There’s Been a Murder Picks of The Edinburgh International Book Festival Saturday 18th – Tuesday 21st August 2018


Saturday 18th August

The Valvona & Crolla Event

Alexander McCall Smith

Sat 18 Aug 17:00 – 18:00

Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

CAPTIONED EVENTAlexander McCall Smith

Sponsored by


As well as being a bestselling novelist, Alexander McCall Smith has a passion for music. He set up the No. 1 Ladies’ Opera House in Botswana to give local singers a chance to perform; plus he’s written several operas and song cycles including Silver Darlings and Fergus of Galloway. Today he discusses books, music and opera, the ways they influence one another and his love for each form.

Part of our Music Matters series of events.

Doug Johnstone & Malcolm Mackay

Sat 18 Aug 19:00 – 20:00

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00

Doug Johnstone & Malcolm Mackay


In Doug Johnstone and Malcolm Mackay’s new crime fictions, the drama takes place in a reconfigured and reimagined Scotland. Johnstone’s contemporary whodunit Fault Lines is set in an Edinburgh which has an active volcano located in the Firth of Forth while in Mackay’s In the Cage Where Your Saviours Hide, Scotland is imagined as an independent kingdom which never joined the Union.

Sunday 19th August

Russell Findlay & Thomas Harding

Sun 19 Aug 16:00 – 17:00

Garden Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

Russell Findlay & Thomas Harding


A tale of isolation, deception, espionage and violence, stretching from north London to Westminster and the People’s Republic of China: Thomas Harding analyses the incredible true story of a Chinese dissident convicted of a brutal murder in Blood on the Page. In Acid Attack, investigative reporter Russell Findlay’s attention is on his own battles with Scotland’s crime lords, which culminated in a terrifying attack on his own doorstep.

Claire Askew & Alan Parks

Sun 19 Aug 20:30 – 21:30

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00

Claire Askew & Alan Parks


Award-winning poet and writer Claire Askew’s crime fiction debut All the Hidden Truths explores a school shooting and the unanswered questions left in the wake of the killer’s death. Former creative director of London Records, Alan Parks returned to his Scottish roots and turned his creative juices to crime writing, dreaming of being the James Ellroy of Glasgow. His 1973-set debut, Bloody January, is a shade darker than Tartan Noir.

Vote for Bloody January by Alan Parks in the First Book Award.

Monday 20th August

Lin Anderson & Antti Tuomainen

Mon 20 Aug 17:15 – 18:15

The Spiegeltent

£12.00, £10.00

Lin Anderson & Antti Tuomainen


It looks like Rhona MacLeod’s luck may be running out in Lin Anderson’s 13th novel about the forensic scientist, as she becomes victim of a nasty stalker in Sins of the Dead. Fargo meets Baywatch in Antti Tuomainen’s Palm Beach Finland, the blackly comic bestselling Finnish novel of 2017, in which detective Jan Nyman is sent to a sleepy seaside town to dig up clues on a mysterious fatality. A nourishing hour of noir awaits.

Stuart MacBride with Stephanie Merritt

Mon 20 Aug 20:45 – 21:45

Spark Theatre on George Street

£12.00, £10.00

Stuart MacBride with Stephanie Merritt


Just what does it take to write a page-turning bestselling crime novel? Dumbarton-born, Aberdeen-raised Stuart MacBride can offer plenty of advice on that front, given his Logan McRae series keeps on hitting the heights of popularity. Fellow writer Stephanie Merritt joins him to delve into The Blood Road, his 11th Logan mystery, out now. It’s time to get on board and see what the fuss is about.

Tuesday 21st August

John Harvey with Ian Rankin

Tue 21 Aug 13:45 – 14:45

The Spiegeltent

£12.00, £10.00

John Harvey with Ian Rankin


As a winner of both the Silver and the Diamond Dagger, John Harvey is unquestionably one of Britain’s most outstanding crime writers. In 2014 the publication of the final Charlie Resnick thriller marked Harvey’s retirement. Now, to our delight, Nottingham’s answer to William McIlvanney has returned with positively his last novel of all; the ultimate episode in his darkly compassionate Frank Elder series and he talks about it to fellow crime writing sensation Ian Rankin.

Philip Howard & Val McDermid

Tue 21 Aug 19:00 – 20:00

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00

Philip Howard & Val McDermid


January 2018 saw Edinburgh’s Hogmanay illuminate our streets with a unique piece of visual storytelling. Written by Val McDermid and dramatized by Philip Howard, Message from the Skies led the public through the city on a murder mystery, celebrating the work of Susan Ferrier and the many unsung women writers of Edinburgh. Join McDermid and Howard as they share their stories of how this incredible project was made.

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 or Instagram at


There’s Been a Murder Picks of The Edinburgh International Book Festival Tuesday 14th – Friday 17th August 2018


Tuesday 14th August

Lindsey Davis

Tue 14 Aug 13:45 – 14:45

The Spiegeltent

£12.00, £10.00

Lindsey Davis


To fans of Lindsey Davis’s unique brand of Roman-era fiction, heroine Flavia Albia needs no introduction. To anyone else The Third Nero and Pandora’s Boy, the most recent entries in the Falco: The New Generation series, are perfect places to start – rich in historical detail, gripping with suspense and full of the surreal humour which has made Flavia an irresistible hit.

Royal Bank of Scotland Event

Alexander McCall Smith

Tue 14 Aug 18:45 – 19:45

Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

Alexander McCall Smith

Sponsored by


Philip Larkin’s work doesn’t feature in Scotland’s Best Loved Poems, but the subtitle of this event – a line from a Larkin poem – sums up Alexander McCall Smith’s approach. Kindness is a red thread running through his novels’s lively plots, and it’s no wonder they’ve achieved global sales. Today he talks about his latest novels, and the poetry anthology he has edited, with James Naughtie.

Liam McIlvanney & Denise Mina

Tue 14 Aug 20:45 – 21:45

Spark Theatre on George Street

£12.00, £10.00

Liam McIlvanney & Denise Mina


The Quaker is the creepy moniker of a serial killer in award-winning Liam McIlvanney’s new Glasgow-set thriller which has Highlander DI McCormack struggling with a brutal Scottish winter and suspicious colleagues. Winner of the McIlvanney and the Gordon Burn Prizes, The Long Drop sees Denise Mina in visceral form as she novelises the true crimes of notorious Scottish killer Peter Manuel. Chaired by Stuart Kelly.

Wedensday 15th August

Joanna Cannon & Jess Kidd

Wed 15 Aug 10:15 – 11:15

The Spiegeltent

£12.00, £10.00

Joanna Cannon & Jess Kidd


Long-hidden secrets are about to be set free in new novels by Joanna Cannon and Jess Kidd. In Cannon’s Three Things About Elsie, a lady in a home for the elderly is about to have her world rocked when a new resident arrives looking exactly like a man who died 60 years before. Kidd’s The Hoarder has the house of a belligerent senior citizen slowly revealing its locked-up secrets. Can we ever outrun the past? Chaired by Jenny Brown.

E S Thomson & Olga Wojtas

Wed 15 Aug 12:00 – 13:00

The Spiegeltent

£12.00, £10.00

E S Thomson & Olga Wojtas


Dip into the past with two Edinburgh writers. Saltire Prize-nominated E S Thomson’s The Blood is a thriller set in Victorian London where an apothecary disguises herself as a man to investigate savage murders. In Olga Wojtas’s Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Golden Samovar, time-travelling librarian Shona heads to 19th century Russia for a match-making mission, but it proves to be something more sinister. Chaired by Sally Magnusson. This event will be recorded for BBC Radio Scotland.

Vote for Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Golden Samovar by Olga Wojtas in the First Book Award.

Gerald Seymour

Wed 15 Aug 17:30 – 18:30

Spark Theatre on George Street

£12.00, £10.00

Gerald Seymour


Gerald Seymour has reported on conflicts in Vietnam, Israel and Borneo on TV but with Harry’s Game in 1975 he became ‘the best thriller writer in the world’, so said the Telegraph. Northern Ireland was ripe for novelists then, just as the Russian troubles are now. In A Damned Serious Business he delves into a world of cyber-hackers, dirty bombs and rogue operatives with dodgy definitions of right and wrong.

Tumbling Lassie with Alexander McCall Smith

Wed 15 Aug 18:30 – 20:00

The Spiegeltent

£12.00, £10.00

Andy Bevan of International Justice Mission will also appear in this event.
Tumbling Lassie with Alexander McCall Smith


‘We have no slaves in Scotland…’ This was the conclusion of a 1687 case concerning a travelling showman and a performing gymnast he’d ‘acquired’. It was the first time a Scottish court had rejected slavery. Now, thanks to the work of Alan McLean QC, composer Tom Cunningham and novelist Alexander McCall Smith, the story has been turned into an operetta. Here, the creators discuss their project and explain why the story still matters today.

Stuart David & Teresa Solana

Wed 15 Aug 20:30 – 21:30

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00

Stuart David & Teresa Solana


Co-founder of Belle & Sebastian, Stuart David revisits Peacock Johnson, a character he created who then appeared in an Ian Rankin novel. In Peacock’s Alibi, our hero has an idea that may make him rich even if the enterprise is dodgy. Staying on the comic side of crime writing, he’s joined today by Teresa Solana whose The First Prehistoric Serial Killer and Other Stories delivers a wittily gruesome set of short tales.

Thursday 16th August

Nicola Upson & Andrew Wilson

Thu 16 Aug 13:45 – 14:45

The Spiegeltent

£12.00, £10.00

Nicola Upson & Andrew Wilson


Golden Age crime writers Josephine Tey and Agatha Christie take central roles in two new fictions. When ghost writer M R James’s friends are dying off mysteriously, Tey steps in and lends her powers of curiosity to the case in Nicola Upson’s Nine Lessons. Andrew Wilson’s A Different Kind of Evil has Christie enlisted by the Secret Service to investigate the death of an agent. Chaired by Jenny Brown.

Nick Harkaway & William Sutcliffe

Thu 16 Aug 16:30 – 17:30

The Spiegeltent

£12.00, £10.00

Nick Harkaway & William Sutcliffe


British authors Nick Harkaway and William Sutcliffe both tackle the prescient subject of surveillance in their latest novels set in the near future. In Gnomon Harkaway’s Britain has spying built into its DNA with every action and word being recovered by the State. Sutcliffe turns to a drone-filled London for We See Everything, where two strangers’ lives are about to cross and never be the same again. Chaired by Stuart Kelly.


Alexander McCall Smith

Thu 16 Aug 18:45 – 19:45

Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

Alexander McCall Smith

Sponsored by


His books have become bestsellers around the globe, but Alexander McCall Smith remains resolutely proud of, and fascinated by, his Scottish home. Today he talks with Jamie Jauncey about how the country has influenced his writing and infused his international novels, including the world-renowned The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.

The National Library of Scotland Event

Val McDermid

Thu 16 Aug 20:30 – 21:30

Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

Val McDermid

Sponsored by


One of the brightest stars in crime fiction today, Val McDermid simply shines brighter with every book. For this event we host the worldwide launch of her novel Broken Ground, another in the chillingly entertaining series of bestsellers featuring DCI Karen Pirie. McDermid shares the thinking behind her writing in today’s event.

Friday 17th August


Thomas Enger & Alex Gray

Fri 17 Aug 13:45 – 14:45

The Spiegeltent

£12.00, £10.00

Thomas Enger & Alex Gray

Sponsored by


There’s a lot more to the case than initially meets the eye in chilling new books from Oslo’s Thomas Enger and Glasgow’s Alex Gray, as you’ll discover in today’s event. Killed is the finale of Enger’s Henning Juul series, with the journalist’s life at risk as he seeks his son’s killer. Only the Dead Can Tell has Gray’s DSI Lorimer investigating a woman’s brutal death and the husband who’s the prime suspect.

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 or Instagram at

There’s Been a Murder Picks of The Edinburgh International Book Festival Saturday 11th – Monday 13th August 2018


Saturday 11th August 

Robin Robertson

 Sat 11 Aug 12:00 – 13:00

 The Spiegeltent

 £12.00, £10.00

Robin Robertson


A renowned poet whose work often hauntingly evokes the lives of Scottish outsiders, and a mesmerising reader of his own work, Robin Robertson strikes out with a breathtaking new project, The Long Take. In this verse novel, Walker is a war veteran from Nova Scotia who sets out for Los Angeles in 1948. Robertson’s book demonstrates the origins of ‘noir’, presented here with period filmic and musical accompaniment.

Robertson has won multiple prestigious awards for his writing and is regarded as one of Scotland’s finest poets. He has been longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize for The Long Take – about which the judges said: ‘it’s an extraordinary evocation of the debris and the ongoing destruction of war even in times of peace. Robin Robertson shows the flexibility a poet can bring to form and style.’ Come and meet a writer at the height of his powers.

 Sat 11 Aug 19:15 – 20:15

 Spark Theatre on George Street

 £12.00, £10.00

Graeme Macrae Burnet


The Scot who came to international attention when His Bloody Project was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Graeme Macrae Burnet has followed up that astonishing success with an elegant and evocative thriller The Accident on the A35. Set in a sleepy town in southern France, it’s a sophisticated mystery that evokes Maigret, Camus and perhaps a whiff of James Hogg. Chaired by Jane Fowler.

Sunday 12th August

John Harris Dunning, Michael Kennedy & Javi Rey

 Sun 12 Aug 20:30 – 21:30

 Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

 £8.00, £6.00

John Harris Dunning, Michael Kennedy & Javi Rey


Meet the creators of two uncompromising stories, beautifully realised in graphic novel form. Writer John Harris Dunning and artist Michael Kennedy’s Tumult is a stylish, contemporary psychological thriller in the vein of Alfred Hitchcock and Patricia Highsmith. With Out in the Open, based on Jesús Carrasco’s award-winning novel, illustrator Javi Rey has drawn a cinematic story about a young Spanish boy setting out across the Spanish plains to escape abuse at home.

Part of the Stripped series of events.

Monday 13th August

Stella Duffy

 Mon 13 Aug 13:45 – 14:45

 The Spiegeltent

 £12.00, £10.00

Stella Duffy


The past stalks writer Stella Duffy in two new novels. Laurie is forced to protect her family when the leader of a cult tracks her down in new suspense thriller The Hidden Room – how far will she go to protect them? Stella has also completed Money in the Morgue, an unfinished Alleyn mystery started by Ngaio Marsh in 1945. A devilish double-serving for fans of frightening yarns. Chaired by Jenny Niven.

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 or Instagram at

Emma Clapperton The Boy who wasn’t there Blog Tour

Emma L Clapperton, born December 1985, has always had a passion for reading and writing. She studied childcare and gained qualifications to work with the early years in 2002. She completed her first novel, Beyond Evidence and it was published in September 2012 with a second edition being published in April 2013.

Emma won the book award for the month of April at

She currently resides in a little town outside of the city of Glasgow with her partner and is working on her next project.

You can contact Emma through these websites:

Since 2012, I have released two full novels and two short stories as part of the series, The Suicide Plan is the first in the series (a short story introducing the characters, however this can be read on its own), Beyond Evidence, The Dead Whisper and now, The Boy Who Wasn’t There.

I had the idea for a supernatural crime series back in 2010, when I created the characters Patrick and Jodie McLaughlin, two psychic mediums living in Glasgow.

I love supernatural goings on and have been to see a number of psychics, a few of whom have been entirely accurate.

I like to write whenever I can and at the moment I write in the evenings and at the weekends when I am not working. I’m a people watcher and so I often take in my surroundings and create characters based on people I have come across, past in the street, and sometimes my characters include elements of people I know personally

The Boy Who Wasn’t There is a story of betrayal and loss and how an event in your life can change your course. Without giving too much away, I actually really like the character, Rita. She is below the lowest she can go to and the story demonstrated her need for comfort from the bottle.

I like writing with two or more storylines running adjacent to one another and then merging them, because I love the idea that this could really happen.

The novella is a short read at just 17k and I really love writing in short bursts like this.

I plan on creating a whole range of short stories, but I am also working on a new novel under my own name and a novel under my pseudonym, Alex Kane.


Rita Michaels had it all, a loving husband and two beautiful children… but that one night changed everything. With her life spiralling out of control, her husband takes her children away from her.

And that’s when she snaps!

Present Day

Patrick and Jodie’s son, Lewis, enjoys playing with his new best friend, Tommy. There’s just one problem. Tommy isn’t really there.

Lewis becomes embroiled in a family’s dark past and Patrick has to step in to protect his son.

But will he be able to help Lewis escape the dark corners of his psychic ability, or will Lewis become locked in the past forever?

***** 5 STARS

The boy who wasn’t there might only be a short story of sixty pages but it definitely packs a punch and as a fellow author crime author Denzil Meyrick states “A Haunting story that will chill you to the bone hits the nail on the head as the saying goes. The story is very atmospheric as it switches between present day and the past and centres on the character of Lewis McLaughlin aged 4 who has an imaginary friend called Tommy.His parents Patrick and Jodie are both psychics and they both know that Lewis has inherited the same gift to some degree,Jodie is fearful though as Lewis keeps talking about the past so they take a trip to see his nursary teacher and she tells them lots of children have imaginary friends but at home later that night Jodie cannot sleep and when she goes into her sons room there are unwelcome visitors. Patrick knows that he must take action…they look to the past and they discover a tragedy, one that should never have happened…In the centre of it all is a tortured soul weighed down with guilt, grief and a sin so dark.They realise that to make things right they must meet this spirit head on or perhaps lose their child in Limbo. To put it simply this is a story that will tug at your heart strings, It’s a story of a moment in time, where betrayal and jealousy become intertwined. In you know the authors other books and previous Patrick McLaughlin books then you are aware that Emma Clapperton knows how to write a novel or short story that will take you on a roller coaster ride of action and emotions and also that the characters and settings come to life and take you along for the ride. I can’t wait to see what Emma Clapperton writes next as her self and as her pen name Alex Kane, if you have not already discovered this author I recommend that you do.

The Boy Who Wasn’t There Amazon Page

Amazon Author Page

There’s been a murder author interview with Margaret Kirk

1. How did you get started writing? 

I think I’ve always enjoyed writing, even at school. But I never seriously thought about trying to be published until about four or five years ago, when I started writing short stories. I was lucky enough to be place in a couple of competitions, which gave me the confidence to go on.

2. What drew you to write a novel?

Someone commented that my short stories seemed like novels in miniature! And writing at novel length feels like the best way to explore my characters and what they get up to in more detail than a short story would.

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

I’m not sure I’ve been influenced by anyone, but I did find Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ a tremendously helpful book when I started out.

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

Well, my route to publication was a little out of the ordinary. First of all I entered my short stories into various competitions, and did quite well with them. And then my debut novel, ‘Shadow Man’ won the Good Housekeeping First Novel competition 2016! The prize was publication by Orion and representation by LBA Books, so I haven’t gone the traditional route at all.

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

With the exception of the murderer – or is that murderers? 😉 – I’m really quite fond of all of them! But Fergie, DI Lukas Mahler’s scruffy sidekick, always makes me smile.

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

I don’t have a police background, but luckily I do have friends who are ex-‘Job’, so basically I just pester the life out of them for info. I do think a feeling of authenticity is very important, no matter what genre you’re writing in.

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

Not directly, but they’re definitely influenced by people I have known!

8. How do you feel about being on being on the list for the not so booker prize?

Hah! Don’t see it happening, but it would be great!

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

I think there’s probably a bit of me in most of them. With, hopefully, the exception of the baddies … 😉

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

Oh, there’s a lot more to learn about Lukas and his team. I’m currently working on book two, which opens with a grim discovery on the site of a new housing development near Inverness…

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

Goodness, that’s hard. So many amazing current writers – but who wouldn’t want to write with the all-time queen of the whodunnit, Agatha Christie?

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

Don’t leave it as late as I did! Seriously, don’t give up – but do be receptive to feedback, both positive and negative. And read. Read a lot, not just in your genre. Read critically, with an eye to studying technique, seeing what works and what doesn’t. And don’t be afraid to tear things up and start again, if you have to.

A gripping Scottish crime thriller from the winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Writing competition 2016.

Two sisters

Just before her wedding day, Morven Murray, queen of daytime TV, is found murdered. All eyes are on her sister Anna, who was heard arguing with her hours before she was killed.

Two murders

On the other side of Inverness, police informant Kevin Ramsay is killed in a gangland-style execution. But what exactly did he know?

One killer?

As ex-Met Detective Inspector Lukas Mahler digs deeper into both cases, he discovers that Morven’s life was closer to the Inverness underworld than anyone imagined. Caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse, is Lukas hunting one killer, or two?




Amazon Author Page

Jackie Baldwin perfect Dead Blog Tour

Jackie Baldwin was born in Dumfries. She studied law at Edinburgh University returning to Dumfries to practice criminal and family law for the next twenty years. During that time she married and had two children and a variety of pets. She later retrained as a hypnotherapist. Dead Man’s Prayer is her debut crime novel and is set in Dumfries. When not working or writing, Jackie can generally be found in a forest or by the beach on long muddy walks with her two Retrievers.

A Writing Retreat On The Cheap

Guest Post

Writing retreats can be a marvellous way to claw time out of a busy life and immerse yourself in writing with the company and support of like-minded individuals. They can vary tremendously from fully tutored through to simple communal living whilst each person works on their own writing project. Over the years I have been on a few superb retreats with wonderful tutors that really inspired me to keep moving forwards with my work. These usually lasted from Monday to Friday and, whilst I didn’t begrudge a penny, they were generally not cheap.

However, if money is an issue, and it is for most of us, there is an alternative. For a couple of years now, one of my writing friends has hosted a writing weekend from Thursday to Sunday. Generally about six people attend and are all given their own space to write in. We all pay a small daily sum which goes on the communal food and bring a stash of alcohol. Everyone helps set the table, clear away and wash up. The food has been prepared in advance.

We write all day with a break for lunch and down tools around 6pm. The surroundings are gloriously bucolic with rolling hills and verdant fields. The free range hens are part of the entertainment. They leave no stone unturned in their determination to breach the house. One day we were having lunch outside when a very plump, delightfully militant hen landed on the middle of the table and pecked at a slice of bread before triumphantly re-joining her cohorts. The cats know better than to mess with them.

Every year we do one main thing for evening entertainment. Once we clubbed together to hire a massive hot tub for the weekend. This year we had a Murder Mystery Dinner. Well, we are all crime writers! It involved a 1920’s theme and we all dressed up. My jaw dropped when I turned the last page and saw that I was the murderer!

Plot problems can be mulled over during breaks. Yesterday someone was writing a scene where a character was tied to the chair and couldn’t visualise how it would resolve. She ended up tied to the chair with different knots and in different ways until she had worked it out in her head.

There is peer pressure to write and keep to your area so you don’t disturb others. It is amazing how the word count mounts up when you are sitting in a room with no distractions and nothing to do but write or stare at a wall. Sometimes we share some of our work in the evenings but there’s no pressure to do so. We are all at different stages in our writing. Some are published, a few at the submission stage and some working away on that first draft.

So, if you feel that your writing could benefit from going on a writing retreat then why not get together with a handful of writing friends and hold your own?

Sometimes perfection is worth killing for…

The second gripping crime novel in an exciting new series. Ex-priest DI Frank Farrell finds himself on the trail of a vicious killer in rural Scotland. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, James Oswald and Val McDermid.

Each murder brings him one step closer to the perfect death.

Ex-priest DI Farrell is called on to investigate a gruesome death in rural Scotland. All evidence points to suicide, except for one loose end: every light in the cottage was switched off. Why would he kill himself in the dark?

The question sparks a murder investigation that leads to the mysterious Ivy House, home of ‘The Collective’, a sinister commune of artists who will do anything to keep their twisted secrets hidden.

And when the remains of a young girl are uncovered on a barren stretch of coastline, Farrell realises that there is something rotten in this tight-knit community. Now he must track down a ruthless killer before another person dies, this time much closer to home…

***** 5 STARS

Perfect Dead is the second instalment in the DI Frank Farrell series, the follow up to the Two Thousand and Sixteen Debut Dead Men’s Prayer where we met Ex Catholic Priest Frank Farrell now turned Detective Inspector, set in the close net community of Dumfries, when I first picked up the debut novel two years ago I found it difficult to put the book down and ended up reading it in two days as Jackie Baldwin managed from page one to the final page managed to capture the readers attention and took the reader on a emotional roller coasters, the story flowed nicely and the setting, atmosphere and characters were so very believable that you felt as though you were right there along with the characters following in their very footsteps as the action in the story progressed. When two months ago I was asked to be a part of the Blog Tour for Jackie’s follow up novel, Perfect Dead I jumped at the chance and after reading the novel I was not disappointed she has in my option topped my expectations and produced another can’t put down novel that again had be on an rollercoaster ride of emotions and action, a believable story line, loveable characters and a real feeling that even though you have not left your own surrounding you feel like you know Dumfries and the surrounding areas so well. I won’t spoil the novel for you by telling you what it is all about but by using the strap lines of Each murder brings him one step closer to the perfect death and Sometimes perfection is worth killing for then you will get the idea tthat Perfect death is one creepy and gripping novel that you absolutely need to read for yourself, I can’t wait to see where the next book in this series takes us, though I don’t want to wait another two years to find out what happens next and If you have not started reading these books then I recommend that you do, you won’t be disappointed.

Perfect Dead Amazon Page

Amazon Author Page

Peter Ritchie Shores of Death Blog Tour

Peter Ritchie is a retired senior police officer. The real-world authenticity in his novels comes from vast experience gained working in CID, murder squads, Serious and Regional Crime Squads and Europol.

Shores of Death is the 3rd book in the Grace Macallan series

A Northern Ireland undercover officer is missing and a young Czech woman is washed up barely alive on the Berwickshire coast. Her story is of witnessing horror on the waters of the North Sea and her subsequent ordeal to survive the trauma turns her world into a series of nightmares.

The story is complex web involving trafficked women from Eastern Europe and alliance of ruthless criminals from Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. At the head is Pete Handyside a career criminal brought up on the streets of North Shields who controls organised crime in the North East of England. He realises that his team has been infiltrated and sets of a train of events where criminals in the North East of England and Central Scotland turn on each other in an attempt to clean the trail of evidence leading to them. Macallan pits herself against Handyside leading to a chain of events complicated by high level corruption somewhere in the police service.

So, when I started Shores of Death I decided that I wanted it to be about trafficking women as I’d been involved in various cases over the years involving murdered sex workers and women traded for the sex industry. These cases had a profound effect on me and I still think about them to this day. It was important for me to give a glimpse to the reader of what the reality can be for the victims and the brutality of the trade in human beings.

This is the most complex story I’ve written so far and what I loved about it was I was able to use the experience of my early life as a deep-sea fisherman working for years from North Shields on the banks of the Tyne.  So, I used a fishing boat in the early scenes as the vehicle for trafficking the victims and even called the boat the Brighter Dawn which was in fact the name of my father’s boat when I was a boy. I used my own knowledge and experience of North Shields and Newcastle to set the early scenes and brought in other harbours such as Eyemouth on the Berwickshire coast.

The action takes place on a very broad canvas involving the North East of England, Edinburgh, Glasgow and later scenes in Perthshire and Loch Melfort in Argyll where I’ve spent a lot of time over the years on walking trips. I’ve always said that what I try to do is make the books as authentic as possible and of course organised crime has no borders now so this would reflect the way detectives and criminals operate in the modern world.

I loved doing this book and of course my confidence as a writer has grown with each story so I felt really comfortable letting my imagination go free on this one. It’s a remarkable experience watching Grace develop, she’s become quite real to me over time and I never seem to have to think too much for her. She just seems to appear – sets off on her own and I just follow and describe what she’s doing! One of the developments in the series is that some of the characters including criminals appear again in the next couple of books so I’ll leave that for another time but enough to say that Grace herself is still going strong.

Grace Macallan is facing a crisis, unsure of her future or whether she is strong enough to carry on with a role in serious crime investigation. Asked to take over an enquiry that will test her to the limit, she struggles with events that threaten to run out of control.

An undercover officer is missing and a young woman is washed up barely alive on the Berwickshire coast. Her story is of witnessing horror on the waters of the North Sea and her subsequent ordeal to survive the trauma that turns her world into a series of nightmares, driving her to the edge of madness.

The story is complex, a web involving trafficked women from Eastern Europe and alliance of ruthless criminals from Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. At the head of this corporation is Pete Handyside a dangerous career criminal brought up on the streets of North Shields who controls organised crime in the North East of England. He realises that his team has been infiltrated and sets off a train of events where some of the most cold-blooded criminals in the North East of England and Central Scotland turn on each other in an attempt to clean the trail of evidence leading to them.

Grace must now pit her wits against Handyside, a brutal criminal devoid of pity who will stop at nothing to protect what he has built up over the years. And with lives at stake, one wrong move could end in tragedy.

*****5 STARS

Peter Ritchie’s Grace Macallan series is only on its third book in the series but it is already establishing itself as a new series to watch out for, the settings and the character are so believable it actually feels as though you are right there in the middle of the action with the main characters as the novel moves along, you also feel as though the characters could be real life people instead of fictional characters in a book. This could be down to the fact that the author Peter Ritchie is very good with his research and that he can call on his real life experience of being a detective in CID when he is writing about the cases that his character are drawn into, from his previous trilogy of novels the Grace Den Herder it is clear that the author is a writer that is very detailed with what the reader, sees, hears and feels and that is what keeps the readers engaged and on the edge of their seats while reading his latest novel shores of death which focus heavily on the murky world of human trafficking, there is also the case of a missing undercover police officer and corruption within the force that ties in with the storyline, that makes this latest offering a cant put down book that will have you on the edge of your seat from page one to the end, it will make you feel like your on a rollercoaster as you ride through a million emotions and highs and lows, this book will leave you wanting more from this series and I can’t wait to see where the next book will take us, I recommend if you have not started this series that you look up this author blow and start reading this series you won’t regret it.

Amazon Book Page

Amazon Author Page

JV Baptie The Forgotten Blog Tour


Edinburgh, 1977

Newly-promoted but not welcome in CID, Detective Sergeant Helen Carter is tasked with investigating a murder in an old abandoned picture house.

The killer has left a clue: the business card of an ex-cop.

Helen must piece together the case before the bodies mount up around her, and before the killer strikes closer to home…

Excerpt from The Forgotten


She was swimming in the sea. The tide was against her; the waves splashed off her face. Salty water filled her nostrils and mouth. She struggled to keep her head above water. Tried to swim, gasping for air. Thrashing and kicking. The water filled her lungs as she sank further. ‘Help me. Help me. Please.’ She tried to scream… but nothing. A burst of energy. She thrashed again. Fighting with every muscle in her body. She started to move. Lights rippled in the water above. She surfaced, panting. A hand grabbed her head and pushed her back down.

Chapter 1

A bus packed with schoolchildren pulled out in front of her. Helen trickled to a stop and rolled her window down a crack, taking in the icy November air. She liked this time of the year – the dark nights and mornings, the frost, and the good reasons to stay at home. Rows of pebble dashed houses lined both sides of the street, some with black bags of rubbish parked outside their gates. A milk float had stopped on the corner, and the milkman was now heading up the garden path of number 5. She tapped on her steering wheel. She was late and Craven wouldn’t like that. The bus driver stuck out a chubby thumb as a sign of thanks from his side cab.

Slipping the Mini into second gear, she took the left turn down a one-way road. This estate reminded Helen of one of the first cases she worked on – a string of petty robberies. A boy of about eighteen who’d do odd jobs for the elderly then rob them blind. She shook her head, remembering chasing him up the street with her little truncheon that was half the size of the ones given to her male colleagues, all the while, trying not to trip over her regulation handbag that kept slipping off her shoulder.

The fire-wrecked building was easy to spot. She watched the shaky single-decker bus accelerate away until it was a speck in the distance. The Boardwalk Picture House had been a triumph of 1930s Art Deco architecture. A once whitewashed building now grey with soot. All its windows either boarded up with chipboard or smashed over the years by kids, and what they couldn’t smash they’d sprayed graffiti on. She parked behind a Rover. Her stomach churned. She pulled the key out of the ignition and slipped it into her tan leather jacket pocket. Helen screwed her eyes shut and wished that time would stop. ‘In for two and out for two.’ She practised her breathing exercise and forced her eyes open. Analysing herself in the rear-view mirror, she noticed her brown eyes looked red and blotchy. Last night at Ted’s she’d only managed a couple of hours sleep before she was needed on shift.

A sharp knock at the passenger-side window pulled her back to reality. She let out a gasp and turned to see the broad features of Detective Inspector Jack Craven peering in. Her cheeks burned.

‘Are you coming in or what?’ Craven walked around to the driver’s side just as she was getting out and opened the door wide for her. He smelt sickly sweet – a combination of Old Spice and smoke.

‘I did wonder when you planned on showing up.’

‘Sorry, Inspector.’

‘I thought you lot were meant to be good at telling the time,’ Craven replied. He was wearing a brown tailored suit that had gone shiny at the cuffs. His yellow shirt was creased at the collar and looked slept in. The top two buttons were open, showing a sprinkling of salt and pepper chest hair. He didn’t seem to be that much older than her – a really handsome guy but his face had been hardened by drink. Even his eyes had a tinge of yellow in them.

He made a show of looking her up and down and smiled. ‘Well, at least we will have something nice to look at in the department. I didn’t mean to give you a fright, pet. Caught you doing your lipstick, eh?’ He looked braced to say something else but instead closed the car door and began to walk towards the crowd.

‘Thank you for this opportunity, sir.’

‘You don’t need to thank me.’ He slipped her a sideways glance. ‘Well, you’re not going to be here long anyway.’

‘I’m planning to be,’ Helen stated.

‘Nah,’ he snorted. ‘You’ll get married, have bairns and that’ll be the end o’ it.’

Not this again. ‘You don’t know that.’ She followed him. ‘I haven’t heard of this place before.’

‘Aye, is that so?’ He looked her up and down again. ‘Suppose you would’ve been too young.’

Craven snorted. ‘We’ve got a nice little one for your first job in CID.’

‘So I’ve been told.’

‘He was found by a couple of wee laddies this morning.’ Craven flicked his roll-up end into a puddle and fished in his pocket for his tobacco pouch. ‘You’ve no’ got any real fags, have you?’

‘I don’t smoke—’

‘Of course, you wouldnae.’

She shook her head. ‘Sorry.’

Craven’s smile faded. ‘I better get you up to speed on what we’ve got here. It’s not pretty in there. There’s no wallet or I.D. on him and the body’s practically still warm.’

‘Could it have been a robbery? Then maybe someone dumped him in an old building? Expecting him not to be found so quickly?’

‘Doubtful.’ Craven shrugged then lit his roll-up. ‘If you want to rob somebody, you don’t torture them slowly to death. Looks like the boy suffered and someone wanted him to.’

Helen’s stomach knotted at the thought and she changed the subject. ‘How long’s this place been shut down?’ Her leather handbag thumped against her thigh. She wished she had left it in the car.

‘Around five years. I think. The door was open and it looks like tramps have been dossing inside.’ He stopped in his tracks and turned to face her. ‘Right, let’s get this out in the open before we get in there. I’ve no’ had a WPC on one of my cases like this before.’  ‘I’m not.’

‘Not what?’

‘A WPC. It’s Sergeant Carter actually, Inspector, and I can assure you that—’

‘Carter… I know, Detective Inspector Richard Carter.’ He shook his head. ‘I know exactly who you are and I know exactly why you are here.’ He pointed his finger at her. ‘I don’t run things like he did.’ He shook his head. ‘This is just a box-ticking exercise for the DCI. It makes him look modern and that’ll help him get his promotion.’

Helen bit down on her lip to stop her saying what she wanted to, that she wasn’t there because of her father. Even though that’s what they all said, it was easy to dismiss her that way. To ignore and belittle her. She thought back to when she told her dad she wanted to be in the police and he burst out laughing, then when he realised she was serious, he couldn’t hide the look of disappointment on his face and his comments about her waste of an education and how he wanted a better life for her.

‘I’m not here because of my dad, sir,’ she finally replied. ‘If I was, life would have been a lot easier for me. I’m here to fill your staff shortage and I’ll do my best for however long I’m needed.’

‘Aye, right.’

‘No, it is right.’ She took a step closer to him and frowned, not wanting to anger her senior officer further.

He gave her a wry smile. ‘Christ, I was only having a laugh, pet. Women dealing with cases like this in the CID, what’s bloody next?’

‘Me being here is nothing to do with anyone else. And this is not my first murder either.’ Her heart pounded. ‘So will we just get in there or do you want to stand out here chatting all day?’ Surprising herself at her own outburst.

***** 5 STARS

The Forgotten is a gritty and compelling thriller novel from new author of the scene JV Baptie, defiantly a page turner that will have the reader captivated from page one to the last chapter, the story takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions, you the reader feels if you were right there in the action along with the main character Detective Sergeant Helen Carter.

JV Baptie is a very welcome addition to the tartan noir set with her novel set in Edinburgh, she manages to make it her own though by setting the book the forgotten not in present time or the future which has become a trend in recent years but in the past, 1977 to be precise. This makes for an interesting setting and makes the novel more interesting and stands out. The book has been researched well and it is interesting having the main character being women in the male dominated world of C I D in the seventies, think of a Scottish, Life on Mars and you get the picture.

The characters are believable and the setting of Edinburgh in this decade has been researched well and written well and it so believable that you actually feel as though you are right there in the action along with the characters.

This is a exciting new book from a exciting new face in the scene and I look forward to reading more from this series and this author. I recommend that if you are a crime/thriller fiction fan that you buy this book or download it you won’t be disappointed.


The Forgotten Amazon Book Page


Amazon Author Page

Emma Salisbury Absent Blog Tour

Emma writes gritty, crime fiction that focuses on the ‘why’dunnit as well as the ‘who’. She has worked for a housing association supporting ex-offenders into work which provided her with a lot of inspiration. Her novels have regularly been in the top ten Hardboiled chart and this summer she was awarded an Amazon All-Star bonus for being one of their most read authors.

Fans of Happy Valley and Scott and Bailey style police procedurals should try my Manchester detective series.

If you like hard-boiled crime writers Stuart MacBride, Denise Mina AND Ed James then my Scottish crime series is for you. Like living on the edge? Why not try both…

ONE BAD TURN is the third in the Salford detective series. No sooner has Detective Sergeant Kevin Coupland stepped off the plane from a family holiday than he gets the call that a woman’s body has been found on a path beside a recreation park in a smart suburb in Salford. Account Manager Sharon Mathers suffered a brutal blow to the head following a night out with friends from work. As the body count rises Coupland makes a startling discovery – the killings are linked to a murder in ’92. Coupland was a probationer back in the nineties – could he be linked in some way to the killer?

A PLACE OF SAFETY is the second in the Salford crime series and opens with a drive-by shooting that leaves a witness in fear for her life. DS Coupland and Moreton return to investigate what looks like a turf war gone wrong when a local gang does everything it can to cover the killer’s tracks. Why is a young woman who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time such a threat to them? Or as Coupland suspects, is there more to their guilt than meets the eye?

FRAGILE CORD is the first in the Salford Detective series, introducing readers to overworked and under appreciated Detective Sergeant Kevin Coupland as he investigates the murder-suicide of a mother and her son. With over 100,000 copies downloaded it is riding high in the hardboiled bestseller charts, reaching no.2.

Edinburgh crime series featuring Davy Johnson:


When the daughter of Edinburgh’s most powerful crime lord is kidnapped all hell breaks loose in the city. Determined to find her without the hindrance of the police Gus McEwan summons his most reliable men to track her down. Davy Johnson, still reeling from witnessing an horrific suicide is in no position to refuse. As the violence escalates but no ransom note emerges Davy must convince Edinburgh’s most fearsome gangsters that this isn’t about money or power, but something far more primitive.

TRUTH LIES WAITING, the first in the Scottish crime fiction series introduces anti-hero Davy Johnson as his life is thrown into turmoil when a killer strikes in Edinburgh’s underbelly – framing him in the process. TRUTH LIES WAITING will tackle your perception of good v. evil forever.

Fans of Ed James, Stuart Macbride and Ian Rankin will be gripped by the rollercoaster ride through Edinburgh’s colourful underbelly.

Most evenings she can be found walking the family dog on the beach near our home in East Lothian, Scotland. You can find out more on my website and she can be found on twitter @emmasauthor

What was the inspiration for her new book, how she got started writing it and what influenced her to write it.

ABSENT was usual in that it has been the only novel I’ve written where I had the title at the outset. I wanted to write about someone not there – and wondered what would make them be considered to be missing? I wanted to get my facts right, so my initial research involved finding out the legal definition of missing – and in doing so discovered that there is actually a police description for absent too – so I felt it was fate – that the title had legs, so to speak.

The story starts with a young couple moving into a flat together. They are in the process of carrying in packing boxes when they make a gruesome discovery – a child’s body in a bag. What is disturbing is that no one has reported them missing, so Coupland sets about trying to find how this could happen.  This set me on another path of research – how it was possible for children to be unaccounted for – and I came upon human trafficking. I hadn’t intended the story to become caught up in it in any way, but the more I learned the more I felt it made valid reading, and sometimes weaving the facts around fiction can get information across in a way political statements cannot.

I find my stories grow organically; one scene leads into another, possibly quite different direction but still with a common theme – in this case – who was the child, and who was responsible for leaving them there? Maybe on some subliminal level I had been influenced by the TV news reporting, but I certainly didn’t feel at the outset that was the story I wanted to tell. For me it’s always about the personal stories, the individuals  – and the victims – who often become more present in their death than when they were alive.

Interwoven with the case is the continuing drama of Coupland’s personal life which I know had readers on tenterhooks at the end of book three (no spoilers here!). Suffice to say he is very angry at the start of this novel, and because of that doesn’t always make the best choices.

The over-riding themes in this book are how people can go missing without anyone noticing, loss in its many forms, and hope.

When he stopped a serial killer in his tracks earlier in the year he thought that would be the end of it, but for DS Kevin Coupland his nightmare has just begun.

A child’s body is discovered hidden in a bag, kicking off a major investigation for Salford Precinct’s murder squad. Soon the National Crime Agency roll into town and Coupland is under strict instructions to play nice.

He’s got enough on his plate to worry about politics. A shock discovery in his personal life is starting to take its toll, causing him to make decisions that bring him to the attention of the powers that be for all the wrong reasons.

DS Alex Moreton returns from maternity leave to find her partner deeply troubled, but with a cold case to review she’s in no position to prevent him hitting the self-destruct button.

As he hunts down the child’s killer Coupland is forced to reflect upon his own life and find an answer to the question he’s been avoiding. Is it possible to accept the things you cannot change?

***** 5 STARS

Emma Salisbury’s Absent is the fourth novel in the Salford crime series and it’s a real treat for the reader, even though it’s part of a series of novel it also can be read as a stand-alone and you don’t feel lost, though you will want to go back and read the series from the start if you haven’t done so, Emma Salisbury is a exciting new talent in the crime fiction genre, she knows how to keep a reader glued from page one to right through to the final pages, her plots take you on a roller coaster ride of ups and down of emotions and thrilling storyline and her new novel is no different. She identifies with her characters and they are so believable you would really think that they were real everyday people to you would know, the way she plots a storyline is also what mKe the book so believable as she knows how to draw the audience in and then right when you think know where it is going, a twist is thrown in and you know that you wouldn’t’t be putting the book down until you have finished the last page. The setting is also so believable that you feel that you are following along with the characters you can picture yourself right along side the characters, this is definitely a author watch who is definitely going places, she also has author exciting series of crime novels to lose yourself in, this time set in Scotland. I encourage you to buy this book you won’t be disappointed.