You have no idea how much of an honour it was to receive an email from Fiona at Bloody Scotland asking if I’d like to take part in the Blog Tour for Bloody Scotland Anthology which was launched at this year’s festival! Well, I didn’t even need to think for a nanosecond for a response to that one! It was a huge YESSSSSSSS! You made one Bloody Scotland groupie very happy!
Thanks to Bloody Scotland and Historic Scotland for the ARC in return for my honest review.
Bloody Scotland is my all time favourite Crime Writing Festival and I was delighted when they announced earlier this year that they were publishing an anthology from 12 of Scotland’s best crime writers! And we have just found out from Waterstones that this was the BESTSELLING BOOK of the festival this year!
I have devoured all of the short stories contained within the book and each and every one of them had me reeling. For the tour I’ve chosen to focus on three of my all time favourite female Scottish Crime Fiction writers; Lin Anderson, Val McDermid and Denise Mina – my three Queens of Scottish Noir!
To me and, indeed many others, Lin, Val and Denise are iconic award-winning crime writers whose work has helped place Scottish female writers firmly at the top of the tree. Each of them delivers novels with strong female protagonists who are the main drivers of the plot and the crime solvers. They are the kick ass Queens of Noir!
I have followed (now that does make me sound like a crazy stalker!) them for years, from devouring their books, following their careers and hanging around at book events hoping to catch a glimpse! They may be Queens of Noir but they are completely down to earth and approachable and always take time to chat with their many fans!
I’ve met Lin on numerous occasions over the years and now when I see her at events she comes over and gives me a hug and has a chat with me. You have no idea how much of a buzz this gives me! My biggest moment this year was at a book festival where some bloggers had been invited along to Pan McMillan’s Summer BBQ and there we were all sitting quite in awe of the company we were in! Lin came over and had dinner with us and chatted animatedly about our love and support of books. Of course, I also caught up with her at this year’s Bloody Scotland and once again she proved what a lovely woman she is!
Val is probably one of the best-known faces in the crime writing festival world and she can often be seen mingling with others at book festivals and events. Despite her high-profile, she is always happy to take time out and talk to fans of her work. I’d seen Val on many occasions at events but always felt slightly in awe of approaching her. I finally plucked up the courage last year at Harrogate and I am so glad that I did. I think the highlight for me at Bloody Scotland this year was the having my picture taken with Val and fellow blogger, #CrimeBookJunkie at the Torchlight Procession; I probably did go into a bit of a meltdown after this!
Last but definitely not least is Denise, winner of this year’s McIlvanney Award at Bloody Scotland for her latest novel, The Long Drop. I’ve not had many stalking opportunities with Denise (isn’t she the lucky one!) and my only meeting with her was when I attended one of her book signings in Glasgow and arrived at the same time that she did and so we walked up to the event together. Again, a lovely and down to earth approachable and most intriguing woman, her journey to becoming an author makes fascinating reading. Of course, the weekend was Denise’s this weekend with her award and the picture of her and Val at the announcement just sums up what a fantastically supportive and friendly community the crime fiction world is!(Bloody Scotland Photos below courtesy of #PaulReich)
If you have never been to Bloody Scotland before then I’d highly recommend that you attend. It is the friendliest and most laid back book festival ever and it just gets better and better! This year the Bloody Scotland team absolutely nailed it with the Gala Opening and a festival that just surpassed all of my expectations! You can catch my review of this year’s event here
Want to attend yourself next year? Next year’s festival takes place from Friday 21st-Sunday 23rd Sept 2018. Why not head over to the Bloody Scotland Website and sign up for news updates
You can read my thoughts on the 3 stories penned by Lin, Val and Denise below:
What does the blurb say:
In Bloody Scotland, a selection of Scotland’s best crime writers use the sinister side of the country’s built heritage in stories that are by turns gripping, chilling and redemptive.
Stellar contributors Val McDermid, Chris Brookmyre, Denise Mina, Ann Cleeves, Louise Welsh, Lin Anderson, Doug Johnstone, Gordon Brown, Craig Robertson, E S Thomson, Sara Sheridan and Stuart MacBride explore the thrilling potential of Scotland’s iconic sites and structures. From murder in an Iron Age broch and a macabre tale of revenge among the furious clamour of an eighteenth century mill, to a dark psychological thriller set within the tourist throng of Edinburgh Castle and a rivalry turning fatal in the concrete galleries of an abandoned modernist ruin, this collection uncovers the intimate – and deadly – connections between people and places.
Prepare for a dangerous journey into the dark shadows of our nation’s buildings – where passion, fury, desire, and death collide.
Oh, what a veritable feast of dark and twisted tales await the reader turning the first page of this anthology! This book will make you want to pack up a rucksack and go visiting some of Scotland’s most iconic buildings, however, you may look at them with a slightly darker gaze than your average tourist after reading this!
My three chosen reviews:
Lin Anderson: Orkahvagr
Lin chose Maeshow Chambered Cairn for the opening tale in the book.
If you have ever read the folklore of the Orkney Islands then you will be able to hazard a guess at how creepy this short story from Lin is going to be!
We follow Magnus, a professor of Criminal Psychology, home on Orkney for “simmer dim” the long summer nights on the islands where it never really gets dark. Magnus makes his way to Maeshowe to see the last rays of the setting sun enter the passageway of the cairn. His journey is interspersed with flashbacks to 1115 and young Viking warriors taking shelter in the cairn. What follows is a neatly packaged into a dark and disturbing tale that will leave you chilled to the bone!
Lin’s love of the islands shines through in this short story and leaves you eager to pack up and visit yourself!
Val McDermid: Ancient and Modern
Val chose “The Hermit’s Castle” to base her story.
“Ancient and Modern” follows two young lovers on a touring holiday around the Scottish Highlands. They come across The Hermit’s Castle and what follows is a tale of revenge pure and simple and it’s very simplicity is what makes it so deliciously chilling!
Val is one of the top names in crime fiction and she is one of my heroes! She has a canny knack of taking the nugget of an idea and turning it into a masterpiece!
Denise Mina: Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
Denise chose Edinburgh Castle as the backdrop for her story.
A family day out to Edinburgh castle turns into every parent’s worst nightmare but this family had been living a nightmare long before this trip ever took place. Twelve-year-old Jake has severe behavioural issues resulting in some extremely disturbed behaviour. Unable to cope with the side effects of his medication they have taken him off it and things abruptly take a turn for the better on their trip to the castle. But has Jake turned a corner or is this just the beginning of a new hell! Another one that left me wanting more of this tale!
Want to buy the book and check it out for yourself? It is available for purchase from: