Bloody Scotland Blog Tour 2019 – Broken Ground by Val McDermid

Val McDermid is a number one bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold over sixteen million copies. She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009, was the recipient of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger in 2010 and received the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award in 2011. In 2016, Val received the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and in 2017 received the DIVA Literary Prize for Crime, and was elected a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Val has served as a judge for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Man Booker Prize, and was Chair of the Wellcome Book Prize in 2017. She is the recipient of six honorary doctorates and is an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford. She writes full-time and divides her time between Edinburgh and East Neuk of Fife.

Reviews for Broken Ground

There is nothing more gratifying than watching a master craftswoman at work, and she is on fine form here’ – The Observer 

‘Another stellar read from McDermid, and further evidence that her “Queen of Crime” status will not be challenged’ – The Scotsman 

‘The masterly handling of the pace and plot, blended with brilliant characterisation, show why best-selling writer Val McDermid retains her title of new Queen of Crime’ – People 

‘McDermid’s deceptively languid style, sly black humour and metronomic sense of pacing delivers a compulsively readable tale’ – The Irish Times 

‘Her trademark combination of macabre suspense and a light touch keep you reading gratefully’ – The Sunday Express

Somebody has been here before us. And he’s still here . . .’

When a body is discovered in the remote depths of the Highlands, DCI Karen Pirie finds herself in the right place at the right time. Unearthed with someone’s long-buried inheritance, the victim seems to belong to the distant past – until new evidence suggests otherwise, and Karen is called in to unravel a case where nothing is as it seems.

It’s not long before an overheard conversation draws Karen into the heart of a different case, however – a shocking crime she thought she’d already prevented. As she inches closer to the twisted truths at the centre of these murders, it becomes clear that she’s dealing with a version of justice terrifyingly different to her own . . .

Excerpt from Broken Ground (Little Brown) By Val McDermid

Dr River Wilde had clicked on her last PowerPoint

slide when she felt her phone vibrate against her hip.

Whoever it was would have to wait until she’d finished

running through the week’s reading list for her secondyear

forensic anthropology students. The undergraduates

could find the details of the required texts at the end of

her online lecture notes, but River always liked to end

the lecture with a quick run- through. That way nobody

could claim they didn’t know what they were supposed

to have covered before their next session in the dissection



She zipped through the list at top speed then gathered

her scant notes and turned her back on the exiting

students to check her phone. As she suspected, the

missed call was from a withheld number. But there was

a voicemail. River would have put money on it being

from a police officer. Colleagues would know she was

lecturing; friends rang in the evenings when she was less

likely to be up to her elbows in cadavers; and because her

partner was a senior cop, they generally texted first to

arrange their calls.


Aware that a handful of students were still hanging

around near the podium, River tucked her phone back

into the pocket of her jeans and faced them. ‘Was there

something?’ she asked. Polite, but brisk enough to discourage

the trivial questions that one or two students

seemed impelled to put to her at the end of every lecture.


She fielded a couple of inquiries about dates by which

assessments were due, refraining from pointing out that

they were easily discoverable on the course website,

then disengaged, taking the stairs at a jog. When the

police called her, it was always a matter of life and death.

Literally, not metaphorically. For a forensic anthropologist

like River, the death was invariably in the past, the

life something to be teased from what the corruption of

the expedient grave had left behind. So while she didn’t

like to keep the police waiting, she’d never felt the need

for the performance of urgency and self- aggrandisement

that she’d witnessed in some of her colleagues. You didn’t

serve the dead by being self- serving.


The nearest private space was the mortuary. River used

her keycard to enter the secure corridor then turned into

the cool space where the cadavers were prepared for dissection.

Visitors were always surprised when they walked

through the doors. They expected to see bodies on slabs

being pumped with embalming fluids. But here there

was nothing visible to show that this was a place where

bodies were stored. The main part of the room was occupied

by large stainless steel tanks. Each was about the

size of an American- style fridge freezer lying on its back,

and the tanks were stacked two deep. Each had a serial

number slotted into a holder. It could have been some

arcane industrial food processing plant – a hydroponic

system, or a vessel for growing mycoprotein. The reality

was at once more extraordinary and more mundane.

Each tank held a preservative solution and a body. Over

a period of months, the bodies would effectively be cured

by the salts in the solution. By the end, they would still

be soft and flexible so that student anthropologists, dentists

and surgeons could learn their trade on something

that closely approximated a live body. River’s technicians

had even worked out how to simulate blood flow in the

cadavers. In her dissecting room, when a trainee surgeon

nicked a blood vessel, there was no hiding place.

That afternoon, there was nothing visible to even hint

at what went on there. River leaned against the nearest

tank and pulled out her phone, summoning her voicemail.

A man’s voice spoke clearly and decisively. ‘Dr

Wilde? This is Inspector Walter Wilson from N Division,

based at Ullapool. We’ve got a matter we need to consult

you on. I’d appreciate it if you could call me back as soon

as you get this. Thank you.’ He finished with a mobile

phone number. River scrambled in her lecture folder for

a pen and played the message again so she could catch

the number.


‘A matter’ meant human remains. Not a warm body,

never that. Those were for the pathologists. When they

called for River, it was because they needed someone

who could find answers in teeth and bones, hair and

nails. Unpicking a life – and often a death – from what

was left was her stock in trade. The university website

cut straight to the heart of it: Forensic Anthropology

is best described as the analysis of human remains for the

medicolegal purposes of establishing identity, investigating

suspicious deaths and identifying victims of mass disasters. It

is a specialised area of forensic science that requires detailed

anatomical and osteological training. Being able to assign

a name to the deceased is critical to the successful outcome

of all legal investigations. The squeamish thought there

was something creepy about her work. Not River.


Bringing the dead home. That was how she thought

of her trade.

River tapped in Inspector Walter Wilson’s number. He

answered on the second ring. ‘This is Dr River Wilde,’ she

said. All these years in the job and still, every time she

spoke to a cop for the first time, she inwardly cursed her

hippie parents. ‘You left a message for me.’

‘Thanks for getting back to me, Doc.’ His voice was

deep and gravelly, the Aberdeen accent still clear in

spite of having had the corners knocked off by time and

seniority. ‘We’ve got a body we need your input on.

It turned up in a peat bog in Wester Ross earlier this

afternoon. Based on the information we’ve got from the

witnesses, we think it likely dates back to 1944.’

‘And you want me to confirm that?’

‘Ideally, aye. We could use your help in trying for an

ID as well.’

‘When would you like me on site?’

‘Well, we’ve got it taped and tented, so it’s reasonably

protected. If you could get here for tomorrow morning,

that would be good.’

‘Where exactly are you?’

‘A wee place called Clashstronach. It’s about an hour

north of Ullapool, just this side of the boundary with


River thought for a moment. It was a long drive, but

she could set off within a couple of hours. She was due

to take a class in the dissection room in the morning but

one of her post- docs could handle it. Cecile had specialised

in the spinal work they’d be doing; she’d enjoy the

opportunity to strut her stuff. ‘Can you book me a hotel

room for tonight?’

‘No bother,’ Wilson said. ‘I’ll get you something sorted

in Ullapool, that’s handy for our office and there’s a

couple of decent places to stay. I’ll send you a text, will I?’

Two hours later, she was on the road. Four hours should

do it, she reckoned. Dundee to Perth, then there would be

clots of traffic as she left the city and struck out up the A9,

with its average speed cameras and long stretches where

overtaking was damn near impossible. But this wasn’t

summer, and there would be few tourists and no caravans

so once she’d passed Pitlochry it would be an easy run to

Inverness, then a final hour or so with added twists and

turns as the road snaked across the Highlands to the west

coast. She plugged her phone into the car’s sound system

and let rip with her driving music, an eclectic mix that

spanned the past thirty years of female rockers. It was one

of the few things that she and her partner disagreed about.

Detective Chief Inspector Ewan Rigston liked torch singers

who delivered big ballads – Adele, Emeli Sandé, Ren

Harvieu. Once she’d even caught him listening to Shirley

Bassey. River reckoned that was all the blackmail capital

she’d ever need with his CID team.

Amy Winehouse finished belting out her version of

‘Valerie’ somewhere north of Dalwhinnie and River

decided she needed some conversation. She cut the music

and rang the number of her best friend. She thought it

was going to shunt straight to voicemail, but at the last

second, Karen Pirie’s voice filled the car. ‘Hey, River,

how’s tricks?’ It sounded like they were doing the same

thing – driving on a fast road at speed.

‘I’m good. I’m heading up the A9.’

Karen laughed. ‘You’re kidding?’

‘I wish I was. This is—’

Karen interrupted with a bad Chris Rea impersonation:

‘—the road to hell.’ Both women laughed. ‘Funny

thing is, so am I.’

‘Really? Where are you headed?’

‘Elgin. I need to interview a woman who owned a red

Rover 214 in 1986.’

River snorted. ‘Has that been reclassified as a crime?’

‘Only when Jeremy Clarkson rules the world. No,

we’ve got a lead on a car that might be implicated in a

series of brutal rapes from the eighties. I’m checking out

the possibilities.’


‘Is that not what you’ve got Jason for?’

‘There’s quite a few possibilities and I’ve nothing else

pressing. Plus . . . ’ She paused. ‘Ann Markie has landed

me with another body. A Weegie refugee from the MIT

through in the west.’

‘MIT? Whose toes did he stamp on to end up with

HCU? Not that I see that as a demotion, obviously.’

‘That’s because you get it. The work we do, what it

means. Jimmy Hutton’s doing some digging to see what

he can find out. I wonder whether it’s as simple as the

Dog Biscuit trying to keep me in line.’

‘The Dog Biscuit?’ River knew there would be an


‘Markies are apparently a kind of dog treat. According

to Jimmy. Anyway, I think what she really wants is a

spy to see what rules I’m breaking. Like Leonard Cohen

says, “The rich have got their channels in the bedrooms

of the poor.”’

‘I thought you’d given up listening to that miserable

old man? Are you slipping back into the depths? Phil so

wouldn’t approve.’

Karen chuckled. ‘Field Commander Cohen was wise as

well as miserable. Anyway, enough of me. What’s dragging

you up the A9?’

‘Inspector Walter Wilson. You ever come across him?’

‘No, is he with Highland?’

‘Yes. Specifically, Ullapool. He’s got a bog body for me.’

‘Ooh. Anything for me?’

River chuckled. ‘You’re a glutton for punishment. But

no, not this time. Inspector Wilson’s information is that

it probably dates back to 1944. So even if we’re looking

at foul play, it’s well outside your seventy- year limit. No

reprieve from the red Rovers for you.’

So it goes. Good luck with it anyway. I look forward to

hearing all about it.’

‘Always interesting, a bog body. Up there in Wester

Ross, there should be a high level of preservation, given

the levels of sphagnum moss in the peat. We might even

get fingerprints.’


‘Aye, but what are the chances of meaningful fingerprints

from 1944? We didn’t even fingerprint the army

back then in case it put people off joining up.’

‘I know. But I still enjoy the challenge.’

‘I know what you mean. Like me and my red Rovers.

Anyway, if you can squeeze your bog body under the

seventy- year rule, I’ll only be a couple of hours away in

the morning.’

‘I’ll bear that in mind. But don’t hold your breath.’

 Longlisted for The McIlvanney Prize 2019.

Winner to be announced at the Bloody Scotland opening night reception on Friday 20 September.

For festival tickets and information

Amazon Author Page










Lin Anderson @ The Edinburgh International Book Festival with Steve, Blaze and Laoch

Lin Anderson was born in Greenock of Scottish and Irish parents. A graduate of both Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities, she has lived in many different parts of Scotland and also spent five years working in the African bush. A teacher of Mathematics and Computing, she began her writing career four years ago. Her first film, Small Love, which was broadcast on STV, was nominated for TAPS writer of the year award 2001. Her African short stories have been published in the 10th Anniversary Macallan collection and broadcast on BBC Radio Four. Lin Anderson is best known as the creator of the forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod series of crime thriller novels, and for her part in founding the annual ‘Bloody Scotland’ crime writing festival.

Time for the Dead is a gripping crime novel by Lin Anderson and sees forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod discover that a terrifying war is unfolding on Scotland’s Isle of Skye.

When forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod returns to her roots on Scotland’s Isle of Skye, a chance encounter in the woods behind a nearby activities centre leads her to what seems to be a crime scene, but without a victim. Could this be linked to a group of army medics, who visited the centre while on leave from Afghanistan and can no longer be located on the island?

Enlisting the help of local tracker dog Blaze, Rhona starts searching for a connection.

Two days later a body is found at the base of the famous cliff known as Kilt Rock, face and identity obliterated by the fall, which leads Rhona to suspect the missing medics may be on the island for reasons other than relaxation. Furthermore, elements of the case suggests a link with an ongoing operation in Glasgow, which draws DS Michael McNab into the investigation.

As the island’s unforgiving conditions close in, Rhona must find out what really happened to the group in Afghanistan, as the consequences may be being played out in brutal killings on Skye . . .

Rhona MacLeod

Patrick De Courvoisier Mystery

Author Website:

Author Twitter:

Author Facebook:

Author Instagram:


Authors Amazon Page


Mary Paulson – Ellis @ The Edinburgh International Book Festival

Mary Paulson-Ellis lives in Edinburgh. She has an MLitt in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow and was awarded the inaugural Curtis Brown Prize for Fiction in 2009 and the Literature Works First Page Prize in 2013. Her debut novel, The Other Mrs Walker was a Times bestseller and Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year. Mary was Highly Commended as a Rising Star in the DIVA Literary Awards and shortlisted as a Breakthrough Author in the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards 2017. In 2016 she was named an Amazon Rising Star. The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing is her second novel.

Due out 5th September 2019


Solomon knew that he had one advantage. A pawn ticket belonging to a dead man tucked into his top pocket – the only clue to the truth . . .

An old soldier dies alone in his Edinburgh nursing home. No known relatives, and no Will to enact. Just a pawn ticket found amongst his belongings, and fifty thousand pounds in used notes sewn into the lining of his burial suit . . .

Heir Hunter, Solomon Farthing – down on his luck, until, perhaps, now – is tipped off on this unexplained fortune. Armed with only the deceased’s name and the crumpled pawn ticket, he must find the dead man’s closest living relative if he is to get a cut of this much-needed cash.

But in trawling through the deceased’s family tree, Solomon uncovers a mystery that goes back to 1918 and a group of eleven soldiers abandoned in a farmhouse billet in France in the weeks leading up to the armistice.

Set between contemporary Edinburgh and the final brutal days of the First World War as the soldiers await their orders, The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing shows us how the debts of the present can never be settled unless those of the past have been paid first . . .


Somehow she’d always known that she would end like this. In a small square room, in a small square flat. In a small square box, perhaps. Cardboard, with a sticker on the outside. And a name . . .

An old lady dies alone and unheeded in a cold Edinburgh flat on a snowy Christmas night. A faded emerald dress hangs in her wardrobe; a spilt glass of whisky pools on the floor.

A few days later a middle-aged woman arrives back in the city she thought she’d left behind, her future uncertain, her past in tatters.

She soon finds herself a job at the Office for Lost People, tracking down the families of those who have died neglected and alone.

But what Margaret Penny cannot yet know, is just how entangled her own life will become in the death of one lonely stranger . . .

Publishers Website

Authors Website

Authors Twitter Hashtag @mspaulsonellis

Amazon Authors Page

There’s Been a Murder Picks of the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2019 Part Four

Tom Barbash & Ewan Morrison

Thu 22 Aug 13:45 – 14:45 The Spiegeltent £12.00, £10.00


Hear from two authors whose latest fictions are founded on fantastical fact as they discuss their new books with author David Mitchell. Multi-talented Scottish writer Ewan Morrison returns to novel-writing with Nina X, a story of a girl’s imprisonment in a London flat by a monstrous leader. The brilliant American author Tom Barbash launches his evocative and wildly absorbing new novel The Dakota Winters, set in New York City in the run-up to John Lennon’s assassination.

Mark Billingham 

 Thu 22 Aug 20:45 – 21:45 


 Spark Theatre on George Street 


 £12.00, £10.00

Mark Billingham


Mark Billingham has a secret in store for fans of Tom Thorne and Nicola Tanner. Their Little Secret, the latest from the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel Award winner, features a single mum seeking excitement but finding something altogether more frightening. While Billingham is riding high on the success of one bestseller after another, he continues to write intelligent and authentic crime books. What’s his secret? Find out today as he talks to Scottish comedian Fred MacAulay.

Elif Shafak 

 Fri 23 Aug 10:15 – 11:15 


 The Spiegeltent 


 £12.00, £10.00

Elif Shafak

Sponsored by


Studies of bodies shortly after death suggest brain activity may continue for minutes after the blood supply has stopped. This lies behind Elif Shafak’s intriguing novel 10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in This Strange World, which chronicles the ebbing thoughts of a murdered Turkish woman. Surprisingly funny and deeply moving, the story explores her gorgeous memories as well as the mistreatment of one ordinary human. Join Shafak as she discusses the ideas in her new book with Lennie Goodings.

Haylen Beck & Lilja Sigurdardottir 

 Fri 23 Aug 13:45 – 14:45 


 The Spiegeltent 


 £ What you can 

Pay what you can for this event: choose your own ticket price on the booking form.

Haylen Beck & Lilja Sigurdardottir


Missing boys connect new books from Edgar-nominated author Haylen Beck (pen name of bestselling writer Stuart Neville) and Icelandic crime writer Lilja Sigurdardottir. Beck’s Lost You follows two women seeking a disappeared child whom they both claim is rightfully theirs. In Trap, the second entry in Sigurdardottir’s Reykjavik Noir trilogy, a young mother finds herself in the midst of a nightmare when her son is snatched. Discover gripping new fiction this afternoon as they talk to author Mary Paulson-Ellis.

We invite you to Pay What You Can for this event. You may choose to pay an amount between £0 and £25 for your ticket, taking into consideration what you can reasonably afford to spend. This pricing has been introduced to help make the Book Festival accessible to those with limited means. If you are able to pay more for your ticket, you will help support our efforts to provide financial flexibility to those who most need it.

Leye Adenle & Alan Parks 

 Sat 24 Aug 13:45 – 14:45 


 The Spiegeltent 


 £12.00, £10.00

Leye Adenle & Alan Parks


The second book in Nigeria-born Leye Adenle’s Amaka Mbadiwe series, When Trouble Sleeps, finds the self-appointed saviour of Lagos’s sex workers embroiled in a political scandal that may have devastating consequences. Scottish crime writer Alan Parks returns to his Harry McCoy thriller series as Glasgow’s gangland warfare heats up in February’s Son. These are two talented writers to keep an eye on.

Kirsty Wark 

 Sat 24 Aug 18:45 – 19:45 


 The New York Times Main Theatre 


 £12.00, £10.00

Kirsty Wark


After a hugely successful debut novel which harnessed exquisite storytelling and a gorgeous evocation of wartime Arran, Kirsty Wark returns with The House by the Loch, a family mystery set on the shores of Loch Doon. A young mother feels trapped in her remote rural home, and the consequences reverberate for generations. One of our leading broadcasters, Wark proves she knows the difference between fiction and fake news. Chaired by Jane Fowler.

Claire Askew & Thomas Enger 

 Sun 25 Aug 12:00 – 13:00 


 The Spiegeltent 


 £12.00, £10.00

Claire Askew & Thomas Enger


Our Citizen schools writer-in-residence, Claire Askew, is a major new voice in British crime fiction. What You Pay For is her second novel, revolving around the mysterious reappearance of DI Birch’s younger brother. Norway’s Thomas Enger is making waves with his latest, Inborn, which covers disturbing ground as a teenager is charged with the murders of two school friends. Discover a new generation of noir superstars.

George Alagiah 

 Sun 25 Aug 18:45 – 19:45 


 The New York Times Main Theatre 


 £12.00, £10.00

George Alagiah


Join popular BBC broadcaster George Alagiah as he takes off his reporting hat and plunges into a new career as political thriller writer, drawing on his knowledge and experience of working in Africa. The Burning Land sees South Africa torn apart by propaganda and murder as one of the country’s bright young hopes is slain. Two childhood friends reunite in order to fight for the soul of their nation. Chaired by Allan Little.

Vote for The Burning Land by George Alagiah in the First Book Award.

Jan-Philipp Sendker 

 Mon 26 Aug 15:30 – 16:30 


 Writers’ Retreat 


 £8.00, £6.00

Jan-Philipp Sendker


Few things could be more terrifying than a threat against your child’s safety. That’s the propulsive force behind Jan-Philipp Sendker’s gripping thriller The Far Side of the Night, the last in the bestselling Rising Dragon series. Paul and Christine are many miles from the sanctuary of China’s US Embassy, in need of help and unable to trust the strangers around them. Sendker takes us deep into the soul of modern China.

Wayne Holloway & Malcolm Mackay 

 Mon 26 Aug 20:30 – 21:30 


 Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre 


 £8.00, £6.00

Wayne Holloway & Malcolm Mackay


Join two writers with captivating but bleak visions of the future. In Bindlestiff, author and director Wayne Holloway weaves prose and screenplay to craft a dystopian satire on Hollywood, race and class divisions in a post-Trump era. Stornoway writer Malcolm Mackay’s A Line of Forgotten Blood is a gumshoe caper set in an independent, and corrupt, Scotland. Are their tales really as far-fetched as they initially seem?

For more information about these and other events going on you can check out the Edinburgh International Book Festival at

Facebook Page

Twitter page at 

Instagram at

There’s Been a Murder Picks of the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2019 Part Three

Sue Lawrence & Angela Meyer 

 Sun 18 Aug 13:45 – 14:45 


 The Spiegeltent 


 £12.00, £10.00

Sue Lawrence & Angela Meyer


Masterchef winner Sue Lawrence is known for her cookery writing but is also an established writer of historical thrillers. Lawrence discusses Down to the Sea, a tense affair switching between modern-day and 1890s Edinburgh. Melbourne-based Angela Meyer’s debut A Superior Spectre also zips back and forth in time, and 1860s Edinburgh provides a dark setting. Hear how the city’s past sparked these authors’ imaginations, as they talk to Jenny Brown.

Quintin Jardine 

 Sun 18 Aug 19:15 – 20:15 


 Spark Theatre on George Street 


 £12.00, £10.00

Quintin Jardine


Ex-Chief Constable Bob Skinner is enjoying his 30th anniversary as a fictional character and in book number 30, Cold Case, his Scottish creator Quintin Jardine turns the screw on him once again. When a journalist uncovers fresh evidence about a case that has been closed for three decades, Skinner is dragged back to save an old pal. Hear from this prolific master about the creation of an epic series.

Susan Fletcher & Michelle Paver 

 Mon 19 Aug 10:15 – 11:15 


 The Spiegeltent 


 £12.00, £10.00

Susan Fletcher & Michelle Paver


While horror fans lap up blood and gore, the subtlety of a well-told ghost story can chill a reader to the bones. House of Glass, by Whitbread First Novel Award-winning Susan Fletcher, features love, lies and ghosts as Britain enters the First World War. Michelle Paver’s Wakenhyrst is a gothic thriller where unspeakable forces are unleashed. Join them to discuss the art of building spine-tingling suspense.

Kjell Ola Dahl & Mary Paulson-Ellis 

 Mon 19 Aug 13:45 – 14:45 


 The Spiegeltent 


 £12.00, £10.00

Kjell Ola Dahl & Mary Paulson-Ellis


In his new book The Courier, Kjell Ola Dahl, aka the godfather of Nordic Noir, tracks between the 1960s and the Second World War through characters haunted by betrayal and death. Mary Paulson-Ellis follows up her 2017 Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year with The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing, a historical mystery that sees a modern-day heir hunter in Scotland seeking the owner of a dead man’s fortune. They meet to discuss the power of long-dead secrets.

Caroline Lea & Kaite Welsh 

 Mon 19 Aug 14:00 – 15:00 


 Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre 


 £8.00, £6.00

Caroline Lea & Kaite Welsh


Period thrillers don’t get better than these two new British novels by Caroline Lea and Kaite Welsh. In Lea’s stellar The Glass Woman, a windswept 17th century Icelandic village is plunged into paranoia with the arrival of a newly married couple. Welsh’s popular Victorian Edinburgh medical mystery series continues in The Unquiet Heart, as Sarah Gilchrist finds herself defending her dull fiancé against murder charges. The two writers discuss their ideas with fellow novelist Angela Meyer.

Lin Anderson & Jacob Ross 

 Tue 20 Aug 13:45 – 14:45 


 The Spiegeltent 


 £12.00, £10.00

Lin Anderson & Jacob Ross


Bestselling crime writer Lin Anderson launches her second Rhona MacLeod thriller of the year. Time for the Dead sees the forensics expert seek the truth of a horrible crime on the Isle of Skye. Grenada-born novelist Jacob Ross’s Black Rain Falling features forensics expert Michael ‘Digger’ Digson, as he finds out the lengths people go to to protect their loved ones. The pair dissect their unsettling new novels today.

Mark Galeotti 

 Tue 20 Aug 15:45 – 16:45 


 Spark Theatre on George Street 


 £12.00, £10.00

Mark Galeotti


Known by their distinctive tattoos, the vory v zakone (translated as ‘thief in law’) have a long and dishonourable history as a criminal underclass in the Soviet Union and Russia. An expert on transnational crime and Russian security affairs, Mark Galeotti traces their trajectory in The Vory: Russia’s Super Mafia from Gulag offenders to the age of the oligarch, all examined in today’s eye-opening event with Trevor Royle.

Denise Mina & Matt Wesolowski 

 Tue 20 Aug 19:15 – 20:15 


 Spark Theatre on George Street 


 £12.00, £10.00

Denise Mina & Matt Wesolowski


If you’re addicted to true crime podcasts, the new page-turners discussed today give you good reason to remove those headphones. McIlvanney Prize winner Denise Mina’s Conviction involves a woman plunging wrecklessly into a podcast’s unsolved mystery after she was abandoned. Acclaimed horror writer Matt Wesolowski’s Changeling continues his book series with the case of a disappeared boy. Don’t miss this event if you’re a fan of the massively popular true crime podcast Serial.

Jess Kidd & E S Thomson 

 Wed 21 Aug 10:15 – 11:15 


 The Spiegeltent 


 £12.00, £10.00

Jess Kidd & E S Thomson


Medicine, murder and the macabre meet in Victorian London. A discovery in an anatomy school mortuary takes Jem Flockhart and Will Quartermain on a high-stakes search for answers in E S Thomson’s Surgeon’s Hall. Jess Kidd’s Things in Jars sees Bridie Devine, the finest female detective in 1860s London, take on the case of a child gone missing. Hear what attracted both to set mysteries in the London fog. Chaired by Anya Clayworth.

For more information about these and other events going on you can check out the Edinburgh International Book Festival at

Facebook Page

Twitter page at 

Instagram at

There’s Been a Murder Picks of the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2019 Part Two

Kate Hamer & Doug Johnstone 

 Fri 16 Aug 13:45 – 14:45 


 The Spiegeltent 


 £12.00, £10.00

Kate Hamer & Doug Johnstone


The tenth crime novel from Edinburgh’s Doug Johnstone, Breakers follows a teenager trying to escape his dysfunctional family whilst implicated in the assault of a crime-lord’s wife. In Crushed, Kate Hamer’s follow-up to the bestselling The Girl in the Red Coat, can Phoebe control events to such a degree that when she thinks about murder, carnage occurs nearby? Meet two accomplished writers of lively lawless tales in conversation with writer and broadcaster James Crawford.

Helen FitzGerald & Helga Flatland 

 Sat 17 Aug 12:00 – 13:00 


 The Spiegeltent 


 £12.00, £10.00

Helen FitzGerald & Helga Flatland


Glasgow-based Australian Helen FitzGerald struck gold recently with the BBC adaptation of The Cry; her latest novel Worst Case Scenario covers equally disturbing ground as a family murder is investigated. In Norwegian Helga Flatland’s A Modern Family, adult siblings must come to terms with the news that their elderly parents are divorcing. Together they ask: is it possible to know everything about those closest to us? They discuss their ideas and the inspiration for their new books with fellow author Karen Campbell.

Ambrose Parry 

 Sat 17 Aug 20:30 – 21:30 


 The New York Times Main Theatre 


 £12.00, £10.00



Crime-writing duo Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman introduced the shadowy streets of 1840s Edinburgh in The Way of All Flesh last year. Now they launch the sequel, The Art of Dying. Will Raven is a qualified medical practitioner but becomes embroiled in an effort to clear his mentor’s name following the death of a patient. Don’t miss this highlight of the Scottish literary season.

Arne Dahl & Alex Gray 

 Sat 17 Aug 20:45 – 21:45 


 Spark Theatre on George Street 


 £12.00, £10.00

Arne Dahl & Alex Gray


Two of the finest Eurocrime writers combine for an event exploring humanity’s darker side. Scandi author Arne Dahl puts Stockholm police officer Desiré Rosenkvist in the firing line in new novel Hunted, while Alex Gray’s DS William Lorimer series continues in The Stalker, in which the Glasgow cop shields his novelist wife while investigating the murders of two young women. Join them for a foray into criminal investigation, in conversation with writer and broadcaster James Crawford.

For more information about these and other events going on you can check out the Edinburgh International Book Festival at

Facebook Page

Twitter page at 

Instagram at

There’s Been a Murder Picks of the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2019 Part One

Parker Bilal & James Oswald 

 Sat 10 Aug 12:00 – 13:00 


 The Spiegeltent 


 £12.00, £10.00

Parker Bilal & James Oswald


New novels from Parker Bilal and James Oswald find investigators at different ends of crime-cracking careers. Following the success of his Makana Mystery series, Bilal’s The Divinities marks DS Calil Drake and Dr Rayhana Crane’s maiden voyage as they attempt to solve a brutal murder in Battersea. Oswald’s Cold As The Grave – complete with mummified bodies in Edinburgh – sees DCI Tony McLean in his ninth outing. The authors talk to Brian Taylor.

Louise Doughty & Stuart Turton 

 Sun 11 Aug 13:45 – 14:45 


 The Spiegeltent 


 £12.00, £10.00

Louise Doughty & Stuart Turton


Meet two British writers of cleverly conceived and suspenseful stories, Louise Doughty and Stuart Turton, who come together to talk about their new novels. The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle, Turton’s 2018 Costa First Novel Award-winning debut, sees its central character killed afresh daily until her would-be saviour tries to solve the riddle. Doughty, author of the hugely successful Apple Tree Yard, talks about Platform Seven, which has her protagonist trying to prevent people taking their own lives at a railway station.

Stuart MacBride 

 Sun 11 Aug 20:45 – 21:45 


 Spark Theatre on George Street 

 £12.00, £10.00

Stuart MacBride


With the nation at boiling point, someone’s sending messages in blood in the latest dark thriller from Stuart MacBride. Inspector Logan Macrae is back after a year off, but there’s no rest when a high-profile anti-Independence campaigner disappears amid growing tensions between those fighting for Scotland’s future. Can Logan survive in the cauldron of Scottish politics? Spend an hour with this master of suspense.

James Runcie 

 Mon 12 Aug 18:45 – 19:45 

 The New York Times Main Theatre 


 £12.00, £10.00

James Runcie


Journey back in time with The Road to Grantchester, James Runcie’s superb prequel to his successful Grantchester Mysteries series. The future Archdeacon Sidney Chambers’s young life is turned inside out when the Second World War tears through Britain’s idyll, and he returns from Italy burdened with a secret. Runcie discusses his new book with Jane Fowler, in a perfect introduction for new readers and a deep dive for existing fans.

Chris Brookmyre 

 Mon 12 Aug 20:30 – 21:30 

 The New York Times Main Theatre 


 £12.00, £10.00

BSL EventChris Brookmyre


Sixteen years on from the death of young Niamh on a holiday in Portugal, the glamorous Temple clan hold a fateful family reunion in Fallen Angel, Chris Brookmyre’s new standalone thriller. For Amanda, a neighbouring nanny, fascination gives way to suspicion – what did happen to the girl? Among our finest crime writers and funniest speakers, Brookmyre is back with one of his best stories yet. He talks to Brian Taylor.

Joanne Harris 

 Tue 13 Aug 11:45 – 12:45 

 The New York Times Main Theatre 


 £12.00, £10.00

Joanne Harris


Vianne Rocher is back, but trouble could be brewing in Lansquenet-sous-Tannes. Joanne Harris revisits the world of Chocolat 20 years on. In The Strawberry Thief, life has settled down for Rocher, but the death of a local florist brings fresh upheaval to the village, including a new chocolate shop – conflict, or worse, could be waiting. Dip into Harris’s expertly crafted world for an unrivalled sensory experience.

For more information about these and other events going on you can check out the Edinburgh International Book Festival at

Facebook Page

Twitter page at 

Instagram at

Book Tour From the Outside By Clare Johnston

Clare Johnston is a journalist and content specialist, and a frequent contributor on radio and TV, having appeared on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, The Kaye Adams Programme and comedy satire show Breaking the News on BBC Radio Scotland, along with STV2’s Live at Five. She is a former editorial director of Press Association Scotland and commercial editor and columnist with the Daily Record. She is currently working with the DC Thomson media group and supports businesses with communication and content creation. Clare is based in Edinburgh.    

1. How did you get started writing?

I’ve worked as a journalist for my entire career so writing is something that I’ve done since university. There was a period of time though when I was working in a senior management job for a news agency and no longer wrote as part of my job. I soon found that I really missed writing. It coincided with my kids being babies and I would put them down to sleep at 7pm and found myself aching to put my mind to creative use. That’s when I started to write in the evenings.


2. What drew you to write a novel

I had toyed with the idea of writing a novel for a long time. It seemed a natural progression for a professional writer, and around 20 years ago I started work on a YA novel about a young fan who became pregnant in a one-night-stand with a rock star, but I never finished it. A few years later, my cousin sadly died at a young age and it really got me thinking about the afterlife. I have also had a few experiences where I have felt contact with loved ones who have passed away. The combination of events inspired From the Outside.


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

At one point, before kids, I was reading so much it would be almost impossible to say who had most influence. I couldn’t read enough. I am a huge admirer of Ian McEwan’s work, and also prolific writers like Jodi Picoult – a master of intriguing plots – and Anita Shreve. But I enjoy a real range of work – books like Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, Donna Tartt’s A Secret History, and Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita stand out – so I think I have probably taken on a mix of influences as well developing my own style through years of writing features and newspaper columns.


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

My path to publication has not been a straightforward one. From the Outside was the first full novel I ever completed but is not my first published novel – that was the political thriller Polls Apart, published in 2011.

I got an agent for From the Outside very quickly, before the novel was actually finished, but he was struggling with his workload and that relationship sort of fizzled out. I soon found that while I would receive compliments about the writing style from agents, there was a view that this novel, narrated from the afterlife, didn’t fit neatly in a box which is becoming increasingly important in publishing. After Polls Apart was published I took on a really busy job with a newspaper group where I was also a weekly columnist so I just didn’t have time to juggle everything and I stopped looking for a publisher for From the Outside. It was only a couple of years ago when I listened to an interview with Man Booker-winning author Marlon James, who said his novel has been rejected nearly 80 times, that I thought, “I’m going to give From the Outside another push.” I had exchanged tweets with the publishing director at Urbane and so I dropped him a note with a copy of the manuscript. A year later he told me they wanted to publish it. Sometimes life makes you wait for the right opportunities.


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

Because of the circumstances in which I wrote it, From the Outside is incredibly close to my heart as are each of the major characters in it. I reserve special love for the twins Ben and Harry though. Both are very flawed individuals, but also relatable and loveable in their own ways.


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

From the Outside didn’t require significant research, though there are always factual elements that you want to check out about places that are mentioned. In the time between writing the novel and it being published the world had moved on and I found myself having to swap mentions of Blackberry phones for instance, to iPhones. There was also a very famous block of flats in Edinburgh called The Fort that were referenced in the novel, but they got pulled down a few years ago so I had to change that as well.


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

None of my characters are based significantly on any one person, but there are reflections of people I know or who I’ve met along the way. Ben, who is crippled by a lack of self confidence, and Harry, who is almost similarly crippled by his ego, represent extremes of my own personality, though I err towards Ben.


8. If you can, would you give us a sneak peek into any future novels you might have planned?

Yes, I’m working (painfully slowly) on a novel about sex trafficking at the moment, again set in my home town of Edinburgh.


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

I think that would have to be Ian McEwan. I could learn so much from him and I bet he tells a really good story down the pub too!


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

I was one of those writers who just sat down and got started without planning out my novel in any great detail. That proved to be a daft approach because I then changed my plotlines multiple times and had to work my way back through the entire novel over and over again to make sure everything stacked up. But it was my way of learning and I think the novel benefitted from the rewrites. I have a colleague who has just written a crime novel and she more or less studied it as an art form for years before she attempted her own work. She took her time and produced a really strong piece of work so there are so many different approaches and you just have to do what works for you. It can be hard to keep the motivation up when you have many thousands of words to write so I say, just get started and keep going, even if it’s an hour a day. You never know where it will take you.

When internet millionaire and philanthropist Harry Melville dies in a car crash at the age of forty four, the lives of his wife, Sarah, and twin brother, Ben, are thrown into turmoil.

Harry seemed to have it all; a close-knit family and a happy marriage – along with all the trappings of wealth. Yet as he recalls his past from the afterlife, a story emerges of the unspoken and bitter jealousies between brothers and of an unhappy wife burdened by loneliness and guilt.

When Ben takes over the running of Harry’s charity foundation he begins to find purpose for the first time in years. But the arrival of a talented young artist brings a series of revelations that expose Harry’s complex and dual personality in full. As he learns his part in the suffering of those he left behind, is it too late for Harry to make amends?

A tale of regret and redemption in this world and the next. From the Outside looks at the futile rivalries that can destroy sibling relationships and the lost opportunity for happiness when ego is allowed to reign over emotion.

From the Outside Amazon Page

Twitter Pages




Publishers Website

Gordon Kerr The Partisan Heart Blog Tour

The Italian Alps,1944. The Resistance is fighting a bitter battle against German forces on the treacherous mountains of the Valtellina. Eighteen-year-old Sandro Bellini falls in love with the wife of his Commander. No good can come of it. 

London,1999. Michael Keats is mourning the death of his wife, killed in a hit and run accident in Northern Italy. His discovery that she had been having an affair devastates him and he sets out to find the identity of her lover.

That journey leads him to the villages of the Valtellina, where he becomes embroiled in a crime of treachery and revenge. The brutal repercussions of the war are still reverberating, and as Michael uncovers the truth of his wife’s affair, he reveals five decades of duplicity and deception.

Amazon Book Link

Excerpt from Partisan Heart

he resolved to go down to the sorting office as soon as he

was dressed. It wasn’t far and the air would do him good

after spending the whole of the previous day mooching

around the house and then drinking far too much whisky

last night.


The sorting office had a 1950s feel to it. It resembled a school

building and reminded Michael a little of the large comprehensive

school he had attended what seemed like another

lifetime ago.

 He followed a sign directing him to ‘Collections’, walking

through a swing door into a dingy room with a large counter

at one end.

 In this obviously neglected space, Michael stood feeling

similarly neglected. No one came and there was not a sound

from anywhere. Behind the counter was a low partition

beyond which there were rows of wooden shelving with

pigeon holes filled with parcels of all shapes and sizes.

 Soon a woman appeared and Michael explained he was

collecting a parcel for his wife. The woman absently took the

card, checked the address and disappeared into the dinginess

behind the partition. She returned after a minute or so with

a large brown paper parcel, about a foot by one- and- half feet

in size. A typed, white label showed Rosa’s name. Michael

showed the woman his driving licence for ID, signed a form

and left the office clutching the parcel.

 It was soft to the touch and sealed so completely with

brown packing tape that, when he got home, he was forced

to hunt down a pair of scissors to open it. Inside, wrapped

in a piece of thin clear plastic of the kind dry- cleaners use

to wrap clothes, he was surprised to find a man’s jacket. He

searched for a letter or a note accompanying it and found

one in an unsealed envelope, its letter- head denoting that


it was from a hotel, the Lighthouse Inn, in Dumfriesshire,

Scotland. Puzzled, his eyes quickly took in the short message

written on it:


Dear Mrs Keats, we are delighted to be able to return to

you a jacket found in the room you occupied during your

stay in our hotel in April. We hope to see you again at the

Lighthouse Inn soon.’ It was signed ‘J. Stewart, Manager.


 Michael’s eyes returned to the jacket. It was light brown

with a faint check of a darker hue stitched through it.

Expensive, he thought, looking at the label, which displayed

an Italian name of which he had never heard. But that was

no surprise to him. Fashion and clothes had never been much

of an abiding interest with him.

 He put the jacket on, approving of the lightness of its cloth,

but found that its chest size was at least a couple of sizes bigger

than his thirty- eight. The sleeves hung down below his fingertips

and the shoulders dropped a couple of inches too low.

The owner was undoubtedly a big chap, he thought, eyeing

himself in the long mirror that formed one of the doors of

a wardrobe in the bedroom. Shame, he thought. I might have

just hung on to it had it fitted.

 This was obviously some kind of mistake. Rosa had not,

to his knowledge, been in Scotland recently. She had gone

away in April, the month that the note claimed she had

been at the Lighthouse Hotel, but that had been a trip to

Newcastle on a photographic assignment for some magazine

or other.

 Certain that a mistake must have been made, Michael

pulled off the jacket, laid it on the bed and resolved to ring

the Lighthouse Inn later that day to let them know that they

were mistaken and that he would post it back to them.


As he got ready to head into town, however, it nagged at

him, tugging at his thoughts. Whenever he tried to push it

to one side it would return, like one of those irritating flies

that can plague you in a hot climate. You swat them away

and within a minute or two they return to buzz around your

food or drink. How had the hotel come to connect Rosa with

this item of clothing? It was unlikely, after all, that there was

another combination of names like hers in the country – Rosa

Keats – and, apart from that, how would they have come into

possession of her address?



‘Hello, Lighthouse Inn, Mary speaking. How may I help

you?’ The voice was soft and musical. He asked to be put

through to ‘J. Stewart’ and explained the reason for his call.

  ‘Well, Mr Keats, the thing is . . .’ – there was hesitancy in

J. Stewart’s voice because the delicacy of the situation had

suddenly made itself very apparent to her. Husband receives

man’s jacket in post. Jacket doesn’t belong to him but has been

left behind by male companion of his wife. ‘. . . The point

is, we were quite certain the jacket belonged to Mrs Keats’s

companion because we had the room refurbished shortly

before their stay, but found out after they left that the plumber

had made a right mess of some of the pipes and water was

leaking down onto the ceiling of the room below. When the

bed was moved to lift the floorboards, we found the jacket.’

She hesitated, before adding nervously, ‘But, of course, there

might be some other explanation.’ There was a silence at the

other end. ‘I’m sorry,’ she said, eventually.

 Surely not, he thought. Oh, Rosa, surely not. There must be

some kind of mistake. Ten minutes after he had hung up, he

was staring out of the window watching the world go about

its business as if nothing had happened, as if everything had

not just taken a step in the wrong direction. He had been too

Gordon Kerr was brought up in the Scottish new town of East Kilbride. After graduating from Glasgow University, he lived in France before working in the wine trade in London for 18 years. He next worked in bookselling and publishing. He has written numerous books in a variety of non-fiction genres – wine, history, biography, true crime, humour, art, poetry and travel. He has a wife and two children and lives in West Dorset and southwest France.

1. How did you get started writing?

I’ve been writing since I was about fifteen. I enjoyed poetry at school – I know, not normal! – and so, the first things I wrote were poems. The very first I composed in response to seeing a young American girl on television whose boyfriend had been killed in Vietnam. She was about seventeen and I was very moved by her grief and extremely angry about the pointlessness of that war, and of any war. It’s probably a very good job I no longer have the poem! But from that time on I wrote, and still write, poems. These led me into writing song lyrics and I was in a band when I was still in my teens. We got together again a few years ago after 40 years and are writing and recording again. My writing eventually began to get me jobs in marketing and over the years I have written countless catalogues, leaflets and adverts. Finally, someone asked me to write a book  non-fiction  and since then I’ve been fortunate enough to have had dozens published.

2. What drew you to write a novel?

It was the story, really. It kind of arrived fully-formed in my head. George Harrison once said that songs somehow find their writers, not vice-versa and it was a bit like that with The Partisan Heart. It just came together without a huge amount of planning and preparation. The idea came from my many visits to the Valtellina in north Italy where my sister-in-law lives. I heard stories about the war in the area and about the partisans who fought in the mountains there. The area is beautiful and atmospheric and seemed perfect as the backdrop to a thriller. So, I was writing my non-fiction books as my day job and then in the evening jumping into the fictional world I was trying to create. I almost wore out my keyboard!

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

I love all kinds of writing and writers, but I suppose in the genre in which I am writing, I would have to make special mention of the Berlin Noir novels of the late Philip Kerr (no relation!). His creation, the hard-bitten detective, Bernie Gunther, is a masterpiece of cynicism and cunning. The last book has just been published and I will really miss Bernie. Amongst other writers I enjoy are Joseph Kanon, Olen Steinhauer, Alan Furst and Tom Rob Smith. I am a huge fan of the books of the great thriller writer, Eric Ambler. I particularly enjoy stories in which the hero is an amateur who stumbles into perilous situations and in a number of Ambler’s books – such as Journey into Fear and The Mask of Dimitrios – that is exactly what happens.

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

I guess I am lucky in that I have worked in the book world for many years, in bookselling, publishing and as a writer. Therefore, I know a lot of people in that world. I also had a track-record as a writer of non-fiction books which undoubtedly helped. Even with that, however, it can be difficult and I did write another novel quite a few years ago that never found a home. Even if you know the right people, it still has to be a compelling story and the writing has to be up to scratch.

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

I’m quite proud of the female character, Helen, in the book. She’s strong, courageous and she knows her own mind. She uses her initiative and her actions help the hero who sometimes can be a bit weak. She is so strong that in the sequel that I’m toying with at the moment, she isn’t present. There’s too much world out there for her to be tied too long to someone.

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

Part of the novel is set during the Italian Civil War that was fought towards the end of the Second World War. So, I obviously had to delve into that period of Italian history. At the same time, though, I was very conscious that I was writing fiction and not history; so the book is light on historical detail. I think Mussolini’s name is mentioned once, just to give background to the fighting that was going on. I also heard a lot of stories from my sister-in-law’s family about the war. Her father-in-law, for instance was transported to Germany to be used as forced labour. So, it was all around me, especially in the first years when we went to the Valtellina, when the generation that fought in the war was still alive.

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

No, I’m afraid they are entirely fictional, both the characters from the war and the ones in more contemporary times.

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

There is a recurring dream that the main character has. It has no real meaning, although it appears at first to be heavy in symbolism. I like the randomness of it. I think stories benefit sometimes from having a passage like that, that really doesn’t drive the action forward in any way, but ladles on the mystery and the atmosphere.

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

I’d love to think that I would be as enquiring and as bent on the truth as Michael Keats, the journalist who is the hero of the book, but the truth is that I would probably run a mile from some of the situations he gets himself into. Still, you never know how you might react when you are thrown headlong into a certain scenario. He is driven by grief and anger, I guess, and perhaps if the same thing happened to me as did to him, I too would want to seek out the truth in order to obtain some closure.

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

As I said above, I am planning a second novel featuring Michael Keats. It seems silly not to and these days people seem to enjoy seeing a character develop as he or she gets into scrapes through a series of novels. He’ll be in Italy again, and perhaps there will be another link to the past that informs a set of circumstances in the present. It’s all still some way off, though, and I have a history of the Korean War to write before I get to it.

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

I wouldn’t mind going on a car journey across America with Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady at the wheel, writing and shouting poetry as we went. Although I would be a stumbling wreck by the end of the journey, it would have been a lot of fun! And what a novel we would have. Maybe call it Off the Road!

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

My advice would be to just DO IT! I have so many friends who talk about writing their novel, but for some reason they don’t. For me it was a natural thing because writing is just what I do. Even if I wasn’t being paid to do it, I would still do it. If you’re a writer, write!

Amazon Author Link

There’s been a Murder Interview with J D Kirk

JD Kirk lives in the Highlands of Scotland with his wife, two children, and a number of sturdy umbrellas. Despite writing from a young age, ‘A Litter of Bones’ is his first novel, and combines his love of the Highlands, crime thrillers, and cats.


Was the biggest case of his career the worst mistake he ever made?

Ten years ago, DCI Jack Logan stopped the serial child-killer dubbed ‘Mister Whisper,’ earning himself a commendation, a drinking problem, and a broken marriage in the process.

Now, he spends his days working in Glasgow’s Major Incident Team, and his nights reliving the horrors of what he saw.

And what he did.

When another child disappears a hundred miles north in the Highlands, Jack is sent to lead the investigation and bring the boy home.

But as similarities between the two cases grow, could it be that Jack caught the wrong man all those years ago?

And, if so, is the real Mister Whisper about to claim his fourth victim?

1. How did you get started writing?
I’ve been writing pretty much for as long as I remember. I used to fill notebooks with short stories and comics, most of them insanely violent and full of gore. ‘Disembowelled’ was my favourite word for a while, and not a story would go by without at least one character having their bowels forcibly removed by something sharp and pointy.
I was nine years old when I decided that I wanted to do it as a career. We’d just done a project in school on Roald Dahl, and that was the first time I found out that being an author was an actual job. I’d written stories all the time for my own amusement before then, so when I found out that I could make ACTUAL MONEY from doing what I loved, I just knew that’s what I wanted to do.
2. What drew you to write a novel
I actually started off by writing screenplays. I wanted to write big cinematic movies that would play in the cinema for a while, then I realised that it was VERY difficult to get something like that made, so then I started writing much smaller, low-budget screenplays. I had a few of those picked up by production companies, but even at the low-budget end of the spectrum, producers have to raise millions to get a movie off the ground, so none of them ever went into production.
I realised that it was much cheaper for a publisher to put out a book than it was for a studio to put out a movie, so I took some of the stories I had planned writing as film scripts and started adapting them into novels. I found I enjoyed the process of writing a novel far more than I liked writing screenplays, and so all my new ideas tended to be for the page, rather than the screen.
I think there’s something about being able to get inside a character’s head that really appeals to me in writing a novel. In a screenplay, you can only really write about what the audience can see and hear. In a novel, you can do anything, go anywhere, and show the thoughts of the characters. There’s also no special effects budget, so you’re only limited by your imagination.
3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?
I don’t think it was any one writer, but more a big amalgamation of all the thousands of books I read growing up, and through my teenage years. After I discovered my local library, I’d go through three or four books a week. I always went against popular advice, and very much judged books by their covers. If the cover grabbed me, I’d have a go, often not paying attention to the author or title.
I tend to gravitate towards anything with humour in it, no matter the genre. I’m not saying everything has to be comedy, but I tend to get through life by laughing and joking, even during the darkest times, and I like a book to reflect that. I think Chris Brookmyre is a great example of that. Often very dark plots, but with a rich seam of humour running through them that just lifts the stories to another level.
4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?
I think what gave me an advantage is that I wrote every day for about twenty years before I submitted a single novel to a publisher. It wasn’t that I didn’t think the earlier stuff was good enough (although, in hindsight, it probably wasn’t). It was that I enjoyed the writing process so much I didn’t want to get bogged down with the submission process.
When I finally decided to submit a novel I’d written to an agent, she signed me up pretty quickly. She then submitted the book to HarperCollins Children’s Books (it was a horror novel for 9-12 year olds) and they came back soon after to ask if I’d write a series of six. There were no rejections at all, as far as I can recall. I put it down to all those years of practice!
5. There are many interesting characters in your Novel, do you have a particular favourite one?
I enjoyed writing all the characters, and wanted to make sure they were all fleshed out with their own goals, ambitions, flaws, etc. As such, I like pretty much all of them – even the villainous characters – but DCI Jack Logan has to be my favourite. He’s often rude, sometimes harsh, but has that streak of humour running through him like I mentioned earlier.
He’s tormented by things that have happened to him in the past, and things he has done, but he also genuinely cares about people. He just sometimes shows it in a funny way…
6. What kind of research have you have to undertake for your Novel?
Mostly, it was stuff about police procedure. I was fortunate in that I got to know a couple of serving police officers online, and they were happy to give me some advice. I read a lot of police manuals, too, and generally spent a few weeks immersing myself in the intricacies of Police Scotland.
In the end, very little of that actually makes it into the book! For me, the characters and plot come first, and the actual nitty gritty of police procedure is a distant second. I try to sprinkle just enough to make it seem convincing to the reader, but never in a way that sacrifices story or character.
7. Are the characters in your books based on any real life?
Not specifically. I mean, there’s no one character who is based on an individual person I know, but they’re probably all a bit of a mish-mash of characteristics from various people I’ve known over the years. The only exception is DS McQuarrie in A Litter of Bones. She’s what I imagine the policewoman who attended the scene after I’d been involved in a car crash would be like, were she to become a detective. She was fiercely officious to the extent that, after giving me a breath test to make sure I hadn’t been drinking, she made me climb back in through the boot of my upside-down car to retrieve my insurance documents from the glove box. I was literally crawling over broken glass with her standing outside watching me.
I set out to make DS McQuarrie a version of that police officer, but ended up making her a bit nicer somewhere along the way.
8. Do you have a particular favourite scene in the book and why
The opening scene of A Litter of Bones is set in a place called Leanachan Forest, where I often take my dog for a walk. Without giving too much away, the events of this first scene kick off the whole story, and it’s based pretty closely on something that happened when my daughter and I took the dog out at that same spot. She was around seven, and what happens in that opening scene is almost exactly what happened with my daughter and I (only with a happier ending…)
And I shall say no more than that. 🙂
9. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa?
I think DCI Logan is sort of how I can see myself in the future. I think he was probably quite positive and idealistic once, but time, life, and the realisation that there are a lot of horrible people in the world have all conspired to turn him that bit wearier and more cynical. At his core, he still has that hopefully, idealistic spark, but dealing with murderers and psychopaths has buried it deep.
I’m currently still at that mostly-positive stage, but I can feel myself getting increasingly cantankerous and irritable as I get older. I don’t think I’m anywhere near Logan yet, but I suspect it’s just a matter of time.
10. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you might planned.
Sure! The second DCI Logan book, “Thicker than Water” comes out in June. When a mutilated body washes up on the shores of Loch Ness, the media goes into a monster-frenzy. But the real killer is very much human, and it’s up to Logan and the rest of the Major Investigations Team to find them.
11. If you had the opportunity to write a novel with any writer alive or dead, who would it be and why
Hmm. I’m not sure. If it’s a 50/50 royalty split, I’ll go with JK Rowling. 🙂
Seriously, though, one of the things I most enjoy about writing a novel is that it’s solely my vision. When I was writing screenplays, you had to try to second-guess what the budget would allow, then the best case scenario was that a director and producer would come along, take your script, and then stamp their own creative vision all over it.
I like the fact that a novel is just mine. Sure, there’s an editor to think about, but I have final say, no one else. I’m not sure if I’d be able to collaborate on a novel if it meant giving up that control.
That said, I’d love DCI Logan to do a crossover with someone like LJ Ross’s DCI Ryan. Something like that could be a lot of fun.
12.  Do you have words of advice you can share with anyone who is intrested in writing a novel
The obvious one is to write lots. The more you write, the better you get. But we’ve all heard that before.
So, instead, I’ll say: Live. It’s hard to write about being scared if you’ve never done anything scary. It’s hard to write about love if you’ve never experienced it, or about the thrill of driving a fast car around a racing track if you’ve never gone over thirty.
Go out and experience as many things as possible. Travel. Have adventures. Make friends. Laugh, love, experience loss, and all that stuff. The more of life you experience, the richer your writing will become.

Pre Order DCI Logan Novel 2 – Thicker Than Water – Out 30th June 2019

Not all monsters are make-believe.

When a badly mutilated body washes up on the shores of Loch Ness, DCI Jack Logan’s dream of a quiet life in the Highlands is shattered.

While the media speculates wildly about monster attacks, Jack and the Major Investigations Team must act fast to catch the killer before they can strike again.

But with Nessie-hunters descending on the area in their dozens, and an old enemy rearing his ugly head, the case could well turn out to be the most challenging of Jack’s career.

And, if he isn’t careful, the last.

Links are: