Its been a while since the site has been updated... so lots of things have happened... here's just a few...
ITEM: ED EST MORT
The wonderful Robert Pepin of Calman Levy brought Ed's Dead to the French market this year... with a striking cover, and a superb translation, I'm excited to see how the French take to Jen, the world's deadliest bookseller.
I was also in attendance at FIRN, a French crime festival, where I talked (via translator!) about Ed's Dead and sold a few copies to the wonderful French readers. Its a great little festival in the South of France, and definitely a joy to attend. Here's hoping they ask me back...
ITEM: ED IST TOT
Not content to let the French have all the fun, Europa Verlag bought the German Rights to Ed's Dead, and the book will be released in August. The Jen on the German cover is very very different to the Jen on the French cover, which made me laugh a lot, but since I don't really say what she looks like, both approaches are very valid. Very excited to see how the Germans take this book, and I've already written a letter to booksellers over there explaining why they will take to this tale of one of their own making some very bad decisions...
ITEM: Back to Dundee!
Yes, I've returned to Dundee (briefly) in the role of running a series of Masterclasses for the university's new crime writing degree. Its been a real honour to work with some very talented students, and I hope I get to make a return visit next year!
I will be chairing some incredible writers at this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival. While not there "as myself" I will be talking to and asking daft questions of these wonderful people:
Özgür Mumcu & Jan Vantoortelboom
18-Aug 17:00 - Writers' Retreat
Activist Özgür Mumcu is one of Turkey’s brightest young writers. The Peace Machine imagines a Jules Verne-esque scenario, with a writer on a quest to find a machine capable of saving humanity on the brink of the First World War. Jan Vantoortelboom’s His Name Is David also takes place in 1914 and explores the complex moral labyrinth that led to a Belgian teacher facing the firing squad.
Lin Anderson & Antti Tuomainen
20-Aug 17:15 - The Spiegeltent
It looks like Rhona MacLeod’s luck may be running out in Lin Anderson’s 13th novel about the forensic scientist, as she becomes victim of a nasty stalker in Sins of the Dead. Fargo meets Baywatch in Antti Tuomainen's Palm Beach Finland, the blackly comic bestselling Finnish novel of 2017, in which detective Jan Nyman is sent to a sleepy seaside town to dig up clues on a mysterious fatality. A nourishing hour of noir awaits.
Charles Cumming & Nadia Dalbuono
24-Aug 16:30 - The Spiegeltent
Charles Cumming is back with The Man Between, a thriller featuring Kit Carradine, a successful author who’s commissioned to silence an anti right-wing campaigner. In Nadia Dalbuono’s The Extremist, Islamic terrorists carry out attacks in Rome and will only negotiate with Detective Leone Scamarcio. Given just 24 hours to meet their demands, his efforts only throw up further questions as we hurtle to a nail-biting conclusion.
David Mark & Gunnar Staalesen
26-Aug 15:15 - The Spiegeltent
Creating a long-running crime fiction series is not an easy job. David Mark and Gunnar Staalesen offer their reasons behind such longevity with the former having penned Scorched Earth, his seventh DS McAvoy title, and Staalesen continuing the Varg Veum series which began in 1977. Join us for an hour in the company of two firmly established crime fiction talents.
I hope to see you at one - or more! - of these sure to be excellent events.
For the last few years, Russel has been chairing events at the Edinburgh book festival, but 2017 marks the first year Russel will appear at the festival as himself, talking about his latest book, Ed's Dead. Russel will be appearing alongside the brilliant Karolina Rmaqvist, whose novel, The White City, is "an intimate portrayal of a woman’s downfall through her complicit relationship with the world of crime." Word on the street that keeping us in check will the be absolutely fantastic Kirsty Logan.
You can buy your tickets for the event on the 14th August right here. Go on, do it now. You know you want to.
In addition to this, Russel will be attempting to keep order as he chairs the following fantastic events:
Jorn Lier Horst and Denzil Meyrick (13 August)
Peter Robinson (15 August)
Kjell Ola Dahl and Alex Gray (18 August)
M R Carey and Joe Hill (20 August)
Sometimes an author builds up a small collection of their books, and feels the urge to give some away to deserving readers. Recently, Russel was reorganising his bookshelves and noticed a few extra copies of some of his books were still sitting around. So, he though, why not run a competition to win one?
But competitions are always more fun when there's a little challenge involved. These days, authors rely more and more on reviews online and recommendations from readers to sell books, so Russel has come up with a cunning quid pro quo: simply write a review any of his books, and Russel will enter you into the draw to win a signed copy of any one of his books you like (from the list below).
The rules are simple: post your review of any of Russel's books on Amazon, Goodreads, Waterstones, your blog... whatever works best for you (any and all of these are easy to do)... and send Russel a link to that review along with a contact email address using the contact form below. After the closing date on Tuesday 18 July (one month from today) Russel will pull a name from the hat and send that lucky person the signed book of their choice (so, for example, you could review THE GOOD SON and ask for a copy of ED'S DEAD, or vice versa).
Due to various restraints, this competition is currently open to UK readers only.
The books available as prizes are:
And When I Die
The Lost Sister (UK version)
The Lost Sister (US bound uncorrected proofs)
The Good Son (UK version - 2nd edition)
The Good Son (US hardback edition)
Father Confessor (UK edition)
Mothers of the Disappeared (Large print edition)*
Cry Uncle (Large Print edition)*
Expletive Deleted (Paperback edition - this is a multi-author collection, but will only have Russel's signature!)
You can enter using the form below. Good luck.
(Please note, your email address and contact details will not be handed out to any other persons or organisations if you enter this competition).
*Don't ask me why I only have the large print editions left, but there we go...
Back in 2011, I dipped my toe into ebooks with The Death of Ronnie Sweets (and other stories) that collected the short stories featuring my original Dundee Detective, Samuel Bryson. The book did okay for a while and then languished in the upper reaches of the charts, in part because I didn't realise the typos that had sneaked in. So now the collection has had a good old copy/proof and is back in e-print for you to put your hands on. It also retains the original introduction by the incredible Sean Chercover, a writer whose work you really should seek out. Right now. Go on. Go on.
The collection has been untouched beyond the update for proofing, so these stories read as they were back whne first published - warts and all. I'm proud of them. They were my first professional sales for the most part, and some of them contain little easter eggs for fans of McNee (Sandy Griggs makes an early appearance many years before he returns in Mothers of the Disappeared, and a very young McNee even makes a little cameo in one of the later stories).
Here's a wee scene from my second published story, Dudman's Word, to whet your appetite:
Big Ian Machie was behind the bar in the Crow and Claw when I walked in. He wore a horizontally striped polo shirt and black trousers. The “middle-age” spread seemed to have grown since the last time we talked. I didn’t want to bring it up, however. It’d only piss him off. Nevertheless, despite the advance of the years, he still looked more than capable of holding his own against any of the rough crowd who composed his regular clientele.
“Sammy,” he said. “No seen you round here in a while.”
I smiled, grabbed a seat at the bar. Big Ian pulled me a pint without asking. I figured one couldn’t hurt too much. I was driving, but sometimes you have to make these sacrifices.
“I’ve not been in the area,” I said.
“No one’s around these days,” he said with a sigh. He looked at the bar. People congregated round the tables, leaning into their small groups like they were afraid someone was listening. “No one worth bothering about, anyway. All the old crowd have gone. They either got respectable or they got into trouble.”
“What about Ally Dudman?”
“Whit am I now, yer wee snitch?”
I smiled. “Ally’s the snitch, or hadn’t you heard.”
“He was in trouble with the Kennedys right enough,” said Ian. “Mind you, Ally’s the type of bawbag who’d get in trouble with just about anyone.”
“I need to find him, Ian,” I said.
He put the pint on the bar. Some of the head broke off drifting down the smooth edges of the glass.
“How would I know where he is?” asked Ian.
‘Ally was still a regular” I said. “You’re known for your loyalty.”
“Even to wee bawbags who went and joined the coppers,” he said, pointedly.
“I’m not a copper these days.”
“Just as bad. You work for them.”
“I do favours for friends sometimes,” I said. “Some of those friends are in the law enforcement business.”
He chuckled at that.
‘Ally’s life is in danger,” I said. “I’m looking to help him.”
“Aye, and what about your friend?”
“He’s looking to help too,” I said. “All we want is to help Ally.”
“He was in here about half an hour ago,” said Ian. “He asked me for help.”
“What did you say?”
“I said I couldn’t help someone so messed up as him.”
“You couldn’t help a wee bawbag like that, you mean?”
“Aye, that’s it,” he said. “Look Sammy-boy, I don’t know what all this is about, ken, but Ally looked in a bad way.”
“Where would he go if you couldn’t help him?”
“There’s a few places,” Ian said.
I nodded. I took a deep drink of the pint.
“He couldn’t go home,” Ian said. “No if he was in trouble with the Kennedys. So he’d need money and clothes and all that if he wanted to get out. I’d say he’d go to see Omar.”
“Omar? I can’t see the two of them exactly getting along.”
“Omar doesn’t care about that kind of crap, Sammy. All he cares about is making sure his family are taken care of. All he cares about is where the next bushel of money comes from.”
I nodded. I didn’t want to go and see Omar, but Ian was right.
If Ally wanted money, clothes, and a quick, quiet escape from the city, he’d go and talk to Omar.
If you like the sound of the collection, please feel free to go and pick up a copy! I'm hoping to do a print version through KDP tools soon, too. There's a link below this post to Amazon, where you can pick up the collection for your Kindle quickly and easily.
I'm also planning to do a collection of the later Bryson stories alongside some stand alone shorts originally published in other venues. More news as, when, and if it all happens.
Quick note: The collection is currently enrolled in the KDP plan at Amazon.co.uk and therefore is only available for Kindle. Any links from this page to Amazon.co.uk will take you through a special link, as I'm enrolled in the Amazon associates programs. This means that any products linked to Amazon will earn me a small commission (put mostly towards the cost of maintaining the site) but will not affect the prices you pay for anything you buy. Legally, I'm obliged to tell you this (and there's also a notice on my Russel Reads blogs about the links there).
On Saturday the 13 May 2017, I took a trip to Waterstones in Oban to do a little signing. It was a fairly wet day, but that didn't seem to put off people in Oban from being out and about.
The store - ably run by manager Ewan (who, disclaimer, worked beside me many years ago in another bookstore) - is a lovely space inside an old building, just a short jog from the train station, and overlooks the main harbour. It also has a very well stocked and looked after crime section.
The signing was lovely - Oban customers are fantastic, and one man even drove over 100 miles just to get his backlist signed! And there were chocolate biscuits. Note to other bookstores: chocolate biscuits make authors very happy indeed.
Anyway, below are some pictures from the event. Some taken by me and others by Waterstones Oban. If you're in the area, there are some signed copies of Ed's Dead and And When I Die left in stock, but you should go in anyway and support a brilliant wee bookstore.
If you read my biography, you'll know that I went to the University of Dundee many years for my my under and postgrad studies in philosophy. So its very nice to see a great review of Ed's Dead appear in their literary magazine from the excellent Nicole Gemine. Not only do I blur boundaries between good and evil. but I'm also "brilliantly funny" and "brilliantly Scottish", which is heartening here. For more, go clicky-click on this link here.
If you didn't know, I have a new book out! There's been a few bits of publicity to help recently. Check out quotes from reviews on the Ed's Dead page but you can also learn more here. For example, I was recently featured on the magnficent Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast, talking Ed, bookselling and my unusual b-movie connections. You can listen to the episode below:
I have also been in the Daily Record book pages and been interviewed in the Sun, both pieces focusing on Ed's Dead:
Hopefully there's a little more to come, but in the meantime, I hope that readers enjoy reading Ed's Dead as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Well, the same address but a whole new look. The website has been refreshed and updated. Small tweaks still be to be made, but I hope you like what you see and find it far easier to navigate than the old behemoth that had been here since 2011!
Very pleased to announce that my seventh novel, Ed's Dead, is to be published in both Germany and France.
In Germany, Europa Verlag have bought the rights. These guys also have my Contraband stablemate (and Booker prize Shortlistee) Graeme MacRae Burnet on their books, so I'm in excellent company.
In France, Robert Pepin Presente (part of Calman Levy) have taken the job of bringing the most dangerous woman in Scotland to the French landscape. Very proud to be part of a list that also includes some of my literary heroes including Michael Connelly and Lawrence Block.
More news on pub dates etc as they come in, but for now I am hugely pleased about both these deals.