There’s Been a Murder Pick of the Edinburgh Book Festival Sunday 20th August 2017 – Wednesday 23rd August 2017

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Sunday 20th August

J M Gulvin & Antonio Manzini

 Sun 20 Aug 4:30pm – 5:30pm

 Bosco Theatre (George Street)

 £12.00, £10.00

POLICE OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONE

Fish-out-of-water investigators tie together the new crime books from J M Gulvin and Antonio Manzini. Gulvin’s Texas Ranger John Q is out of his depth in a hostile Louisiana as he tries to solve the mystery of a missing blues singer in The Contract, while Manzini’s A Cold Death has Rome deputy police chief Rocco Schiavone finding a small town mentality less than cooperative as he probes an apparent suicide.


Monday 21st August

Eva Dolan & Volker Kutscher

 Mon 21 Aug 10:15am – 11:15am

 The Spiegeltent

 £12.00, £10.00

BLOOD ON THE TRACKS

Two bestselling crime writers at the top of their game discuss character and assassination. In Eva Dolan’s fourth Zigic and Ferreira investigation, a trans woman has been murdered. Was it a hate crime or a case of mistaken identity? Meanwhile, German author Volker Kutscher transports us back to 1930s Berlin. Investigating the violent on-set death of actress Betty Winter, Inspector Gereon Rath encounters the dark side of glamour.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/eva-dolan-volker-kutscher-9922

Abir Mukherjee & Kaite Welsh

 Mon 21 Aug 2:00pm – 3:00pm

 Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

 £8.00, £6.00

PARTNERS IN CRIME

Kaite Welsh, journalist and critic, presents a brilliant new historical crime series set in the underworld of Victorian Edinburgh and featuring the medic-detective, Sarah Gilchrist. Abir Mukherjee offers a second turn for Captain Sam Wyndham and ‘Surrender-Not’ Banerjee of the Calcutta Police Force. The first in the series, A Rising Man, won the Telegraph Harvill Secker crime writing competition.

Vote for The Wages of Sin by Kaite Welsh in the First Book Award.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/abir-mukherjee-kaite-welsh-9939#

 

Tuesday 22nd August

Jake Arnott & Steven Price

 Tue 22 Aug 7:00pm – 8:00pm

 The Spiegeltent

 £8.00, £6.00

EXPLORING YE OLDE LONDON CRIME

London’s criminal history is the topic at hand for Jake Arnott and Steven Price in their new novels. In By Gaslight, Price lands us in 1885 with the celebrated detective William Pinkerton descending into the Victorian underworld to track down the notorious Edward Shade. Arnott goes even further back to the 1720s in The Fatal Tree, drawing on the true story of criminal couple Elizabeth Lyon and Jack Sheppard. Chaired by Roland Gulliver.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/jake-arnott-steven-price

Heinz Helle & Louise Welsh

 Tue 22 Aug 8:45pm – 9:45pm

 Studio Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00

POST-APOCALYPTIC VISIONS

Isolated individuals trying to survive are at the core of these two authors’ new books. Glasgow’s Louise Welsh concludes her Plague Times trilogy with No Dominion as the new community on the Orkney Islands fights fear, anger and suspicion in order to maintain equilibrium. Germany’s Heinz Helle offers up a post-apocalyptic nightmare which envelops a group of men on a weekend away in the Alps.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/heinz-helle-louise-welsh

 Wednesday 23rd August

Thomas Enger & James Oswald

 Wed 23 Aug 2:15pm – 3:15pm

 Garden Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00

PAST CRIMES HAUNT THE PRESENT

The latest instalments from two celebrated kings of crime have their protagonists digging up the past and delving into their cities’ dark hearts. In Cursed, Thomas Enger’s veteran crime reporter Henning Juul finds the professional clashing with the private as a missing woman reveals secrets in Oslo. Meanwhile, bestselling Scottish writer James Oswald has Inspector McLean dealing with a high profile death, a man who literally dropped dead in a tree. Chaired by Lee Randall.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/thomas-enger-james-oswald

Chris Brookmyre

Wed 23 Aug 8:15pm – 9:15pm

 Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00

CAPTIONED EVENT

TRIP INTO THE DARK WEB TRIP INTO THE DARK WEB

The man behind bestselling books such as Quite Ugly One Morning and Black Widow tackles the sinister side of modern technology with Want You Gone in which a young woman is blackmailed online and drawn into a possibly deadly trap. A veteran at keeping crowds hanging on his every word, Chris Brookmyre tells us what his hero Jack Parlabane gets up to next in his own highly entertaining style. Chaired by Lee Randall.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/chris-brookmyre-2-10021

For more information about these and other events going on you can check out the Edinburgh International Book Festival at https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/, Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/edbookfest/, Twitter page at https://twitter.com/edbookfest/ or Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/edbookfest/

There’s Been a Murder Pick of the Edinburgh Book Festival Wednesday 16th August 2017 – Saturday 19th August 2017

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Wednesday 16th August

Quintin Jardine

 11:45am – 12:45pm

 Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00

GAME NOT OVER

Incredibly, admirably, we have reached mystery number 27 in the Bob Skinner series as the irrepressible Quintin Jardine announces Game Over. When a supermodel is found savagely murdered in her flat, suspicion switches from her footballer husband to others connected to his new club. Matters are complicated further when a prime suspect is finally identified and Skinner’s lawyer daughter leads the defence team.

 https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/quintin-jardine-7-10147

Ben Aaronovitch

 8:45pm – 9:45pm

 Studio Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00

SHEDDING LIGHT ON LONDON’S DARKER CORNERS

The bestselling PC Peter Grant series barnstorms on with Ben Aaronovitch penning The Hanging Tree. Once more, Grant is forced to traipse through the secret nooks and crannies of London, this time to investigate a murder in the circle of super rich guests at a terribly exclusive party. Aaronovitch tells us how he pulls together the various strings of magic, privilege and an everyday copper to produce another fictional gem.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/ben-aaronovitch-2-10054

 

Thursday 17th August

Louise Doughty & Ariana Harwicz

 10:15am – 11:15am

 The Spiegeltent

 £12.00, £10.00

RADICAL AND RIGHT

Hear two prize-winning authors whose work has received plaudits here and abroad. Louise Doughty follows her top 10 bestseller Apple Tree Yard with Black Water. Set against the Indonesian military dictatorship of the 1960s, it explores dark events through the story of one troubled man. In Die, My Love, Buenos Aires-born Ariana Harwicz writes about violence and eroticism as she casts her gimlet eye on the conventional view of family life.

Vote for Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz in the First Book Award.

Gbontwi Anyetei & Ryan Gattis

 7:00pm – 8:00pm

 Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

 £8.00, £6.00

TREADING THE MEAN STREETS

Urban crime dramas with maverick central characters connect these two novels. Gbontwi Anyetei’s Mensah drops us into a deprived part of London where an African community is served well by the eponymous problem-solver until one job threatens everything. Gattis’s Safe is anything but as an LA gangster-turned-double agent goes rogue before quitting the game, endangering others in the process.

Vote for Mensah by Gbontwi Anyetei in the First Book Award.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/gbontwi-anyetei-ryan-gattis-10131

 

Denise Mina

 7:15pm – 8:15pm

 Studio Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00

TAKING THE LEAP FROM FICTION TO FACTION

Acclaimed crime fiction writer Denise Mina has recently dipped her toe into the often controversial world of the true crime novel. The Long Drop recalls the 1957 pub encounter when Peter Manuel convinced William Watt that he could find the weapon used to kill Watt’s family. And little wonder, given that serial killer Manuel was the man behind the slaughter.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/denise-mina-5-10104

 

Peter Høeg & Michelle Paver

 8:45pm – 9:45pm

 Studio Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00

THRILLING FICTION

Twenty-five years after his acclaimed novel Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, Peter Høeg shares his topical Danish techno-thriller The Susan Effect, set at a time of political unrest. Michelle Paver, well-known for her award-winning children’s books, brings us a ghost story for adults, Thin Air, set 23,000ft up in the Himalayas on a 1930s expedition, retracing the steps of a tragic climb. Two international bestselling authors, the same page-turning excitement. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/peter-hoeg-michelle-paver-10105

 

Friday 18th August

Lesley Glaister & Clemens Meyer

 5:00pm – 6:00pm

 Writers’ Retreat

 £8.00, £6.00

SEX, MONEY AND THE NEED FOR LOVE

Bricks and Mortar, by Clemens Meyer, follows a young hooligan who becomes a slum landlord and service provider to prostitutes in a cinematic narrative about the sex trade in a great East German city. Marta, the heroine of Lesley Glaister’s The Squeeze, is a teenager trafficked from Romania and forced to become a prostitute in Edinburgh. Chaired by Stuart Kelly.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/lesley-glaister-clemens-meyer-10236

Kjell Ola Dahl & Alex Gray

 7:00pm – 8:00pm

 Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

 £8.00, £6.00

CRIMES MOST HORRIBLE

A key figure in Nordic Noir teams up with a Tartan Noir stalwart. Kjell Ola Dahl has just published Faithless, another tale for his Oslo detectives Gunnarstranda and Frølich to get their teeth into, as a woman’s body is found wrapped in plastic. Alex Gray’s Still Dark reacquaints us with her DCI sleuth, William Lorimer, as a New Year’s Eve is disturbed by carnage at a Glasgow house party.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/kjell-ola-dahl-alex-gray-10229

 

Saturday 19th August  

 

Dexter Dias

11:00am – 12:00pm

 Garden Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00

THE RENAISSANCE BARRISTER

Dexter Dias is a QC who has handled some of the biggest cases in the land and has a formidable reputation among his fellow barristers. He has also written five novels. Yet his new book, The Ten Types of Human, is completely different. A pioneering examination of human nature, it examines the best and the worst that humans are capable of. Chaired by Ruth Wishart.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/dexter-dias-10278

 

John Gordon Sinclair

 7:15pm – 8:15pm 

 Studio Theatre 

 £12.00, £10.00

FACING DOWN THE MAFIA

Putting yet further distance between himself and Gregory’s Girl, John Gordon Sinclair introduces his third crime novel, Walk in Silence. When an organised crime outfit kidnaps a boy and demands one of their own is released, lawyer Keira Lynch is caught in a bind. Should she co-operate with people who once shot her or is she about to play a deadly game of cat and mouse?

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/john-gordon-sinclair-2-10269

For more information about these and other events going on you can check out the Edinburgh International Book Festival at https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/, Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/edbookfest/, Twitter page at https://twitter.com/edbookfest/ or Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/edbookfest/

There’s Been a Murder Pick of the Edinburgh Book Festival Saturday 12th August – Tuesday 15th August 2017

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Saturday 12th August

Paula Hawkins

6:45pm – 7:45pm 

Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

 £12.00, £10.00

DIVING FOR DEAR LIFE

The Girl on the Train was not only a huge number one bestseller in 2015 (smashing all manner of Dan Brown-shaped chart records), it also became a massive success in cinemas a year later. Zimbabwe-born Paula Hawkins’s second novel, Into the Water, has had fans turning pages at a furious pace as her central character Jules digs around for the truth behind her sister’s mysterious death.

Angus Peter Campbell & Iain F Macleod

 Sat 12 Aug 8:30pm – 9:30pm

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00

OF MASKS AND MURDERS

An award-winning poet and novelist in both Gaelic and English, Angus Peter Campbell’s Memory and Straw is a novel about artificial intelligence and a quest for authenticity that ranges from New York to Rome via the Highlands. In Gaelic novelist Iain F Macleod’s Dioghaltas, a police inspector returning to Lewis quickly finds he has three murders to cope with.

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich with Val McDermid

 8:45pm – 9:45pm

Studio Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

A MURDER MEMOIR

The Fact of a Body is an enthralling piece of non-fiction storytelling. Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich came face to face with a child murderer on death row during a law internship. A fierce opponent of the death penalty, she was shocked to find herself overcome by the urge to see him dead. Digging deeper into the man’s case, she realized something in his story was unsettlingly familiar. Marzano-Lesnevich reveals how her experience forced her to face her own story and unearth long-buried family secrets. She talks to Val McDermid.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/alexandria-marzano-lesnevich-with-val-mcdermid

Sunday 13th August

James Runcie

11:45am – 12:45pm

Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

GOODBYE TO GRANTCHESTER

In Sidney Chambers and the Persistence of Love, the sixth and final book in James Runcie’s Grantchester Mysteries, we have moved forward to the 1970s and our amateur detective priest finds himself investigating drug-dealing hippies. An engagingly witty talker about his work, Runcie has also had the satisfaction of seeing it become a prime time TV success. Chaired by Allan Little.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/james-runcie-1-9670

Mario Giordano & Tim Walker

 2:30pm – 3:30pm

Bosco Theatre (George Street)

£12.00, £10.00

CRIME WITH THE SUNNY SIDE UP

Not all crime’s streets are dark and mean. Bavaria-born Mario Giordano’s eccentric protagonist heads for the Med in Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions, while Brit Tim Walker opts for a Californian coast setting in Smoke Over Malibu, described as ‘Lovejoy meets Lebowski’, where the theft of a vintage cookie jar sparks an ‘inaction thriller’. Two reminders that soft-boiled mysteries can be fun too. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.

Jorn Lier Horst

 5:45pm – 6:45pm

Garden Theatre

£12.00, £10.00
PUTTING THE EURO HEAT ON COLD CASE

Christmas 1983 in a small Norwegian town, a young police officer investigates an unsolved mystery which will shape his life for the coming years. Jorn Lier Horst devotees will be delighted to learn of the prequel to the bestselling William Wisting series, When It Grows Dark

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/jorn-lier-horst-denzil-meyrick-9974

 

Martin Holmén & Michael J Malone

 8:30pm – 9:30pm

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00

CRIME ACROSS A COLD-BLOODED CONTINENT

Our thirst for compelling European crime fiction seems unlikely to ever be quenched, so thank goodness for the likes of Martin Holmén and Michael J Malone. The former’s Down for the Count is a no-holds barred Swedish thriller about a former boxer hell-bent on vengeance having just been released from jail, while the latter’s Dog Fight has been dubbed as Glasgow’s Fight Club. Chaired by Joe Haddow.

Monday 14th August

Russel D McLean & Karolina Ramqvist

 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre

£8.00, £6.00

WOMEN ON THE EDGE

Two women are left picking up the pieces when their boyfriends disappear leaving behind debt, danger and despair. Russel D McLean’s fantastically entertaining modern noir, Ed’s Dead, has bookshop worker Jen accidentally killing her drug dealer boyfriend. The White City is the celebrated bestseller from Karolina Ramqvist, an intimate portrayal of a woman’s downfall through her complicit relationship with the world of crime.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/russel-d-mclean-karolina-ramqvist

Stuart MacBride

 8:45pm – 9:45pm

Studio Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

MURDER, HE WROTE

Aberdeen’s Stuart MacBride steps away from Logan McRae and Ash Henderson, the characters who have regularly planted him in the bestseller list, for A Dark So Deadly, a stand-alone thriller featuring DC Callum MacGregor. Having been demoted to a squad of misfits, MacGregor stumbles upon a huge case when a mummified body turns out to have been the work of an appalling serial killer. Chaired by Brian Taylor.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/stuart-macbride-4-9990

 

Tuesday 15th August 

Peter Robinson

 7:15pm – 8:15pm

Studio Theatre

£12.00, £10.00

CRIME FICTION DOES PAY

When it comes to long-running detective series in the UK, the pile-up of DCI Banks stories are leaving most of the rest behind. Sleeping in the Ground is the 24th instalment and revolves around mass murder at a church wedding. Peter Robinson tells us how a writer keeps the energy and inspiration going when it comes to a single crime-solving character.

https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/peter-robinson-2-10010

 

For more information about these and other events going on you can check out the Edinburgh International Book Festival at https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/, Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/edbookfest/, Twitter page at https://twitter.com/edbookfest/ or Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/edbookfest/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wendy H Jones Killer’s Crypt

This is the sixth book in the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries

Where better to dump a dead body than in a crypt? As the body count rises faster than the soaring temperatures, DI Shona McKenzie is hurtled into the midst of another deadly case. But this killer is always one step ahead of the law. Why? The revelation will shock them to the core.

Launch: Monday 14th August 6pm Waterstones Dundee

Website: http://www.wendyhjones.com

https://twitter.com/WendyHJones

Amazon: http://author.to/WendyHJones

There’s been a murder interview with Ian Skewis

1. How did you get started writing? 

 

I started writing in 1989. I had some poems published in a local paper, which then led to an invite to join the team of a local free paper called The West-Ender. I lasted there for about half a year before I needed to leave in order to pursue my studies at art school in Aberdeen.

 

2. What drew you to write a novel? 

 

In 1979 my family and I discovered a dead body of a man hanging from a tree in the countryside. I was nine years old. I felt compelled to write about it some ten years later, perhaps as a way of dealing with it. The idea was to write a graphic novel, but as time went on it developed into a proposal for a stage play, and then, after many years of putting it off, and then dusting it down and looking at it time and again, it finally transformed into the first draft of what would become A Murder Of Crows. It took that long!

 

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

 

Alan Moore's graphic novel Swamp Thing was an early influence and I'm a big fan of Graham Greene, Ian McEwan and Iain Banks. My writing was once compared to Banks' early work, which was flattering, but I try to just be myself really.

 

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

 

It was difficult in that there is so much information and so much mis-information it's tricky to know where to start searching. I was lucky in that my novel was snapped up very quickly (after some 28 years of working on it!) and now it's having a bit of a snowball effect. In the end you have to do what's right for you, which isn't necessarily going to be the correct thing for other writers.

 

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

 

Alice Smith seems to be everyone's favourite and she was my favourite character to write. I enjoyed writing from the perspective of someone who has dementia and it was very troubling living inside her mind for the duration of that story. A challenge, but it was absolutely worth it.

 

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

 

I was regularly in touch with an ex-police officer, who taught me about the procedural aspects of the story. I also did some research on dementia, though it exists in my family, so some of that came from direct experience.

 

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

 

Some of them are, but only loosely, though I did write a short story, Inkling, which featured a deceased acquaintance of mine. I had a really weird dream about him and wrote it down. It was then published in The Speculative Book.

 

8. How do you feel about being on the list for the Not The Booker Prize?

 

I was shocked! Pleasantly so. I had no idea I'd been put forward for it. I never got through to the short list, but to be honest, I didn't expect to. The competition was very fierce. But I'm very happy to have been a contender.

 

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

 

Yes, there are elements of myself in the two protagonists, Jack and Scott. Despite the fact that they are poles apart they both share an introspection and, for Jack certainly, an empathy for others. That's very me.

 

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

 

I'm currently working on the sequel to A Murder Of Crows, which is coming along nicely and has some very surprising twists, some which even I did not see coming! I'm also working on two other book proposals and a short story anthology entitled Borrowed, which is being crowdfunded at the moment.

 

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

 

Whilst I'm carving out an identity for myself as a writer I can't conceive of writing with someone else. Never say never, but I do like the solitary confinement of writing.

 

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

 

Have courage. Don't procrastinate. Just go out there and do it.

‘There are shades of Iain Banks’ early works in here, and that is a very good thing.’
Russel D McLean, 2014.

A Murder Of Crows is the debut novel by Ian Skewis.

An intriguing dark, crime thriller that is both psychological and unsettling.

The story begins when the most violent thunderstorm in living memory occurs above the fictional town of Hobbs Brae on the west coast of Scotland – a young couple, Alistair and Carol, take shelter in the woods, never to be seen again.

Jack Russell is the detective who tries unsuccessfully to maintain a relationship with his estranged wife and his all too distant son. Approaching retirement, he agrees to undertake one final investigation as a way of escaping his personal problems and ending his career on a high. He is assigned to the case of Alistair and Carol – a case that he believes will be solved easily.

However, the clues in the forest lead him to the unnerving conclusion that he is following in the footsteps of a psychopath who is just getting started. Jack is flung headlong into a race against time to prevent the evolution of a killer. But the arrival of a stranger with an unlikely alias and the machinations of an ambitious adversary, conspire to lead him unwittingly into a trap devised by a serial killer who knows him all too intimately…

Twitter@IanSkewis

Publishers

https://unbound.com/books/borrowed

https://unbound.com/books/a-murder-of-crows

Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ian-Skewis/e/B06XX5C8BK/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

 

There’s been a murder author interview with Claire Macleary 

1. How did you get started writing?  

I’d always wanted to write. Won essay prizes at school, read English at university, held down jobs in advertising. But for years I was too busy running my own business and raising a family to contemplate anything more. It was only when my children reached senior school that I joined a Dundee University Continuing Education class in Creative Writing. At the end of the year, the group – Nethergate Writers – published an anthology of short stories. I was in print!

 

 

2. What drew you to write a novel 

 

Having a number of my short stories published increased my confidence.

A window of opportunity then allowed me to enrol on a one year full-time course in Creative Writing at Dundee, where what became the first scene in my crime novel formed part of my first semester writing folio. My 17,000-word dissertation showed me I had the ability to move beyond the short story so, after graduating MLitt with distinction in 2011, I sat down to write Cross Purpose.

 

 

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

 

My style is pared-down, leaving much to the reader’s imagination. It has evolved over time and been subject to many influences: Dickens and Dostoevsky in my teens, Scott Fitzgerald and Raymond Carver in my twenties through to Edith Pearlman and Carol Shields in the present day.

Writers I aspire to include: Chekov, Katherine Mansfield and Lorrie Moore for their short stories, William Boyd for his breadth of vocabulary and empathy, Alice Munro for close observation, Jayne Anne Phillips for dense, lyrical prose.

 

 

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

 

It took several years between completing my novel and seeing it in print.

My first break came when I successfully pitched to agent Jenny Brown, who encouraged me to work with crime editor Al Guthrie.

I then submitted the synopsis and first three chapters of Cross Purpose to a handful of publishers. All of them asked to read the full manuscript. Two made an offer.

I chose to sign with Saraband, under their dedicated crime imprint, Contraband. Owner Sara Hunt offered me a two book deal. Her author Graeme Macrae Burnet was subsequently short-listed for The Booker Prize.

 

 

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

 

My readers’ favourite is Big Wilma, probably because she’s larger than life and a bit dodgy.!

I find all my characters absorbing. They live in my head, and have a habit of speaking to me, often at four in the morning. I rarely know what they’re going to do next. If there’s one that intrigues me, it’s ‘baddie’ James Gilruth. It will be interesting to see when, and if, he shows his weak spot.

 

 

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

 

Until I set out to write a crime novel, I’d read hardly any crime, other than the occasional spy thriller, so the first thing I did was read extensively: mainly Scottish, but also Scandi, French and Italian authors.

In plotting my novel, I deliberately steered away from the well-trodden path of the detective with a drink/divorce problem or the highly-skilled forensic scientist. Instead, my protagonists are two ill-matched non-professional ‘women of a certain age’ – the sort of characters readers’ can readily identify with. Think Tartan Noir meets Happy Valley!

More specific research involved a visit to the Dissection Room at Dundee University’s Life Sciences faculty and to the Council Mortuary in Aberdeen, along with reconnaissance visits to Aberdeen locations I planned to use.

I also sought the assistance of a former Aberdeen detective and a private investigator.

 

 

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

 

No, though they are informed by experience. In the 80s, I lived as a university wife in Old Aberdeen and my son went to nursery in Seaton, so I saw first-hand the void between student life and the deprivation experienced by many residents in Seaton, as evidenced by Willie Meston and his gang of toe-rags.

 

 

8. How do you feel to be on the short list for the Bloody Scotland 2017

Macillvaney crime book of the year award 

 

I’m a huge admirer of the late Willie McIlvanney, founding father of Tartan Noir, as Scottish crime fiction has come to be known.

I heard the news on a boat in Bratislava. Sara Hunt, my publisher, had been trying to call me. My phone was switched off, and there was no Wi-fi reception other than in Bratislava’s Old Town. So I rushed ashore, found a bar, and the rest… Well, how would you feel if your debut novel was up there with Val McDermid, Denise Mina, Lin Anderson, Ian Rankin?

I was, as Big Wilma would say, “knocked off my stotter!”

 

 

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

 

My daughter tells me I go at everything head-on, so perhaps there’s a bit of that in Wilma. I’m also driven, as Maggie is in her quest for justice. Plus, my favourite tipple is red wine!

 

 

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

 

I’ve recently submitted to my editor the first draft of Burnout. Every bit as “dark and devious” as Cross Purpose, the second in the Harcus & Laird series features the same cast of characters and addresses white collar domestic abuse. Burnout is scheduled for launch next spring.

 

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

 

Where do I start? There are so many crime writers I admire and to whom today’s crime fiction authors owe a debt of gratitude. However, I’ll opt for a woman, and that woman is the late Phyllis James. Why? Because she was so wise, and so gracious with it. Also because she lived to a ripe old age!

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

 

Be realistic. Getting published is a long process. You won’t earn much and will often be disappointed.

 

If you’re still motivated, sit down and do it. To help you along, join a writing group/book club/evening class. Seek out other writers. Start to think like a writer.

 

Persevere. It’s 90% a question of chipping away and 10% luck.
Claire MacLeary


When Maggie Laird’s disgraced ex-cop husband suddenly dies, her humdrum suburban life is turned upside down. With the bills mounting, she takes on his struggling detective agency, enlisting the help of neighbour ‘Big Wilma’. And so an unlikely partnership is born.
But the discovery of a crudely mutilated body soon raises the stakes… and Maggie and Wilma are drawn into an unknown world of Aberdeen’s sink estates, clandestine childminding and dodgy dealers.
Cross Purpose is surprising, gritty, sometimes darkly humorous – a tale combining police corruption, gangs and murder with a paean to friendship, loyalty and how ‘women of a certain age’ can beat the odds.

Author, Contraband, the crime imprint of Saraband, publisher of the Man Booker shortlisted ‘His Bloody Project’

Debut novel ‘Cross Purpose’ longlisted for The McIlvanney Prize 2017

Cross Purpose events:

 – NoirAtTheBar Dundee 26 July

Website

http://clairemacleary.com/
Facebook

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Twitter

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Publisher Website

http://saraband.net/sb-title/cross-purpose/

Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Claire-MacLeary/e/B06XTFDRF6/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

 

Crime at the Castle with Wendy h jones 


A Funny Thing Happened on a Day at the Castle 

My tale is a lesson on what can happen when you take a punt. A couple of months ago I had a day out at Glamis Castle. There was a Royal Robes exhibition on, and I particularly wanted to see it. The exhibition is spectacular and well worth seeing by the way.

 

What is even more spectacular is what grew out of that visit. I have long been interested in running a crime event at Glamis Castle. I got chatting to a lovely American lady who worked there. It turned out we were both writers so I enquired who I would ask about putting on a Crime Writing Festival there. It turned out the lady I was chatting to, Pauline Cawdery, was the very person I needed. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together.

 

From a day out, Scotland’s newest, and most unique, Crime Festival was born – Crime at the Castle. I am honoured and delighted to have been one of the co-founders with the castle. My good friend, Suzanne Milne, has now come on board and is a very welcome addition to the organising committee. I am pleased to say she is as excited as I am about the event, and I’m sure between us all we will make it a great success.

 

Glamis Castle have been amazing. The event will use the whole castle, including the Dining Room, Drawing Room, Queen Mothers Sitting Room, Chapel and 16th Century Chambers. The bookshop and book signings will be held in the Crypt. There is a cracking line-up of top Crime Writers. Who are they, I hear you ask? That, my friends, will have to remain a mystery. All will be revealed at the end of July.

 

The date for your diary is 24th February 2018. Ticket sales will open at the end of July, when the speakers are officially announced. Until then, make sure it’s in your diary, and watch this space.

There’s been a murder author interview with Tana Collins


 

 1. How did you get started writing

 

I always loved writing short stories at school but it was many years before I attempted to write a full length novel. The seeds must have been germinating in my mind though as I woke up in the middle of the night about ten years ago with a working title and opening scene of a violent murder and that story became my debut novel, Robbing the Dead.

 

2. What drew you to write a crime novel

 

I had never even read a crime novel until I picked up Peter Robinson’s In a Dry Season, about thirteen years ago. I loved the blurb on the back of the book and the fact it was set in two timeframes, present day and Second World War. As soon as I started reading it I was knocked out, not just by the characterisation, but by the strong sense of place Robinson manages to convey in his portrayal of Yorkshire. I knew then that I wanted to write a novel with a strong sense of place. And I knew it would have to be set in Scotland.

 

 

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

 

I have to admit to being a massive Enid Blyton fan when I was a child. The Secret Seven books were the first series I ever read and I guess the author got me wanting to write a series of my own! Peter Robinson was my biggest influence. I was thrilled when I found out he was giving a summer writing course in Estonia a few years ago. I booked myself on it and flew out. That was quite an adventure. I love Henning Mankell for his characterisation and social commentary. I’m also a big fan of Peter May and Ann Cleeves.

 

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

 

I was incredibly lucky. I waited until I had three completed novels before I started trying to find a publisher. I got picked up by Bloodhound Books who offered me a three book publishing contract last October within eight months of looking for a publisher.

 

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

 

I like both my leads, DCI Jim Carruthers and DS Andrea Fletcher. I only noticed when I finished writing Robbing the Dead, that Carruthers is more like me in personality and Fletcher has more of my life experiences.

 

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

 

I’ve done a lot of research for all of my novels. Robbing the Dead is based on a true event that occurred in the early 1970s. I like to find interesting details about events which humanise them and which we can all relate to. The second novel, Care to Die, was also inspired by events back in the 1970s and how these events have impacted on people’s lives over forty years later. In some ways it’s an even darker read than Robbing the Dead. For the third novel, Mark of the Devil, which is definitely not about the 1970s, I had to do a lot of research on international art crime which was fascinating.

 

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

 

I think as a writer most of our main characters are based on people we know to some extent but they are usually made up of several different people. A couple of my characters are based on people I used to work with twenty years ago when I first moved to Edinburgh but I had better say no more than that!

 

 

8. What do you think makes your novels stand out from all the other Crime Fiction Novels out there

 

I’ve had some amazing reviews on Amazon and Goodreads for Robbing the Dead which have thrilled me! It’s hard to believe that in the first fortnight of publication the novel sold nearly 1,000 copies. Readers seem to like the fast pace of my novels (no slow burners for me!) the flawed but likeable characters and the fact I try to make my storylines interesting and original.

 

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

 

In terms of personality I’m probably more like Jim Carruthers than anyone else. We both tend to brood and both like our ‘alone’ time. And we both love the environment. A little known fact about Jim is that he is a member of the RSPB but he won’t admit that to his colleagues. He’s also got his flaws. He’ll cut corners when he thinks he can get away with it, has difficulty with authority figures and can be hot headed but basically he’s a decent guy doing a difficult job.

 

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

 

Care to Die is being published on 1st June 2017 so I’m really excited about that. It has the same set of characters as are in the first novel but their personal lives have moved on. Like the first book it is set in present day Fife but our Inspector Carruthers has to fly to Iceland in this story. The novel has lots of twists and turns so will keep our investigative team busy.

 

11.What was your favourite Scene to write and why

 

I’m not sure I have a favourite scene although I do like the early scene where we first meet Inspector Carruthers and see him leaving his Anstruther cottage to go to the locus where the body of the young man has been found. I enjoy weaving in some local colour and history of the place I’m writing about and Fife is full of both!

 

12. As a up and coming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share

 

Don’t give up! I can’t tell you how close Robbing the Dead came to being ditched. And the truth of it is that early on it just wasn’t good enough to be published. It had two massive rewrites and I’m delighted I persevered. Read everything you can get your hands on in your genre. Hang out with other crime writers. They are incredibly supportive of new writers. Last bit of advice would be get yourself a good editor before approaching publishers.

 

In a small Scottish university town, what links a spate of horrible murders, a targeted bomb explosion and a lecturer’s disappearance? Is a terror group involved? If so, who is pulling the strings? And what does something that happened over forty years ago have to do with it? 
Having recently returned to Castletown in the hope of winning back his estranged wife, DCI Jim Carruthers finds himself up to his eyes in the investigation.
Struggling with a very different personal problem, DS Andrea Fetcher assists Jim in the hunt for the murderous perpetrators. To prevent further violence they must find the answers quickly. But will Jim’s old adversary, terror expert McGhee, be a help or a hindrance?

Struggling with his demotion back to DI and his concern for the grieving DS Andrea Fletcher, Jim Carruthers is thrown in at the deep end when the body of an old man is discovered stabbed to death in a nature reserve- a ball of cloth rammed into the back of the victim’s throat. The only suspect is a fifteen-year-old neighbour who is known to the police for antisocial behaviour. But the teenager has an alibi. 
When a second elderly man is also found dead at the same locale, with the same MO, Carruthers starts to wonder if they have a serial killer on their hands.
On discovering that the first victim, Ruiridh Fraser, has an estranged son living in Iceland, Carruthers flies out to interview the man, now convinced that the reason behind Fraser’s death lies in his past.
But what does the disappearance of a twelve year old boy forty years before, the brutal murder of a former journalist and a bitter local dispute about a nature reserve, have to do with the investigation?
Can Carruthers and Fletcher solve the case while battling their own demons?
And are they hunting for one killer or more?
 https://www.facebook.com/Tana-Collins-490774634440829/
Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tana-Collins/e/B06X3Q4HBH/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

There’s been a murder author interview with Helen Fields

1. How did you get started writing? 

The first two books I wrote, I self-published. At that stage I didn’t try to get an agent or explore the traditional publishing route. I was testing myself to see if I enjoyed the process and could start and finish projects. Also, it’s hard to edit and you really have to develop that skill, so it was a great starting point. The books are in the cross-over fantasy genre, and there are still characters in them I think about. After I got an agent, I changed to writing crime fiction which is where my area of expertise is, given my time working as a criminal barrister.

2. What drew you to write a crime novel 

Writing crime was an obvious choice for me, but also the genre I love to read. I like thrillers and enjoy police procedurals, so I combined them in Perfect Remains, where you see both the police, and are able to watch the antagonist on his own, following the plight of the women he has abducted. It seemed like the best of both worlds to be able to follow both strands of the story.
3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing? 

As a child my first love was Tolkien. I adored his ability to world build, and to create enduring characters whose lives you really cared about. It wasn’t long until I found the dark side, however, and I read and reread everything by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Herbert and any other horror writers I could find. These days I like a good mix of genres, although you can’t beat Christopher Brookmyre for crime as far as I’m concerned. I love Patricia Cornwell for the forensic details, and my most recent discovery was ES Thomson. I do enjoy historical thrillers, which is the other genre I write in these days. 

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

I was very lucky finding an agent, but I made sure I did my research and only applied to agents interested in my genre and who were actively looking for new writers to represent. I found my agent through the Winchester Writers’ Conference and can thoroughly recommend such events for networking and getting your name out there. It’s not all plain sailing though. It still took some time to get a publishing deal. There’s no quick fix when it comes to writing. Everything takes ten times longer than you expect. You have to accept that you’re in the business for the long haul and fill those months of no news with words on the page.

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

I think my favourite character from Perfect Remains is DI Ava Turner, mainly because she’s the woman I wish I was. She’s funny, keeps her nerve, is unflappable and hard to impress.And she’s the sort of person I’d want as a friend. I think if you can write those people into your work, you add a natural warmth to the narrative. I dislike reading novels where I can’t find any characters I genuinely like because it means I end up not investing in the story fully.

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

The research for Perfect Remains was in two parts. The first was proper locations scouting – I don’t write about places I haven’t personally visited if I can possibly avoid it, down to every bar, street and park. That was blissful of course, because I had excuses to spend plenty of time in Scotland. The second part was the forensics. Whilst I dealt with a lot of forensic evidence as a criminal lawyer, the scenarios in my novel are very specific and required careful reading (particularly the teeth). I don’t recommend anyone to type in “amateur dentistry” to a search engine though. I had nightmares.

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

The characters in my book are not based on any single people who really exist, but aspects of their characters are drawn from a variety of police officers, experts and defendants I met during my career. What brings characters to life are the details – the things they love, their habits, their sense of humour. DI Luc Callanach is not based on anyone though. (If anyone knows a half French half Scottish former model turned policeman I would LOVE to meet him!)

8. What do you think makes your novels stand out from all the other Crime Fiction Novels out there 

I hope that Perfect Remains stands out in the crime genre by virtue of opening the door to see inside the head of a psychopath. I like to be scared, and I like crossing the threshold of normality. Some readers have said that Perfect Remains is too much for them, and I sympathise, but that’s really the point. I wanted to explore the deaths of a twisted human psyche and to follow their train of thought. What’s more scary than that?
9. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa? 

 I don’t really see myself reflected in any of my characters. For me, writing is escapism, so as far as possible I’m trying to create a life well beyond my own experiences and personality.

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

Books two and three in the DI Callanach series are already written. Perfect Prey comes out on 27 July this year and I’m really excited about it! Two killers this time, and I wouldn’t want to bump into either of them on a dark night. Ava is going through some tough stuff in her personal life, and it leads her to make some bad choices. Callanach makes a couple of new (if unlikely) friends and is forced to operate under the radar to solve a case. I absolutely loved writing it. But again, I’m afraid, this one’s not for the faint-hearted.
11. What is your favourite scene in your novel and why

I think my favourite scene in Perfect Remains is when Ava gets into a fight in the pub, and handles it with her usual cool head. I took up marital arts a couple of years ago as a way to get actively involved in an activity with my kids, so it was fun to put that knowledge to some use. Also, I love the idea that Luc is sufficiently sure of Ava’s ability to handle herself that he didn’t feel the need to intervene. The feminist in me enjoyed writing it.

12. As a up and coming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share

What would I say to any up and coming writers? It’s all possible. Yes, you need discipline, dedication, and the time and space to write. Also, you need a clear head for editing. But actually there’s no magic to what writers do. You build one sentence after another. Write not what you know, but what you love. Write the book you’d like to read. Write what moves and excites you. If I hurt or kill a character I care about, I’ll do so with tears streaming down my face. If you can’t move yourself, you can’t move anyone else. Create stories that stick in your head long after you’ve turned off the light. Oh, and editing – it can’t be rushed. Never send out a work you haven’t polished. 
Books – (Self-published: ‘The Immolation of Eve’ and ‘The Vengeance of Legion’
DI Callanach Thrillers

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing. In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness…Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care. It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes …The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined. 

The second in the terrifying DI Callanach crime series.

In the midst of a rock festival, a charity worker is sliced across the stomach. He dies minutes later. In a crowd of thousands, no one saw his attacker. The following week, the body of a primary school teacher is found in a dumpster in an Edinburgh alley, strangled with her own woollen scarf.
DI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach have no motive and no leads – until around the city, graffitied on buildings, words appear describing each victim.
It’s only when they realise the words are appearing before rather than after the murders, that they understand the killer is announcing his next victim…and the more innocent the better.

Twitter – @Helen_Fields

Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Helen-Fields/e/B006M3SPSS/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1