz help Inspector Macleod in his investigation, which leads to the Edinburgh Asylum, the  Burry Man festival and the quack science of phrenology.  

The search for the killer comes dangerously close to Liz as she uncovers her own family secrets.

Exclusive Excerpt from The Book of Skulls

Port of Leith, Edinburgh, 1875.

The seaman’s mission was a rather dilapidated building, situated next to Leith Docks. In the temporary examination room at the back, stood stocky French sailor Henri Blanc, trousers at his

knees. He rubbed a shiny bump on his shaved head: a nervous habit.

The youthful Dr Paul Love completed his examination and shrugged. “You can pull your breeks up!” The doctor washed his hands in a porcelain basin.


The doctor dried his hands on a towel and gave Henri his best reassuring smile. “All clear.”

Eh bien. I thought the scab… I was with a putain in London,” said Henri.

The doctor shook his head and said, “Sometimes a scab is just a scab.”

“Dieu merci!”

“Hold on!” The doctor opened up his medical bag and took out a small bottle of greenish liquid. “Here.”

Henri read the label. “Rose’s lime juice. Do I rub it in?”

The doctor laughed. “God no! Just drink it. Vitamin C. It will help your skin.”

Henri smiled and nodded. He took out his small leather fisherman’s purse.

The doctor shook his head. “No it’s fine. The company sends me free samples.”

Henri grinned. “Merci beaucoup.”

A few minutes later Henri left the mission, and with a happy gait crossed over the Victoria Bridge. He stopped to watch a swan as it rippled through the reflection of the setting sun, bathing Leith Docks in a bloody glow. La vie est belle! He turned down the quayside and headed for The Sandport Bar.

The bar was chockablock with early evening customers, chattering and laughing over the musical scratchings of a pair of old bodachs, fiddling in a corner. Henri shoved his way up to the bar counter and ordered a drink.

To buy The Book of Skulls


Twitter @davidwhutchison

Instagram @davidwhutchison

Amazon Author Page

Dugald Bruce Lockhart The Lizard Blog Tour


Dugald Bruce Lockhart is an Anglo-Scottish stage and screen actor who now also works as a director. He began as a stage actor, working with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and others. Since 1998, he has acted mostly with Propeller, an all-male theatre company of which he is now an associate director. He is also an associate of the Teatre Akadèmia Theatre Company in Barcelona and has directed Romeo and Juliet and As You Like It in Catalan, using new translations by Miqel Desclot. He teaches and directs at drama schools in London, including the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, LAMDA, and the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts.

He played David Cameron in The Three Lions, a comedy written by William Gaminara, a role for which he was nominated as best actor by The Stage at the Edinburgh Festival of 2013. Lockhart returned to the role when the play was later staged at the St James Theatre, London, in 2015, and stayed with the production when it moved on to the Liverpool Playhouse.

He is the author of a handbook for actors called Heavy Pencil, which is available on Amazon. The Lizard is his debut fiction novel.

An Exclusive Look Written By Dugald Bruce Lockhart into the Inspiration behind The Lizard 

The Lizard is inspired by a trip I took to Greece in 1988 while studying at St Andrews University in Scotland. I had no idea I’d end up using it as the basis for a novel – I went in search of a tan and enlightenment; to ditch academia for the hunter-gatherer existence. I wasn’t to know I’d end up being chased off the island by the police; that I’d suffer two years of flashbacks having OD’d on hydrochloric-acid-based diet pills (Ponderols: you were supposed to take one a week, but I popped five in one go, under friendly instruction from the ‘Beatles’ – four teenage bricklayers from Liverpool with more tattoos than hair); or that I’d spend a moonlit night being pursued through the hinterlands of Paros’s capital town, Parikia, by a gang of irate, knife-wielding Turks. Unlikely antics, for a Moral Philosophy and German student whose only experience of drug taking had been limited to soluble aspirin. Truth was, in broadening my horizons, I lost myself, and in three months, I turned feral. The end came when watching Paul – the ringleader of the ‘Beatles’ – jump thirty feet from a departing ferry into the harbour waters in a bid to outrun the authorities. Paul had been caught stealing from his campsite neighbours and the police had caught up. Unfortunately, Paul had also been harbouring my passport as a favour. When the ‘Beatles’ were arrested, I knew I was next. So, I sold my spear gun for the price of a ferry ticket, had a friend extract my passport, and took the first available boat to Athens. I realised on the flight home there might be a story in there somewhere. It just took me thirty years to write it!


Terrific, atmospheric thriller. Taut, compelling, masterfully constructed. outstanding

William Boyd. I went to Greece to embrace the binary code, to get off the sidelines and become a player. To live in the moment. Or, as Ellie put it, to become my own man. Was I accountable for the horror, that fateful summer? Looking back, it’s easy enough to pinpoint the sliding-door moments where I went wrong. But then, what use is hindsight? As Kierkegaard wrote: ‘Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards’. Cold comfort when you’ve taken another man’s life.

For An Exclusive Reading of The Lizard by Dugald Bruce Lockhart go to

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Emma Salisbury Sticks and Stones Promotion Out 10th April

A consultant is accused of killing his patients…

A local MP has murdered a call girl…

A teacher ploughs a minibus into a group of pupils…

It’s as though Salford is under a permanent full moon, not helped by the fact DS Kevin Coupland is fighting to hold onto his career.

Following an allegation that he was behind a prisoner’s murder in HMP Manchester, Coupland enlists the help of the one man everyone is certain has set him up – Kieran Tunney, a notorious crime boss already under investigation by the murder squad.

When Coupland reviews several cases his team have handled in his absence he suspects they are linked, in a way he cannot believe is possible. If his suspicions are correct then he must act fast to stop the unthinkable from happening – even if that means putting himself in the firing line.

Sticks and Stones is the sixth book in the popular DS Coupland series.

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Andrew James Greig Whirligig Blog Tour






Andrew James Greig was Born in London and moved to the historic Monmouth as a young teenager but escaped as soon as he could to the bright lights of Bristol where  he combined the careers of sober aerospace engineering and libertine sound engineering for as long as he could juggle these disparate and separate worlds.
Now living happily in central Scotland, where he enjoys writing books, playing music and exploring the great outdoors with his best friend who is also happily his wife.


Just outside a sleepy Highland town, a gamekeeper is found hanging lifeless from a tree. The local police investigate an apparent suicide, only to find he’s been snared as efficiently as the rabbit suspended beside him. As the body count rises, the desperate hunt is on to find the murderer before any more people die. But the town doesn’t give up its secrets easily, and who makes the intricate clockwork mechanisms carved from bone and wood found at each crime?

Whirligig is a tartan noir like no other; an exposé of the corruption pervading a small Highland community and the damage this inflicts on society’s most vulnerable. What happens when those placed in positions of trust look the other way; when those charged with our protection are inadequate to the challenge; when the only justice is that served by those who have been sinned against?

This debut crime novel introduces DI James Corstophine – a man still grieving for a wife lost to cancer; his small close-knit team of passed-over police and their quiet Highland town. He’s up against a killer who plays him as easily as a child. For a man whose been treading water since the death of his wife, he’s facing a metaphorical flood of biblical proportions as he struggles to understand why these murders are happening, and who is behind each carefully planned execution. All the time, the clock is ticking.Excerpt from Whirligig

FRIDAY 06.21
The front door slammed with such violence that the whole house shook, quivering timbers seeking comfort in the cold embrace of stone. Margo tensed in her bed, feeling the floor shake in sympathy. Nervously, she lay waiting for the angry wasp sound of his quad as it disappeared down the lonely track that led away from the isolated cottage. Only when the engine noise had faded did she allow herself to finally relax. He’d be gone all day, setting traps for the rabbits, laying poison for the birds of prey, shooting the mountain hares. Death. Death and violence were all she ever associated him with now.Her hand tentatively reached out from under the covers and felt her face, flinching as her fingers encountered the bruise around her eye. It wasn’t too bad. She had become a connoisseur of bruises, burns, broken bones. All of them her own. She could tell without looking that her eye would be swollen, the redness around the socket already turning to purple and black as ruptured blood vessels had spilt their red cargo overnight. She mentally ran through the foundation she’d apply, the beauty products she’d accumulated that artfully concealed the worst of the damage. Now that he was gone the nervousness left her like a shed skin, a protective coat that was no longer needed. A butterfly flickered in her womb and the nervousness returned – but this time it was a visceral feeling, this time the nervousness was for a life other than her own.Margo had hoped, in the way that so many women do, that the announcement she was bringing his baby into the world would change him. Turn him from a sadistic bully into the man she’d always wanted him to be: tender, loyal, loving. Loving. The word hung in her mind like some impossible concept, a young girl’s dream of how her life should have been before it had turned into a living nightmare. Instead, the announcement had only made him worse and whatever demons drove him had been merciless in their response, leaving her concussed and broken on the cold stone kitchen floor. Her first thought had been for the baby, barely more than two months old. The second missed period had confirmed the truth of it to her and the doctor had made it official. She remembered the doctor’s troubled eyes, they had shown concern, worry. “Is there anything you’d like to ask me, anything worrying you?”Margo had attempted gaiety when she’d responded in the negative, and knew she’d failed when the doctor had lowered her voice to a conspiratorial tone. “You know we’re here to help. With anything, anything at all.” She’d almost run from the surgery, afraid that everyone could see through the artfully applied make-up and see the battered woman underneath.It was their pity she desperately wanted to avoid. Their pity and judgement delivered with all too knowing eyes. The gamekeeper’s cottage at least offered her the privacy to keep herself to herself, hide herself away, hide secrets that should never be allowed to escape. She swung her legs out over the side of the bed, a sharp intake of breath as a healing rib complained, then to the bathroom to wash and repair what damage she could. Her face stared back at her, expressionless, beaten in spirit as well as in flesh. Margo waited in vain for the tears to flow. They never did these days. She told herself that she was out of tears, but she knew the truth of it. Tears were for those who still had hope, who still gave a fuck, if only about themselves. She glanced down at her belly, too early for any tell-tale bulge to show but she felt different, her breasts felt different. She felt as if she was about to come into flower for the first time in her life and that frightened her more than he did

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Claire MacLeary Payback Blog Tour

Claire MacLeary lived for many years in Aberdeen and St Andrews, but describes herself as “a feisty Glaswegian with a full life to draw on”. Following a career in business, she gained an MLitt with Distinction from the University of Dundee and her short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies. She has appeared at Granite Noir, Noir at the Bar and other literary events. Claire’s debut novel, Cross Purpose, was longlisted for the prestigious McIlvanney Prize, Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award 2017, and Burnout was longlisted for the Hearst Big Book Award 2018. Runaway is her third novel and continues the Harcus & Laird series.
The idea for my Harcus and Laird series germinated at Dundee Uni, where I embarked on a MLitt in Creative Writing after my two children left home. Anxious to do well, I presented, as part of my first writing folio, the opening scene of a crime novel.  My professor, acclaimed New Zealand author #Kirsty Gunn, was not taken by my flight into genre fiction. But it got me thinking. And reading. The more crime I read, the more it seemed the main characters fell into two main categories: seasoned detectives or highly qualified forensic scientists.
What if, I deliberated, somebody were to write a crime novel in which the protagonist/s had no qualifications in anything? Wouldn’t that be different? And so Maggie and Wilma were born. Suburban housewives and mothers, Maggie straight-as-a-die, Wilma a bit dodgy, the pair a testament to the strength of female friendship. Together they face up to major social issues – drug and alcohol dependency, money-laundering, people trafficking – leavening the grittier aspects with a generous dose of North-east humour.


When police are called to a murder scene at the home of Aberdeen socialite Annabel Imray, they find themselves under pressure to get a conviction, and fast. Meanwhile, local PIs Wilma Harcus and Maggie Laird are at rock bottom, desperate for income. As Maggie contemplates replacing Wilma with an unpaid intern, an eccentric widow appoints them to search for her lost cat – and Wilma goes off-piste to negotiate a loan, with terrifying terms.  As the fear caused by a series of sinister break-ins escalates, Maggie blames the aggressive language in public discourse for inciting violent crime. But before long, she finds she is in the danger zone herself.

Will Wilma manage to save her?

Excerpt From Chapter Babies and Beasties

‘Still line-dancing?’ she addressed the petite mortuary assistant, who was bent to the task of weighing one of the internal organs, before listing the information on a wall-mounted whiteboard.

She’d already have opened the body, removed the chest bones and pulled out the organs from tongue to bladder.

‘Too right.’ A head came up, wisps of blonde hair escaping from under a protective cap. ‘Fair gets rid of the cobwebs.’
Susan recalled her first visit to the police mortuary, when junior anatomical pathology technician Tracey had given her the tour: the cutting room, with its stark grey walls, the two stainless-steel tables in the centre, the extractor fans labouring overhead. The pervasive odour of formaldehyde and bleach had choked Susan of breath. And that’s before she caught sight of the instruments: drills and saws and scalpels and pliers. She’d been chilled – liter- ally – in the temperature-controlled space. Shivering in her white Tyvek bunny suit. And not a little afraid.
‘What’s the worst thing you’ve had to deal with?’ she’d asked the young blonde assistant, then.
‘Babies and beasties,’ Tracey had replied without a moment’s hesitation.


Author, Saraband
‘Payback’ out 23 April
Pre-order at bookshops now or
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