I’ve got a new book out. You may have noticed this if you’re a Facebook friend or follow me on Twitter.

I can’t speak for other writers but I know how I feel when a new title is released.

In a word, terror.

Once it’s printed, bound and distributed there’s no going back. There’s no further tweaking, no further correcting, no further rewriting. The story that began as a notion and grew into a book will now succeed or fail in the eyes of readers.

THE JANUS RUN is something of a gamble. It’s not set in Glasgow, or even Scotland. It’s not even in this collection of nations we call Britain. It’s set in New York.

And I hope I’ve pulled it off. I like to think I have.

A good friend of mine spent a number of years there and she told me I’ve managed it, which is a relief.

The reviews have been spectacular, which is also something of a relief.

Here’s a sample of some of them:

Scots Whay Hae called it “a proper page-turner thriller, pure and simple – enthralling from start to finish.”

You’ll find the full review here:

https://scotswhayhae.com/2018/10/23/begin-again-a-review-of-douglas-skeltons-the-janus-run/

Live and Deadly said Tense, full of action and packed with double dealing and intrigue, this is a first class read that leaves you wanting more.”

https://liveanddeadly.net/2018/10/09/the-janus-run-by-douglas-skelton-douglasskelton1-sarabnadbooks-bookreview/

Undiscovered Scotland said “This is a book that sinks its teeth into its readers like a Rottweiler and simply never lets go”

https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usreviews/books/contrabandjanus.html

Liz Loves books said “An intelligent character driven novel, one that leaves you wanting more”

http://lizlovesbooks.com/lizlovesbooks/latest-reads-the-janus-run-douglas-skelton/

Simply Suze Reviews said: The action begins on the first page and doesn’t let up until the last.”

https://simplysuzereviews.blogspot.com/2018/09/the-janus-run-by-douglas-skelton.html

Raven Crime Reads said “the characterisation was first class, and supported by whip-smart dialogue”

https://ravencrimereads.wordpress.com/2018/09/30/douglas-skelton-the-janus-run/

Chapter In My Life said “Authentically brutal, powerfully plotted and perfectly executed The Janus Run will be ringing in your ears for a long time after you turn the last page!”

https://chapterinmylife.wordpress.com/2018/09/19/bookreview-thejanusrun-from-douglas-skelton-douglasskelton1-sarabandbooks-bloodyscotland-tidelinesfest/

I’ve got a new book heading your way later this year.

Something different.

Well, for me.

For once, it’s not set in Scotland. I’ve spread my writing wings across the Atlantic to set a thriller in New York.

It’s been described as Jason Bourne meets The Sopranos and it’s a fast-moving conspiracy thriller in the mould of ‘Three Days of the Condor’ (and the original book, ‘Six Days of the Condor’). There’s even a wee sly nod to that at the climax. Let’s see who spots it.

The Janus Run will be published by Contraband in September.

New York 8-1 (2017_07_12 11_20_52 UTC)

 

‘A bullet doesn’t know good from evil, right from wrong. A bullet only knows how to kill. I was a bullet…’

 

For Cole Lang, the past was buried. A successful advertising executive, he has put one horrific marriage behind him but ahead was a new life with corporate lawyer Gina Scolari.

But then someone murders Gina. In his bed.

Big mistake.

They thought he was just a white collar pushover but they were wrong. He has secrets.

Gina had secrets, too, and one of them may have got her killed.

Was it because of her father, Tony Falcone, a former Mafioso who turned rat?

Or was it something else? Something from Cole’s past, from his days with Janus, a group so shadowy only those in the highest echelons of government know of its existence.

In the frame and on the run from the dogged cop Rosie Santoro and US Marshal TP McDonough, Cole must tap into old skill in order to survive.

But those old skills are rusty and that could prove lethal.

He forges an uneasy alliance with Falcone, who seeks revenge for his daughter’s death.

Falcone has baggage of his own, mistakes in his past he must address if they are to survive. Not the least is the Marino family, out for blood.

They have the law, the feds and the mob on their tail as they dodge bullets and bodies across the Five Boroughs.

Meanwhile, someone else is tying off loose ends. Is it Nicky ‘The Juke’ Bruno, the Marino’s cold-hearted enforcer? Or is the chilling professional killer Mister Jinks responsible?

And all the while, Janus watches and waits.

 

Theresa Talbot

Theresa Talbot

 

Author and broadcaster Theresa Talbot will be hosting the Ayr launch for the new Dominic Queste thriller.

Tag – You’re Dead will be published by Contraband on April 27.

We’ll be ensconcing ourselves in Waterstones in the High Street from 7pm on Thursday April 27.

Theresa has interviewed many top authors and you can be guaranteed I will not have an easy time.

Tag cover

Between Theresa and Caro Ramsay the following week in Glasgow, I’m wondering if I should just slap my own face and be done with it.

It’ll be fun, so please come along.

There may even be a wee giveaway! (Not books, behave yourselves)

I view the release of a new book with mixed feelings.

On the one hand I’m delighted that it’s heading out into the world.

On the other I’m terrified that it’s heading out into the world.

I’ve done everything I can to TAG – YOU’RE DEAD at this stage. It’s been written, rewritten, shaped, edited, cut, pasted, honed, smoothed and damn near sandblasted in places.

I think I like it (I’m never terribly sure).

Tag cover

I hope it entertains. I hope it enthrals. I hope it makes you at least smile. I hope, this time, it scares you.

Now it’s down to the reader to decide.

That’s the really terrifying part.

Readers can be both a welcome and daunting prospect.

I look forward to people getting their hands on the book but dread what they will think of it. Will they like it? Will they hate it? Will they finally tap me on the shoulder and say, that’s it, you fraud, you’re done?

And then the reviews start to come in. There’s actually one already for TAG – YOU’RE DEAD, on Undiscovered Scotland. It’s a belter. The reviewer actually gets what Dominic Queste is all about. That makes one of us.

Undiscovered Scotland review

I like reviews. I hate reviews. (You can see there’s a pattern of duality forming here.)

Good reviews are wonderful and make the ego preen. Bad reviews are depressing. Some can be downright hurtful.

However, it’s all part of the rich tapestry of the creative life and all reviews are welcome. They do help with algorithms, whatever the hell they are.

Anyhoo – you can find the trailer for TAG – YOU’RE DEAD here. Please watch, it took me some time to pull together. I was up sometimes to two or three o’clock in the afternoon doing it.

Tag – You’re Dead promo

And the link to the book on that on-line place is below – but please buy from a bookstore if you can!

 

 

Tag – You’re Dead

In case you haven’t been on my Facebook page, Twitter feed or passed by any of the rooftops I’ve been shouting it from, I have a new book hitting the streets on September 8.

After four Davie McCall books, I decided a change of pace was called for. After all, writing Davie can be somewhat draining. He is, as regular readers will know, on the taciturn side. Everything about him is internal and his one-liners are rare enough for conservationists to tag them and track them in the wild.

Dominic Queste, the central character in THE DEAD DON’T BOOGIE, is different.

Where Davie is  tight of lip, Dom is so loose ships at sea issue Maydays.

I like to write dialogue and I like to add some humour. In the Davie McCall books it was the supporting characters who had all the fun, particularly Bobby Newman, Frank Donovan and Jimmy Knight.

With the Dominic Queste books (and I do hope there will be more) I can give full rein to my love of fast-flowing banter while also throwing in hefty dollops of action, mayhem and, because it’s me, darkness.

There is more of me in Dom than there is in Davie. I’ll leave it to those readers who know me to work out what parts of him are me and what parts are the way I’d like to be.

To be honest, I’d rather be more like Davie. He never says anything he doesn’t mean, he seldom says anything out of place (being taciturn does have its advantages) and he has a very direct way of dealing with those who annoy him. There are times when I wish I would just shut up. I’m sure others feel the same. That’s something I share with Dominic.

The Davie McCall books were thrillers that took a gritty, grounded-in-reality approach to story-telling.

With Queste the sky’s the limit. The first one is an action thriller designed to go like a Duracell bunny on laxatives. I didn’t burden myself by second guessing if an action scene was plausible, I just did it. So if I wanted to have a shoot-out in an east end park or a riverside car park, I damn well had them.

The approach also made me cut back considerably on the swearing. I’m sure there are people who are glad to hear that. The body count remains high, though.

Alexandra Park-1 web Alexandra Park 2-1 web Alexandra Park 3-1 web

(ABOVE – Three peaceful views of Glasgow’s Alexandra Park. Each of these locations features in the new book. They’re not peaceful for long)

I hope you enjoy the first Dominic Queste book. I hope you buy it.

Otherwise I’ve wasted my time these past few months writing the second one, TAG – YOU’RE DEAD.

THE DEAD DON’T BOOGIE  (Contraband) will be launched in Waterstones Ayr on Thursday September 1, with Michael J. Malone in the chair, and then in Waterstones Argyle Street, Glasgow, with Caro Ramsay wielding the clipboard, on Thursday September 8.

At this year’s Bloody Scotland I’ll be sharing the stage – and a laugh or two no doubt – with the wonderful Caro Ramsay and the fabulous Michael J. Malone. And the invoice is in the post for both of those superlatives. A guy’s gotta eat.

We three will be coming together at 3.15pm in the Academy Suite of the sumptuous Stirling Highland Hotel. In Stirling, which is just as well given the name.

We have been described as three stalwarts of the Scottish crime scene – gosh! – and we’ll be in conversation about cops v crooks.

You see, Caro writes about cops in her outstanding Anderson and Costello series while Michael straddles – oh, lordy! – both sides of the law with his superb Ray McBain series and now his astonishing Kenny O’Neill books. Billing department please raise two more superlative invoices.

I’m really looking forward to this event because it’s always great fun when the three of us get together and I promise we’ll give value for money.

And the event is sponsored by Contraband, the hugely successful crime imprint of Saraband Publishing.Image (16)

You’ll find details here:

Bloody Scotland

 

Writers write.

They also read.

It’s not an original sentiment, hell, what is? But it is very true.

I don’t believe you can write well if you don’t read, too.

After all, who are you going to steal from?

So, what have I been reading of late?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

Image (19)

I’ve so many books waiting to be read and – newsflash! – I also write, so apologies if I’ve not got to your books yet (if you’re an author). I’ll get there. So many good things to read, so little time.

Alex Gray’s ‘Keep the Midnight Out’ is the latest in the hugely successful Lorimer books and this time the gentlemanly cop spends time both in Glasgow and on Mull. Fans will lap up the rich prose and evocative descriptions of an island the author obviously loves as Lorimer investigates two deaths, twenty years apart.

Image (17)

I’ve also been belatedly introduced to Caro Ramsay’s Anderson and Costello series having now read the first, ‘Absolution’. It had everything I wanted in a crime novel, good characters, smart dialogue and some grotty bits. And I’m told the books just get better and better!

Image (18)

Nick Sweet’s ‘The Long Siesta’ won’t be out till September but I was privileged to read a proof copy and it’s one to watch out for. It boasts an under-used location – Seville – and a police detective with problems of his own being presented with some very nasty murders indeed. There are horrors under the sun, horrors in the country’s past, in its present and – sorry, but got to say it – in the bullring.

51Pycs4eWyL

And speaking of advance copies, I’ve also had a preview of Matt Bendoris’s new one, the cunningly-title ‘DM for Murder,’ the latest title from Contraband, the crime imprint that’s creating a big, bloody splash in the genre. It’s great fun, spans both Glasgow and Baltimore, and is the only crime novel I can think of in which Twitter plays an important role. I think it’s going to be one of the big Scottish sellers of 2015 and I hate him for it.

He’s launching it in Waterstones Argyle Street

I’ve also had a sneak preview of Michael J. Malone’s next Ray McBain thriller, not due out till next year. It’s so good it makes me sick.

I’m currently reading a fat American thriller which is at least 200 pages too long. I won’t identify the book or author out of respect and because I’m gutless.

 

The Storm by Neil Broadfoot (Contraband)storm cover

 

Last year, Neil’s debut thriller ‘Falling Fast’ was short-listed for the Deanston Scottish Crime Book of the Year. It took a few months but I finally stopped pouting. However, my bottom lip is trembling again because I suspect his follow-up will be similarly honoured. And if it’s not, it should be.

The tricky second novel is something that haunts writers when their first is so well-received. Can they replicate the magic that made the first one work so well? Obviously, Neil has powered through that barrier like a stunt car through a plate glass window to come up with a sequel that is even better than the first.

‘The Storm’ is so firmly set in Edinburgh that you can practically hear that piper near Waverley Station.

Once again we meet Doug McGregor (fine Christian name), a hard-bitten hack on a daily newspaper who is working his way through not just the politics of his industry but a story which brings murder and mayhem right onto his doorstep when his editor falls prey to a gunman. Doug’s pal DS Susie Drummond also has work place politics to contend with, but mainly because she’s Doug’s pal.

The story moves from Edinburgh to Skye. There’s more violence, more skulduggery, as Doug begins to realise the answer to what seems like unconnected deaths and attacks lies close to his home.

Neil writes about the newspaper extremely well. He should, he’s an ex-hack himself and he knows whereof he speaks.

But he has settled in nicely to his new role as crime writer. His writing packs punch and pace (my, that’s a lot of ‘p’s) and the solution is neat and satisfying.

‘The Storm’ is a gripping page turner with prose like a sniper’s bullet – straight, true and hitting the mark.

 

‘Falling Fast’ was an astonishing debut. ‘The Storm’ shows it was no fluke.

It’s sickening, really.

 

The book is being launched during Aye Write and Neil will be on stage with Stuart MacBride and Malcom McKay on Saturday April 18.

 

You’ll find more details here