Free Book Giveaway – Lethal Injection

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

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

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


There’s been a murder author interview with Dave K McDonald

1. How did you get started

I started writing books on philosophy and psychology, and some poetry, then wrote this latest crime novel.

It’s best to illustrate why we should all write rather than me individually.

I was at Glasgow airport one day, sitting in the lounge, when this rather brash young girl, 8 or 9, came up to me with a copy of my first book. She boldly said “this is you, isn’t it?” (I could not argue as my picture was on the back). I said yes. “well,” she said, “I want you to sign this for me because my mum is over there, and it’s her birthday next week.” I said ok, and asked “do you write?”. She said “oh yes, every night I got bed and write in my notebook, but not anymore because I want to be rich and famous like you.” (Which I am obviously not!). With a child, you should use an analogy to explain your view. I said, “Well, tonight, when you write in bed, imagine your fingers going all the way down to your heart. You pull a small piece out and you write with that. And if anyone ever says to you they don’t like it, you tell them these words are a piece of you, and when we are all gone, and even the mountains and the sea are gone, these words will remain forever. That’s why we should write – to leave behind a piece of our heart that will always be there.”

That cost me an ice-cream, a copy of my book and a hug. A small price to pay.

2. What drew you to write a novel?

After writing on philosophy and psychology (where my heart lies), I thought maybe I could reach a larger audience to put a message across by writing a crime novel.

3.Which writers influenced you?

I would say writers with intrigue, slightly old-fashioned – the novel has not much sex or violence.

It’s more a plot to make the reader think. With that in mind, Frederick Forsyth (The Day of the Jackal) is our best writer I believe.

4. Hard to get published?

Yes, but you must be persistent, and don’t allow refusals to get you depressed. This is hard because the novel will contain your persona, your heart and soul, and to have it rejected can be devastating. However remember J.K. Rowling was rejected 27 times before she found a publisher.

5. Interesting characters?

Probably the lawyer, because he is the cement that binds the case and without his insight and, in a way, legal deviousness, the twins would not have been able to stay together.

6. Research

Quite complex, I had to firstly research what states had the death penalty, and this changes constantly. I then had to review their judicial and appellate system (even American lawyers don’t fully understand it).

The book had to also not just be proofread, but also “Americanised” i.e. we say pavement, they say “sidewalk.” Readers pick up on these things quickly and are keen to highlight any mistakes.


7. Characters focused on real life people

Not particularly,. But there is currently a convict on death row, I think in Texas, where his lawyer has filed for a stay of execution stating that they have found a letter of confession from the accused twin-brother, saying he raped and murdered the victim.

As the evidence was based on DNA (semen), and CCTV, being mitochondrial twins (i.e. from the same egg) this rules this evidence out as inadmissible.

The problem is that this twin brother was killed in a gang fight, so all they have to go on is the written confession. It would be unlikely that they would execute anyone on the strength of a handwriting expert. However this will go to the supreme court.

I would hate to think that this appeal has been lodged because someone has read the novel.

8. Favourite scene

The last one, and that’s because when you write a crime novel you have to write it in reverse. You want to keep an intrigue and spring a surprise at the end, but to do that you must lay the groundwork from the start, trying to leave enough indications of the plot to invite speculation. A classic “who done it” I suppose.

9. Do you see any of the characters personality in yourself, or vice versa?

Strangely enough perhaps with Sandra. She shows a different more caring and more thoughtful insight into her sexuality, and consequently this influences her relationship with the D.A.

10. Sneaky peek into a new novel

I am working on a new crime plot, with a psychological twist. Its got to be different and that’s hard. You must surprise and intrigue the reader.

11. Who would you like to write with, dead or alive?

Probably Frederick Forsyth, Alistair Maclean or Robert Ludlum – all great writers.

For non-fiction, it would be Maslow, Einstein or Allan Turin because of their great insight.

12. Advice to writers

Apart from my reply to question 1, I could add this: someone asked me about a poem I had written and she said “How do you write like that?” I said, “Well first, you buy a big spade because you have to dig deep. Writing is an emotional nakedness so be prepared, because when it’s out there you can’t cover it up.”

An example of this: the poem I treasure the most is one I wrote about the sea. It was also published in our local paper, and one day an old man stopped me in the street and asked if I had written it, and I told him I had. This old man had been at sea all his life, fought in the Second World War, and the sea was everything to him. He never married, and eventually came home to his croft by the sea, However, with the injuries he suffered during the Russian Convoys, the power in his legs was beginning to fail. What he said to me is really the reason we should write. He said “I haven’t read much poetry, but when I read the words you wrote about the sea, I can smell it and taste it, and for that I will always be grateful.”

I think you don’t really read a poem or even contemplate it, it’s the poignancy that counts. A poem is an orchestration of words from your heart that reaches another.


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

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


A Book of YouEmotional DNA Your Uniqueness Explored

Toby Faber Close to the Edge Blog Tour

As the grandson of Faber’s founder, Toby Faber grew up steeped in the company’s books and its stories. He was Faber’s managing director for four years and remains a non-executive director and chairman of sister company Faber Music.

How did you get started writing?

I first wrote two non-fiction books about Stradivarius violins and Faberge Eggs. That was a relatively gentle introduction to writing a full length book because to get a publishing deal I had to plan both out in advance, but the experience showed me that I could sustain a narrative for 80,000 words

What drew you to write a novel

I had an idea that wouldn’t go away about my protagonist witnessing someone fall off a tube platform. After two more non-fiction proposals that didn’t get off the ground, I decided to have a go at turning that idea into a novel.

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

That’s hard to say. I’ve always admired PD James for her characters and the sense of place she manages to convey, while obeying what she sees as the rules of detective fiction. My book is not, however, a classic detective book.

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

Each new project has involved going back to square one. My agent for the non-fiction books was not keen on thrillers so I had to move, with two false goes before I was taken on by Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge & White. He got me to do quite a bit of work on the book before sending it out to publishers, and there were several refusals and near-misses before it was taken on by Muswell Press.

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

I like Laurie – the main character – for the way she develops her own sense of independence in the course of the novel, but hope readers end feeling that her flatmate and father are just as interesting and important.

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

I researched the underground a lot, both online and by exploring physical stations. I did not, however, go down there after hours.

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

There’s quite a lot of my father in Laurie’s Dad, but bits of a few other people too, including me.

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

I like the scene towards the end when they meet the voluble neighbour Mrs Shilling. It was a chance to inject a bit of humour, and perhaps let the readers see things that are not yet clear to Laurie, before a moment of real tension.

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

When I first thought about the book (a long time ago), I was a 25-year-old commuting on the underground, a bit like Laurie. I think quite a lot of me got into her in my first draft. There’s probably less of me in her now, and more in her Dad: I’ve grown older.

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

I’m not sure I’m finished with Laurie yet. I think she needs to understand a bit more about her childhood and why they ended up leaving Cambridge.

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

George Macdonald Fraser is not a thriller writer but I loved his series of historical novels about Flashman. I’ve got at least two good ideas for other adventures Flashman could have had in the 19th century.

Do you have words of advice you can share with anyone who is intrested in writing a novel

If you want to write it quickly, don’t do what I did, which was to start with an idea and see where it took me. Instead, develop a really good understanding of your characters and plot the book out carefully. You’ll have fewer false starts!

Close to the Edge by Toby Faber is published by Muswell Press on 11th April, priced £10.99

Morning rush hour on the London tube. Laurie Bateman witnesses a terrible accident. Life had been looking up – she’s dating a new man and finally getting praise at work. But after the accident everything seems to plummet downhill. In the space of a few days her flat is burgled and her flatmate assaulted – she loses her phone and then her job. Are these events linked?  Perhaps what she had seen was something more sinister?  Compelled to investigate, Laurie finds herself in serious danger and is soon fleeing for her life through tube tunnels in the dead of night – the hunter has become the hunted.

Toby’s previous books are Stradivarius and Faberge’s Eggs, both published by Macmillan.

His next non-fiction book, Faber & Faber: The Untold Story, is being published by Faber & Faber in May.








Ragnar Jónasson The Island Blog Tour

Ragnar Jonasson is the award winning author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series and the Hidden Iceland series. He has sold over 600,000 books worldwide, thereof over 300,000 thousand books in France in just two years. His books are published in 21 languages in over 30 countries and his debut, Snowblind, went to number one in the Amazon Kindle charts shortly after publication in the UK. The book was also a no. 1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in Australia. The second book in the series, Nightblind, also became a no. 1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in Australia. Ragnar is also a no. 1 Crime Fiction Bestseller in France, with Blackout topping the crime fiction charts in France in 2019. Ragnar is the winner of the Mörda Dead Good Reader Award 2016 for Nightblind. His latest book in the UK, The Darkness, was selected as the Sunday Times Crime Novel of the Month and Snowblind was selected by The Independent as one of the best crime novels of 2015. His books have also won praise from publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. Ragnar is the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. Ragnar has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik. Ragnar has a law degree and works as an investment banker in Reykjavik, in addition to teaching law at Reykjavik University.

Four friends visit the island.

But only three return . . .

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the isolated island of Elliðaey to investigate and soon finds haunting similarities with a previous case – a young woman found murdered ten years ago in the equally desolate Westfjords.

Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts?

As Hulda navigates a sinister game constructed of smoke and mirrors she is convinced that no one is telling the truth, including those closest to her.

But who will crack first? And what secrets is the island hiding?

Excerpt from The Island

Kópavogur, 1988

The babysitter was late.

The couple hardly ever went out in the evening, so they

had been careful to check she was free well in advance. She had babysat for them a few times before and lived in the next street, but apart from that they didn’t know much about her, or her family either, though they knew her mother to speak to when they ran into her in the neigh- bourhood. But their seven-year-old daughter looked up to the girl, who was twenty-one and seemed very grown-up and glamorous to her. She was always talking about how much fun they had together, what pretty clothes she wore and what exciting bedtime stories she told. Their daugh- ter’s eagerness to have her round to babysit made the couple feel less guilty about accepting the invitation; they felt reassured that their little girl would not only be in good hands but would enjoy herself too. They had arranged for the girl to babysit from six until midnight, but it was already past six, getting on for half past, in fact, and the dinner was due to start at seven. The husband wanted to ring and ask what had happened to her, but his wife was reluctant to make a fuss: she’d turn up.

It was a Saturday evening in March and the atmos- phere had been one of happy anticipation until the babysitter failed to turn up. The couple were looking for- ward to an entertaining evening with the wife’s colleagues from the ministry and their daughter was excited about spending the evening watching films with the babysitter. They didn’t own a VCR but, as it was a special occasion, father and daughter had gone down to the local video shop and rented a machine and three tapes, and the little girl had permission to stay up as late as she liked, until she ran out of steam.

It was just after half past six when the doorbell finally rang. The family lived on the second floor of a small block of flats in Kópavogur, the town immediately to the south of Reykjavík. It was a sleepy sort of place, stuck between Reykjavík and other towns in the metropolitan area, with most of its inhabitants commuting to work in the capital.

The mother picked up the entryphone. It was the baby- sitter at last. She appeared at their door a few moments later, soaked to the skin, and explained that she’d walked over. It was raining so hard it looked like she’d had a bucket of water emptied over her head. She apologized, embarrassed, for being so late.

The couple waved away her apologies, thanked her for standing in for them, reminded her of the main house rules and asked if she knew how to work a video recorder, at which point their daughter broke in to say she didn’t need any help. Clearly, she could hardly wait to bundle her parents out of the door so the video-fest could begin.

In spite of the taxi waiting outside, the mother couldn’t tear herself away. Although they went out from time to time, she wasn’t very used to leaving her daughter. ‘Don’t worry,’ the babysitter said at last. ‘I’ll take good care of her.’ She looked comfortingly reliable as she said this and she’d always done a good job of looking after their daughter in the past. So they finally headed out into the downpour towards the taxi.

As the evening wore on, the mother began to feel increas- ingly anxious about their daughter.

‘Don’t be silly,’ said her husband. ‘I bet she’s having a whale of a time.’ Glancing at his watch, he added: ‘She’ll be on her second or third film by now, and they’ll have polished off all the ice cream.’

‘Do you think they’d let me use the phone at the front desk?’ asked his wife.

‘It’s a bit late to ring them now, isn’t it? I expect they’re asleep in front of the TV.’

In the end, they set off home a little earlier than planned, just after eleven. The three-course dinner was over by then, and, to be honest, it had been a bit under- whelming. The main course, which was lamb, had been bland at best and, after dinner, people had piled on to the crowded dance floor. To begin with, the DJ had played popular oldies, but then he moved on to more recent chart hits, which weren’t really the couple’s sort of thing, although they still liked to think of themselves as young. After all, they weren’t middle-aged yet.

They rode home in silence, the rain streaming down the taxi’s windows. The truth was they weren’t really party people; they were too fond of their creature com- forts at home, and the evening had tired them out, though they hadn’t drunk much, just a glass of red wine with dinner.

As they got out of the taxi, the wife remarked that she hoped their daughter was asleep so they could both crawl straight into bed.

They climbed the stairs without hurrying and opened the door instead of ringing the bell, for fear of disturbing their child. But she wasn’t asleep, as it turned out. She came running to greet them, threw her arms around them and hugged them unusually tightly. To their surprise, she was wide awake.

‘You’re full of beans,’ said her father, smiling at her.

‘I’m so glad you’re home,’ said the little girl. There was an odd look in her eye: something was wrong.

The babysitter emerged from the sitting room and smiled sweetly at them.

‘How did it go?’ asked the mother.

‘Really well,’ the babysitter replied. ‘Your daughter is such a good girl. We watched two videos; a couple of com- edies. She really enjoyed them. And she ate the meatballs you’d prepared – most of them – and a lot of popcorn too.’

‘Thanks so much for coming; I don’t know what we’d have done without you.’

The father took his wallet from his jacket, counted out some notes and handed them to her. ‘Is that right?’

She counted the money herself, then nodded. ‘Yes, perfect.’

After she’d left, the father turned to their daughter. ‘Aren’t you tired, sweetheart?’

‘Yes, maybe a little. But could we watch just a bit more?’ Her father shook his head, saying kindly: ‘Sorry, it’s

awfully late.’

‘Oh, please. I don’t want to go to bed yet,’ said the little

girl, sounding on the verge of tears.

‘OK, OK.’ He ushered her into the sitting room. The

TV schedule was over for the evening but he turned on the video machine and inserted a new cassette.

Then he joined her on the sofa and they waited for the film to begin.

‘It was a nice evening, wasn’t it?’

‘Yes . . . yes, it was fine,’ she said, not very convincingly. ‘She was . . . kind to you, wasn’t she?’

‘Yes,’ answered the child. ‘Yes, they were both kind.’ Her father was puzzled. ‘What do you mean, both?’ he


‘There were two of them.’

Turning round to look at her, he asked again, gently:

‘What do you mean by them?’

‘There were two of them.’

‘Did one of her friends come round?’

There was a brief pause before the girl answered. Seeing the fear in her eyes, he gave an involuntary shiver. ‘No. But it was kind of weird, Daddy . . .’


Dark Iceland series

  1. Snowblind (2010; translation of Snjóblinda, 2009)
  2. Blackout (2011; translation of Myrknætti, 2011)
  3. Rupture (2012; translation of Rof, 2012)
  4. Whiteout (2013; translation of Andköf, 2013)
  5. Nightblind (2014; translation of Náttblinda, 2014)


Hidden Iceland series

  1. The Darkness (2018; translation of Dimma, 2015)
  2. The Island (2019; translation of Drungi, 2016

The Island Amazon book Page

Amazon Author Pageónasson&s=relevancerank&text=Ragnar+Jónasson&ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1


Facebook Author Page


Claire MacLeary Runaway Blog Tour


The third book in the awards-listed Harcus & Laird series

When Aberdeen housewife Debbie Milne abruptly vanishes without trace, leaving behind her two young children, husband Scott is too distraught to sit out the police’s 72-hour window and await developments. He turns to local detective agency Harcus & Laird.

Put off by previous “domestic” cases, Maggie Laird isn’t keen, but is cajoled by partner Wilma Harcus into a covert operation. Together they comb through meagre scraps of information, eventually trawling the city’s women’s refuges and homeless squats, in spite of the deadly danger.

Then a woman’s body is discovered in a Dundee builder’s skip. With the clock ticking and the police struggling to make identification, the race is on. Claire MacLeary fashions a surprising, gritty, fast-paced tale with the warmth and wisdom of ‘women of a certain age’.



Claire MacLeary: blog tour for Runaway

Having opted to place Cross Purpose, my debut crime novel, in a domestic setting, it seemed logical to develop themes of particular interest to women readers. My protagonists, Maggie and Wilma, two ordinary suburban housewives, face challenges with global appeal: the push and pull of motherhood. The constant guilt trip: having to make daily choices between prioritising children over partner or parents or one child over another. The sheer drudgery: the relentless round of shopping and cooking, washing and cleaning. For, despite the introduction of internet grocery shopping and labour-saving devices, the burden of running a home still falls heavily on the woman.

But just because my protagonists are ordinary women – and my novels are set in suburbia – doesn’t lead me to write ‘cosy crime’. On the contrary, my Harcus & Laird series tackles not the shallow ‘women’sinterest’ topics we are so often told we want, rather the bigger, harsher issues women have to contend with in their daily lives. In Cross Purpose, these include the lack of affordable childcare, where mothers on the breadline may have to compromise their children’s safety to hold down employment. Then there’s the ease of children’s access to drugs, and the corrupting power of the Internet on young minds. Burnout, launched in tandem with Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement, tackles white collar domestic abuse: the sexual, financial and psychological control to which even affluent, highly educated women are not immune. In Runaway, home and homelessness are the principal themes: both the mindless routine of raising young children and the physical and emotional toll taken from losing one’s home.

Maggie and ‘Big Wilma’ address these social issues with a fierce determination to combat authority and injustice, but also with a sense of humour. Given thedarkness of the subject matter, Wilma’s couthy wit brings colour to the narrative, the Aberdeen Doricinterest to the dialogue. Think Mannofield meets Happy Valley.

So there you have it, a crime series that is different in several respects: protagonists two non-professional women of ‘a certain age’, Aberdeen domestic setting, tackling big social issues, keeping the Doric alive. And readers seem to enjoy this fresh approach, longlisting Cross Purpose for the McIlvanney Prize for Best Scottish Crime Book 2017 and Burnout for Hearst Big Book Awards Crime Novel of the Year 2018.

1. How did you get started writing?


I read English at university, and I’ve always written, be it advertising copy, training manuals or short stories. Raising a family and a business career diverted my attention. It was only when my children were at senior school that I returned to writing, first attending P/T classes then pursuing a MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Dundee.


2. What drew you to write a novel?


My MLitt studies under novelist Professor Kirsty Gunn, who encouraged me to expand my 17,000-word dissertation into a full length novel.

As to writing crime, the genre featured prominently on the Sunday Times bestseller lists, so seemed a good place to try a follow-up.


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


Chekov, Katherine Mansfield and Lorrie Moore for their short stories, 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?


Surprisingly, no. This was due in part to the literary salons held during my MLitt course, which introduced me to agents and publishers, but principally because I had done extensive research before starting to write.

I submitted my debut novel to two publishers and both made an offer. I opted for a two book deal with Saraband. Sara Hunt ‘got’ Maggie and Wilma, women ‘of a certain age’, straight off, and has been hugely supportive ever since.


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


I love Maggie and Wilma, my two protagonists. They’re an unlikely pair: Maggie petite, conservative, lacking in confidence; Wilma big, bold, brash and a bit dodgy. You can’t help but identify with Maggie’s family problems and Wilma’s yo-yoing weight and faux pas. But I have a soft spot for DI Chisolm. He appears stern and unapproachable, but there’s a back story we haven’t yet been party to, and will he and Maggie ever become an item. Who knows?


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


Now the third in the Harcus & Laird series is about to launch, I’ve learned to leave much of my research until last. That’s because you can spend time on a plot line which later gets excised. However, I did do extensive research on people trafficking and homelessness for Runawayand spent an instructive morning playing FOTBs in a betting shop when I was appearing at Newcastle Noir.


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


I think they’re an amalgam of traits from several people, plus others I’ve conjured from my imagination. Maggie Laird started out narrow, judgemental, something of a snob, but her entrenched attitudes are softening. Wilma Harcus is big-hearted, but always looking for shortcuts.I think both change with experience, as often happens in life.


8. How did you feel about being longlisted for the 2017 McIlvanney Prize?


I was thrilled, of course, to win recognition for my debut novel, Cross Purpose, and grateful that readers saw it as a fresh and different approach to the genre.  But it wasn’t until I was standing on stage with the giants of Scottish crime writing – Val McDermid, Denise Mina, Lin Anderson, Ian Rankin and others – that the significance really sank in.



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


I think Maggie tends to take a run at things, as do I. Otherwise, no. The backgrounds of all my characters to date are very different from my own.


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


I’m working on the fourth in the crime series.  All I can say is that it is going to be really creepy.


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


It’s hard to pin down just one individual from the giants of the genre:Conan Doyle through Josephine Tey to Stephen King and the late PD James, whom I greatly admire. I had the privilege of meeting William McIlvanney, godfather of Tartan Noir. But although he has only written one crime novel – Restless, an espionage thriller – I’ll nominate William Boyd who, for me, personifies all that is admirable in a writer: acute observation of the human condition, elegance of style, wry humour, compassion in spades.


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


Persevere. When I first produced a short story for a creative writing class, I wouldn’t have believed I could sustain a full-length novel, far less see it in print. I firmly believe getting published is 95% hard slog and 5% luck, so join a writing group or class to give you the support you’ll need to cope with rejection and keep chipping away.


Runway Amazon Book Page


Claire MacLeary Amazon Author Page









There’s Been A Murder Crime Picks from Aye Write Book Festival 2019 Blog post 2

Val McDermid

23rd Mar 2019  •  1:15PM – 2:15PM  •  Glasgow Royal Concert Hall 

Broken Ground

Val McDermid

When a body is discovered in the remote depths of the Highlands, DCI Karen Pirie finds herself in the right place at the right time. 
Unearthed with someone’s long-buried inheritance, the victim seems to belong to the distant past and Karen is called in to unravel a case where nothing is as it seems. 
Broken Ground is Val McDermid aka the Queen of Scottish Crime Writing writing at the very top of her game.

Jonathan Freedland (writing as Sam Bourne) 

23rd Mar 2019  •  3:00PM – 4:00PM  •  Mitchell Theatre 

To Kill the Truth

Jonathan Freedland (writing as Sam Bourne)

Due to unforeseen circumstances this event has been cancelled. Our Box Office will be in touch with ticket holders to arrange refunds.

Sam Bourne is the pseudonym of award-winning journalist and broadcaster Jonathan Freedland. His first novel, The Righteous Men was a number one best-seller. 

He returns with the taut, authoritative and explosive To Kill the Truth in which someone is trying to destroy the evidence of history’s greatest crimes. 

As Black Lives Matter protestors clash with slavery deniers, America is on a knife-edge and time is running out. This deadly conspiracy could ignite a new Civil War and take us to the edge of anarchy and a world in which history will be rewritten by those who live to shape it.

Chaired by Alan Little.

Louise Candlish & Lisa Ballantyne

23rd Mar 2019  •  3:00PM – 4:00PM  •  Glasgow Royal Concert Hall 

Secrets and Liars

Louise Candlish & Lisa Ballantyne

On a bright morning in the suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought on Trinity Avenue. Nothing strange about that. Except it’s your house. And you didn’t sell it. Our House by Louise Candlish takes a great premise and waves it into a fresh, fun and engrossing novel. 
While Nick Dean is enjoying an evening at home with his family, he is blissfully unaware that one of his pupils has just placed an allegation of abuse against him. 
Lisa Ballantyne’s Little Liar illustrates the fine line between guilt and innocence, and shows that everyone has their secrets…

Antti Tuomainen & Lilja Sigurdardottir

23rd Mar 2019  •  4:45PM – 5:45PM  •  Glasgow Royal Concert Hall 

Delicious Nordic Noir

Antti Tuomainen & Lilja Sigurdardottir

Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot, and intriguing characters, Lilja Sigurdardottir’s Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.
With a nod to Fargo, and dark noir, Antti Tuomainen’s Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives – chasing their fantasies regardless of reason.

Simon Mayo

23rd Mar 2019  •  8:00PM – 9:00PM  •  Mitchell Theatre 

Mad Blood Stirring

Simon Mayo

Simon Mayo has been one of our most popular radio broadcasters for over 30 years and is one half of the most trusted film reviewing duo around, Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review. 
He is now enjoying a new career as a best-selling novelist. Inspired by a true story, Mad Blood Stirring tells of a few frantic months in the suffocating atmosphere of a prison awaiting liberation. 
It is a story of hope and freedom, of loss and suffering, and how sometimes, in our darkest hour, it can be the most unlikely of things that see us through.
Chaired by Anna Day.

Luca Veste Introduces… B.P Walter & G.R Halliday

23rd Mar 2019  •  8:00PM – 9:00PM  •  Mitchell Library 

Aye Write Introduces

Luca Veste Introduces... B.P Walter & G.R Halliday

Luca Veste of the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast introduces two page-turning crime debuts. In B.P Walter’s A Version of the Truth a devastating secret has simmered beneath the surface for over 25 years. Now it’s time to discover the truth. But what if you’re afraid of what you might find? 
G. R Halliday’s From the Shadows is a stunning, atmospheric police procedural set against the grit of Inverness and the raw beauty of the Scottish Highlands, this is the first book in the DI Monica Kennedy series.

Shaun Bythell Introduces… Daisy Johnson and Alan Trotter

24th Mar 2019  •  6:30PM – 7:30PM  •  Mitchell Library 

Part of the Aye Write introduces series

Shaun Bythell Introduces... Daisy Johnson and Alan Trotter

Shaun Bythell, owner of the largest second-hand bookshop in Scotland and author of Diary of a Bookseller introduces these two extraordinary debuts.

Daisy Johnson’s Everything Under turns classical myth on its head and takes readers to a modern-day England unfamiliar to most. As daring as it is moving, the novel is a story of family and identity, of fate, language, love and belonging that saw Daisy shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize in 2018. 

Drunk on cinematic and literary influence, Alan Trotter’s Muscle is a slice of noir fiction in collapse, a ceaselessly imaginative story of violence, boredom and madness.

Luke Jennings and Helen Fitzgerald

24th Mar 2019  •  8:00PM – 9:00PM  •  Mitchell Library 

As (Crime) Scene on TV

Luke Jennings and Helen Fitzgerald

As the authors of Killing Eve and The Cry, Luke Jennings and Helen Fitzgerald have seen their novels turned into must-see television. 

In No Tomorrow by Luke Jennings the duel between Villanelle and Eve Polastri intensifies, as does their mutual obsession, and when the action moves from the high passes of the Tyrol to the heart of Russia, Eve finally begins to unwrap the enigma of her adversary’s true identity. 

Helen Fitzgerald’s latest book Worst Case Scenario is a perceptive, tragic and hugely relevant book – a heart-pounding, relentless and chilling psychological thriller, rich with deliciously dark and unapologetic humour.

Chaired by novelist and screenwriter Chris Dolan.


There’s Been A Murder Crime Picks from Aye Write Book Festival 2019 Blog post 1

James Oswald, Neil Broadfoot & M.R Mackenzie

14th Mar 2019  •  6:00PM – 7:00PM  •  Mitchell Library


A Central Belt in the Mouth

James Oswald, Neil Broadfoot & M.R Mackenzie

With crime novels set in Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh, these three writers are packing a punch with their latest work.

James Oswald’s Cold as the Grave is the ninth book in the Inspector McLean series which opens with a mummified body hidden in a basement room. 

Neil Broadfoot’s No Man’s Land introduces the rough and ready Connor Fraser as he deals with a mutilated body dumped in the heart of historic Stirling. 

Glasgow librarian M.R Mackenzie’s debut, In the Silence, follows Anna, a criminology lecturer who finds herself as the star witness at the centre of a murder investigation.

 Chaired by Caro Ramsay.

16th Mar 2019  •  6:30PM – 7:30PM  •  Mitchell Library 


The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper

Hallie Rubenhold

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. 

They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers. 

What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. The person responsible was never identified, but ‘Jack the Ripper’, the character created by the press to fill that gap, has become far more famous than any of these five women. 

Historian Hallie Rubenhold finally sets the record straight in her extraordinary new book.

‘A powerful and shaming book, but most shameful of all is that it took 130 years to write.’ (The Guardian)

‘A poignant, absorbing read’ (The Times)

Ursula Buchan

17th Mar 2019  •  1:15PM – 2:15PM  •  Mitchell Library 


A Life of John Buchan

Ursula Buchan

John Buchan’s name is known across the world for The Thirty-Nine Steps

In the past 100 years the classic thriller has never been out of print and has inspired numerous adaptations for film, television, radio and stage, beginning with Alfred Hitchcock’s version. 

Yet there was more to him. He was a scholar, antiquarian, barrister, colonial administrator, journal editor, literary critic, publisher, war correspondent, director of wartime propaganda and a member of parliament. 

Ursula Buchan, his granddaughter, has drawn on recently discovered family documents to write this comprehensive and illuminating biography of a remarkable man and his times.

Anna Mazzola, Douglas Skelton & C.L Taylor

17th Mar 2019  •  8:00PM – 9:00PM  •  Mitchell Library 


These Bloody Islands

Anna Mazzola, Douglas Skelton & C.L Taylor

Three Scottish islands provide the setting for these spell-binding crime novels.
Anna Mazzola’s The Story Keeper is set on the Isle of Skye in 1857 where the Highland Clearances have left devastation and poverty, and a community riven by fear. 
In Douglas Skelton’s Thunder Bay, Roddie Drummond’s return to the fictional island of Stoirm causes a sensation as fifteen years before he was charged with the murder of his lover. 
C.L. Taylor’s Sleep sees insomniac Anna takes a job at a hotel on
Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat turns into a deadly nightmare.
Chaired by Theresa Talbot

Alex Gray & Ann Cleeves

22nd Mar 2019  •  6:00PM – 7:00PM  •  Mitchell Theatre 


Catching Up with Lorimer & Perez

Alex Gray & Ann Cleeves

A very warm welcome back to two of our favourite crime writers discussing their latest novels. 
Alex Grey’s The Stalker is a twisty, heart-stopping crime novel. When Detective Superintendent William Lorimer’s wife, Maggie, publishes her first book, he is thrilled for her. But joy soon turns to fear when a mysterious stranger starts following Maggie on her publicity tour. 
Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves has Shetland detective Jimmy Perez called in to investigate the hanging of a young nanny and rumours of her affair with her employer.

22nd Mar 2019  •  7:45PM – 8:45PM  •  Mitchell Library 


Aspects of Gothic

Craig Russell & E.S. Thomson

The Devil Aspect is best-seller Craig Russell’s masterpiece. 
1935. As Europe prepares itself for a calamitous war, six homicidal lunatics – the so-called ‘Devil’s Six’ – are confined in a remote castle asylum in rural Czechoslovakia. Each patient has their own dark story to tell and Dr Viktor Kosárek, a young psychiatrist using revolutionary techniques, is tasked with unlocking their murderous secrets. 
E.S. Thomson’s latest book, Surgeons’ Hall: A Jem Flockhart Mystery, divides its time between Victorian Edinburgh and London in a macabre world of mortuaries, anatomy lessons, harvested organs and a bloody pact of silence.

22nd Mar 2019  •  9:00PM – 11:00PM  •  Mitchell Library 


Back due to popular demand: Mark Billingham, Chris Brookmyre, Doug Johnstone, Val McDermid, Stuart Neville and Luca Veste 

The Return of the Fun Lovin' Crime Writers

Back due to popular demand: Mark Billingham, Chris Brookmyre, Doug Johnstone, Val McDermid, Stuart Neville and Luca Veste AKA The Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers with their unique brand of rock and roll. 
Their set features some new murderous ballads, grisly grooves and bloodthirsty beats to add to their criminal repertoire. 
Like Hendrix at Woodstock, The Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall or Oasis at King Tut’s – you want to be able to say ‘I was there…’


V.Clifford Who is She Blog Tour

Vicki Clifford was born in Edinburgh and until recently taught Religious Studies at the University of Stirling. She has an unusual background as a freelance hairdresser with a Ph.D on psychoanalysis from the University of Edinburgh. She had her first book, Freud’s Converts, published in 2007. She lives in Perthshire, Scotland. When she isn’t writing she’s cutting hair, walking her dogs or making unorthodox tray bakes.

Beyond Cutting was shortlisted for the Rainbow Awards 2014
Digging up the Dead received an Honourable mention in the Rainbow Awards 2016
The Viv Fraser Mysteries were shortlisted for a Diva Literary Award 2017.

Who is She? No one knows that the past is a strange country more than Scottish sleuth Viv Fraser. In this, the fifth Mystery, Viv is compelled to investigate a series of misadventures that are too close to home. Unravelling a veil of deception she discovers just how much of her past is in the present. No stranger to a challenge, she risks more than her pride hunting down the people who have threatened her family. Mac is on hand to help but will she let him?  

Viv sighed and reminded herself that when people revelled in tiny victories it indicated their actual insecurity. But that didn’t justify inappropriate behaviour. You just had to look at the legacy of Hitler or Stalin to witness what insecure people were capable of. Viv was convinced that her mum was unhappy with the way she was treated by this woman but she had too little proof. Once or twice recently when Viv had said she’d ‘get the warden onto it’ her mum had made excuses so that Viv wouldn’t take action. Viv’s mum was no shrinking violet yet this warden had some sort of power over her. Viv glanced round the small tidy room. A box of tissues disguised under a satin and lace cover crouched on the window sill, a bookcase with a few ‘how to’ books sat beneath a framed certificate on the wall stating that the woman had ‘attended’ a course on communication with the elderly. The warden caught her reading it and glared. The place smelled of mock lavender, definitely more chemical than organic and barely masking another stale smell, which Viv recognised as overfull vacuum cleaner. 

The call took two minutes. The warden conceded and turned her computer screen round so that Viv could view it. A few clicks later she watched the film that Mand had talked about. There definitely was a man going directly up a ladder to her mum’s first floor windows. Why would he do that if he was there to do the whole building? Surely he’d start at the top and work down? She stared at the paltry attempt he’d made at cleaning the window. There was more looking in than cleaning. What was he up to? Viv zoomed in to look for a logo on his clothing but she couldn’t see anything. The company that the housing association employed had to wear uniforms. 

The warden said, ‘He’s definitely not one of the usual men. They’re all vetted and I haven’t seen him before. Also, they’re not allowed to work without uniforms and ID cards.’ There was a knock at the office door. A resident wanted help to open the clothes drier. Reluctantly the warden went with the woman, which left Viv free to download the footage onto a USB stick. It was possible that she’d find the man on another database but not one that she would access easily from a public network computer.

She left the office without saying goodbye and nipped upstairs to her mum’s flat. There was no answer when she knocked. She went back downstairs to the public rooms and through a window in the top of the door she saw her mum with a group of men and women concentrating on a watercolour class. Best leave her to it. She jogged home.

Who is She Amazon Page

Amazon Author Page





Val Penny Hunter’s Revenge Blog Tour


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



Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until his friend’s death is avenged.

DI Hunter Wilson is called to the scene of a murder. He is shocked to find the victim is his friend and colleague, George Reinbold.

Who would want to harm the quiet, old man? Why was a book worth £23,000 delivered to him that morning? Why is the security in George’s home so intense?

Hunter must investigate his friend’s past as well as the present to identify George’s killer.

When a new supply of cocaine from Peru floods HMP Edinburgh and the city, the courier leads Hunter to a criminal gang, but Hunter requires the help of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable, Sir Peter Myerscough, and local gangster, Ian Thomson, to make his case.

Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taut crime thriller.

Hunter’s Revenge is the second in Val Penny’s gripping crime series featuring DI Hunter Wilson.

Extract from the Book
DCs Tim Myerscough, Bear Zewedu, Mel Grant and Dr. Gillian Pearson stop for a few drinks on their way to the Scotland -v- Wales international rugby match and witness an unexpected meeting.
Tim was aware of comments about himself and Bear as the four of them walked along. The men were used to causing a stir. They were both tall, with the physiques of rugby players. Although they were now in their early thirties, and playing for the older players’ team of Merchiston Castle School former pupils, their distinctive builds and vastly different colourings always caused people to look twice. Tim knew that Mel was used to it, but was aware that the glances were all new to Gillian (although she often got a second glance herself, due to the bright green flash at the front of her hair). As the four of them went into the Roseburn Bar for a drink before the match, a group of Welsh supporters were getting up to leave and Gillian managed to grab the table.
“That was quick. Well done!” Mel said.
Gillian grinned. “It comes from playing musical chairs with three older brothers.”
Tim sat with the girls while Bear went to buy the round. He, Tim and Mel all ordered pints of special. Gillian asked for a gin and tonic and a bag of cheese and onion crisps. Bear caught Mel’s eye and smiled.
“We have a lady present,” he smiled.
“And that’ll not be me, big man,” Mel replied. “I know. Go on, get them in before I die of thirst.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Gillian said. “I’ve never liked beer.”
“Don’t worry about Bear, he’s just teasing me. He always says a pint glass looks silly in my wee hands, but compared to him and Tim everybody in the world has wee hands.”
It was Tim’s turn to smile.
As soon as Tim saw that Bear had made it to the front of the queue around the bar, he got up to help and Bear passed the drinks back to him. They managed this above the heads of everybody else and never spilled a drop.
“You big boys sure ate your porridge when you were young, didn’t you?” a little Welshman said.
“That we did,” Bear laughed.
“You two have done that before,” Gillian said.
“More times than you would believe,” Tim replied as he sat down.
“Myerscough, isn’t it? Tim Myerscough and Winston Zewedu? My goodness, imagine seeing you here.”
Tim and Bear stood up at the same time. Both of them dwarfed the newcomer. Neither of them smiled.
“Lord Buchanan,” Bear said holding out his hand to shake the man’s hand formally.
“Well, I never, Lucky Lord Lachlan Buchanan. What are you doing slumming it here?” Tim did not offer to shake hands.
“I’m just meeting a few friends. Fine pub, here, what? And I heard about your dad, Myerscough. Rotten luck getting banged up like that.”
“Lucky! Oh, hello Tim, Bear,” a familiar voice said.
“Sophie. Long time no see. May I introduce you? Gillian Pearson, meet Lady Sophie Dalmore, my ex-girlfriend,” Tim said.
Gillian gasped and blushed. She brushed the green flash in the fringe of her hair and smiled.
“And my present one, of course.” Lucky put his arm protectively around Sophie’s waist.
“Of course,” Tim said flatly.
The tension amongst the group could be cut with a knife. Tim could tell that Gillian was uneasy; the three men stood verbally scoring points against one another, whilst Sophie looked as if she wanted the earth to open up and swallow her.
“Good to see you boys. We must get together sometime,” Lucky said insincerely.
“Of course,” Bear said, sarcastically.
“Why?” Tim asked.
“Indeed. Well, I see my friends, I must go. Sophie, I won’t be long. Will you wait in the Range Rover?”
“Range Rover? You had me folded up in a Fiat 500 so you could save the planet!” Tim said angrily.
Sophie looked embarrassed, but said nothing and turned to walk out of the pub.
As Lucky turned to walk away Tim made to sit down, but he noticed the group of men in the corner that Lucky was heading for.
“You should choose your friends more carefully, Lucky, or you may not be Lucky Lord Lachlan Buchanan for much longer.”
“Jealously doesn’t become you, old boy. And no hitting on Sophie, if you know what’s good for you,” Lucky sneered.
Bear made to stand up to defend Tim, but Tim shook his head. “He’s not worth it, Bear.”
“Who are his friends?” Mel asked, nudging Tim.
“Look over there,” Tim murmured. “Donald Blair, Brian Squires and Lenny The Lizard.”
“I know Squires and Lenny The Lizard, but what is the other man’s connection?” Mel asked.
“Donald Blair? He’s a lawyer.”
“The one..?”
“What are you two whispering about?” Bear asked.
Tim nodded at the group.
“I thought Lucky Buchanan was choosy about the company he keeps,” Bear said.

Twitter Page @valeriepenny


Hunter’s Revenge Amazon Page


Val Penny Amazon Author Page




Val Penny Hunter’s Chase Blog Tour

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

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.

DI Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city and he needs to find the source but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course. Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable. Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taught crime thriller.

Hunter’s Chase Excerpt 4


Hunter Wilson sat at his desk on Friday morning. Young Myerscough would not be starting with him till Monday. Pity. It would have been an education to take him to the post mortem. Not to worry. There would be other chances to test the lad’s mettle.

His gut told him the corpse found on his patch was not the result of an accident. Hunter did not like the thought of murder on his watch; it was even worse than this influx of cocaine. As soon as Rachael Anderson arrived they would head over to the Scottish Parliament building, interview Sir Peter and find out what he had to say for himself. Probably more than Hunter wanted to listen to, but he might have some insight into the burial site. After all, even if the man was an oaf, he had over 25 years experience on the force to draw on.

Hunter did not like the Scottish Parliament building. It had been designed by a Spanish architect who died before its completion, probably of shame. The project was completed ten times over budget and nearly three years late. As the DI mused about what would happen within the police force if it tried to proceed on that basis, Rachael walked in.

“Morning, Boss. I got time for coffee?” she asked, clearly more in hope than expectation.

Hunter shook his head and tossed her the car keys.

“Will this take long, do you think?”

“Not if I can help it. Anyway we have to be back for the briefing at 10am.”

Rachael was silent as she drove them to the bottom of the Royal Mile. She pulled up outside the modern Scottish Parliament building, then trotted up the stairs ahead of Hunter as if they were part of a dressage exercise.

Inside, the detectives showed their badges and asked for Sir Peter Myerscough.

“I’m sorry. Sir Peter phoned to say he had had a break-in last night and had stayed at The New Club on Princes Street,” the admittance clerk said. Then she added. “Very nice, the New Club, I believe.”

Hunter grunted.

The clerk ignored him and went on: “He had to go home to supervise repairs. He is to speak to his insurers, I believe. He won’t be in until the joiner has finished work on the broken doors and replaced locks. Do you want to leave a message?”

“Fucking arse,” Hunter said.

“No thanks, no message. We’ll contact Mr Myerscough at home,” Rachael said.

“Sir Peter to you, I think, officer.”

“Dectective to you.” Rachael smiled and held the door open for her

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