(Not) Born in the USA

Two Scotsmen and an Northern Irishman walk into a bar and a certain Bruce Springsteen song is playing on the juke box. The first Scotsman looks a bit Cross so to calm his nerves, he orders a beer and waits, tapping his fingers in time to the music. The Irishman goes up to bar, turns up the music and shouts “order at the bar” to the barman, then orders a Guinness. The second Scotsman enters and nods to his two friends. He puts the music on full blast and then waits for either of them to buy him a drink as, well, he’s one of the founders of Bloody Scotland after all. Then a Scotswoman who now lives in America comes in, turns off the music and tells them all to behave. This woman is in charge in here and it’s time for some serious talking...

They’re all here for the Bloody Scotland panel (Not) Born in the USA - a group of Scottish and Irish writers who set their books in the USA. Do they know their APB from their BOLO? Well, you’ll need an all points bulletin for every one of their novels, they’re that gritty - and Be On the Look Out for their panel at Bloody Scotland else Catriona may just come after you...

Mason Cross (on Booktrail)

Mason CrossMason Cross - Scottish by accent and all American by his character Carter Blake. This man is the all American boy as he’s been all over the good old USA, either chasing someone or on the run from someone else. He’s a skilled man hunter and so when the LAPD need help, or the Chicago Sniper is at large, who’s the best man for the job?

Mason writes the ultimate thrillers - a manhunter chasing criminals through cities, deserts and every other landscape you can think of. Conspiracy abound along the highways, byways and backwaters of the USA and provides the ultimate hunting ground.

In his latest novel A Time to Kill, Carter thinks he’s left Winterlong behind, the top secret government agency he used to work for, but as we all know he might leave the world of covert operations and secret deals but that it never truly leaves him.

Steve Cavanagh (on Booktrail)

Steve CavanaghSteve Cavanagh knows all about APBs and BOLOs as his character Eddie is a lawyer who has to know both as he tracks criminals and other undesirables around the streets of New York. Being the city that never sleeps, he too must sleep with one eye open. This is Eddie’s city - as the streets, the taverns and the courthouses of the city are marked with precision on his criminal map of the city. This is the New York where deals are done in dodgy taverns, where those who reside in glass tower blocks close to Central park really shouldn’t thrown stones.

New York - a city whose streets are mapped out in criss cross intersections for targeted viewing like the sniper of a gun. In the firing line here is precise writing, a targeted plot and a heart-stopping visit to a city we all think we know well. But turn it over and its underbelly is dark and cold...

G. J. Brown (on Booktrail)

Gordon BrownG. J. Brown is one of the co-founders of the Bloody Scotland festival. Also known as Gordon Brown but with pen name G. J. Brown, writing political thrillers set in Washington DC, probably just as well. For this man turns the world of American politics upside down, on its head and inside out.

Craig McIntyre might have a Scottish name but this man has worked in Iraq and is now in the middle of a different kind of war right in the heart of the US government. Scandal, hit-men and political dark dealings - these novels could only be set in Washington DC. The city is built on political foundations - the Senate and the White House all feature in the novels and Craig is the link between the high world and the under world.

Craig is a former US military man but he has a great many state secrets he could easily explode. Book three might well be called #Craiggate

Catriona McPherson (on Booktrail)

Catriona McPhersonThree landscapes, three thrilling characters. Someone is needed to keep them all in check. Enter Catriona McPherson who sets her novels all over Scotland and particularly gets gallus about Galloway.

Three men who hail from Scottish and Irish shores who set their novels in America and a woman living in America who sets her books back home in Scotland.

Now let’s turn up that juke box...

Born down in a dead man’s town

The first book to choose from Cross, Cavanagh or Brown

End up as a reader that can’t read enough

So you spend time at Bloody Scotland trying to catch up

Make sure you send out an APB for these fantastic writers and BOLO for their panel at Bloody Scotland!

Get your tickets to (Not) Born in the USA: September 11th, 1:30pm

booktrail-logoThis is the sixth post of the Booktrail blog takeover for a series of posts exploring where setting shapes a number of novels from authors attending Bloody Scotland this year.

Visit the booktrail for maps, travel guides and reviews for the books featuring in Bloody Scotland.


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Writing Orkney

The latest blog from The Booktrail:

Mention Orkney and what do you think of?

Mysterious islands with an ethereal quality to them? A mist swirling around the bare trees and desolate landscape? Islands cut off from the rest of the world where the weather dictates your daily routine? A place where you are among some of the most diverse and fascinating landscapes in the world?

It’s also a good place for a crime scene or two - no one is going to hear you scream after all. There are more than one or two rocky outcrops where you can hide a body and with only animals as witnesses... crime fiction novelists can really let go.

Three writers who have brought their own brand of death and destruction to these windy isles therefore are the best guides to the landscape and people.

Lin Anderson - None But the Dead (on Booktrail)

Lin AndersonOur first visit to Orkney is remote even by Orkney standards. Sanday, one of Britain’s northernmost islands, is not the most hospitable of places nor one of the easiest to get to... and the weather is hardly welcoming either.

The ferry only runs if the wind and rain allow. The planes are also dependent on the weather conditions so that means any communication and of course police work is too.

A craggy, inhospitable landscape is therefore the ideal blank canvas for Rhoda Macleod to explore. Imagine being stranded here with people you don’t know or indeed a crime writer with a dastardly glint in their eye?

“After all, uncovering old bones on Sanday was almost as frequent an occurrence as high winds and rain.”

Gale force winds, the souls of dead children and a remote, claustrophobic place with no modern forensics, no quick and efficient soil sample analysis...

Lin Andersen’s palette is dark and brooding, lines blur and the picture is grim and chilling. It would be a booktrail like no other to go to Sanday with Rhoda Macleod.

Doug Johnstone - Crash Land (on Booktrail)

doug-j2-300x200Orkney’s history and mythical past are the main colours on Doug Johnstone’s canvas. He not so much paints than carves the landscape into his story.

He sets his story in Kirkwall and although he changes some of the village geographically, it’s undeniable the brutal unforgiving landscape that Doug just carves up with a very sharp knife.

As for the historical angle. The Tomb of Eagles mentioned in the novel is as mythical and as fascinating as it sounds. This is a real tomb which over the years has released more than its fair share of ancient bones and artefacts. The ideal tool for a crime writer really and a veritable cave of story ideas.

I laughed when Doug admits in the novel that he’s invented a bar inside Kirkwall airport. If the island doesn’t offer the crime writer exactly what he needs he can always invent it!

Louise Welsh - Death is a Welcome Guest (on Booktrail)

Louise WelshNow the third writer in the Orkney panel is the lovely Louise Welsh and her version of Orkney is beyond that which you will have ever encountered.

I know because I’ve spent time in her dystopian London and smelling the sulphur tinge in the air as I exited the Tube...for the smell of sulphur was the start of a horrific spread of disease and death in the first Plague novel....

Now, this fear has potentially spread all the way to Orkney. And if “the sweats” reach here there is no way out.

“Orkney was flat and almost treeless. You could see for miles, here roads took dark twists and turns, the high verges and hedgerows deadened sound and it was impossible to know what might lie around the next corner.”

So, if you really want a good look at Orkney and see why this stunning archipelago has enchanted so many writers and created so many myths, travel with any of these three writers and see the landscape through their eyes. It’s a great, if not chilling, view.

You won’t want to miss this visit to Orkney!

Get your tickets to Writing Orkney: September 11th, 1:30pm

booktrail-logoThis is the fifth post of the Booktrail blog takeover for a series of posts exploring where setting shapes a number of novels from authors attending Bloody Scotland this year.

Visit the booktrail for maps, travel guides and reviews for the books featuring in Bloody Scotland.


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Scotland the Grave

What a great name for a panel. Hats off to the copywriter who thought of this. It’s actually a very apt title for this panel too as it features four writers who dig and bury bodies all over Scotland for a living. What a day job!

There’s some grisly spots all over Scotland - cities with chilling corners and rural areas with more rot than is reasonable. To see Scotland through the eyes of four crime writers is to peer into its criminal soul and scream....

Gillian Galbraith enthuses about Edinburgh (on Booktrail)

Gillian GalbraithEdinburgh, a capital city with history and heritage right? Yes, but when Gillian Galbraith gets to show you around, the city takes on a much darker tone. Dare to go down to the Troubled Water’s edge and look out at the Forth Bridge and Gillian will whisper the grim secrets this part of the water is hiding in her 6th novel.

A city tour into the heart of Edinburgh itself with Gillian is no more tourist friendly. She’ll drive you through down the Royal Mile and across the bridges but the minute you go down The Road to Hell to the underbelly of the city - Leith Docks, well, you’re in Gillian’s deadly grasp.

“Leith’s glory days were long since over. A few of its street names, Baltic Street and Madeira Place, hinted at its romantic past as a maritime port”.

Pumped full of culture and a seafaring past, read this novel here and breathe in the salt air and the taste of danger on your crime reading lips.

Douglas Skelton sticks the heid in for Glasgow (on Booktrail)

Douglas-SkeltonIt’s a Blood City he’ll tell you, the title of his first Davie McCall novel. He’s also written a number of non fiction titles of real life crime such as Glasgow’s Black Heart: A city’s life of crime, which show you the deepest and darkest recesses of the city in real life. With this and his fictional tour of Glasgow, Skelton’s tour is hardcore. Apt that his name sounds like a certain fairground ride as his novels are thrilling rides of downward spirals and deadly descents.

And at the bottom of society? The shadowy gangster underbelly of the city - from the gang warfare now currently taking place around Glasgow Green and the streets such as Duke Street which, when full of people is likened to “a slaughter house”.

In Glasgow’s Black Heart you’ll discover the real history behind the city’s Tolbooth area and the gruesome goings on on Glasgow Green.

True stranger than fiction or vice versa? That’s a story in itself.

Russel D McLean helps us discover Dundee (on Booktrail)

Russel D McLeanAfter two grisly cities, you’ve be forgiven that a literary journey to a more quieter and small city such as Dundee might in order. Well, best not go to Dundee with Russel then as his A J McNee novels about a former detective who’s now a Private investigator reveal a deadly dark Dundee.

Scotland is grave indeed when it comes to Dundee - Mothers of the Disappeared reveals a serial killer targeting young boys, and you get a gruesome glimpse of the criminal underbelly as you did with Douglas with McNee trying to befriend ageing gangster David Burns.

“Dundee displayed its culture and shining future, its achievement and its potential. I had to wonder: Which was the real city? Was it possible for both to exist side by side?”

Douglas’s Dundee is a city to explore for yourself.

Getting gallus about Galloway with Catriona McPherson (on Booktrail)

Catriona McPhersonCatriona McPherson is a patient lady - she wants to get gallus about Galloway. Dumfries and Galloway is her criminal past. She sets her novels in and around the cities and towns there. The setting is more rural and countryside based - the village of Portpatrick comes under the spotlight in Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses but there’s even the more spiritual bodies if you go to Moffat and see the Haunted Ram which appears in Dandy Gilver and a Deadly Measure of Brimstone.

There are real buildings and real tales of folklore merged into her crime stories so chances are fact and fiction will really give you a taste of what Galloway has to offer.

Scotland The Grave is a map of victims, crime scenes and bloody secrets. But X marks the fictional spot of some criminally good writers who show you into the shadows...

Meet these authors and see their crime scenes at the Scotland the Grave panel at Bloody Scotland. But watch your step, or you could end up in a grave situation of your own.

Get your tickets to Scotland the Grave: September 10th, 12:15pm

booktrail-logoThis is the third post of the Booktrail blog takeover for a series of posts exploring where setting shapes a number of novels from authors attending Bloody Scotland this year.

Visit the booktrail for maps, travel guides and reviews for the books featuring in Bloody Scotland.


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