Book reviews by country: Scotland

For my series this summer, I am providing selections of book reviews by country. Either the author is from the country named in the post, or the book is set there.

I've archived 15 reviews of books by authors from Scotland. Some of these, of course, are by Val McDermid and  Ian Rankin, the country's most famous current crime fiction exponents. Mainly known for his series of novels starring John Rebus, Ian Rankin has recently branched out – I liked The Complaints, the start of another police procedural series, very much, although I would not be surprised if Rebus or some of his associates crop up in the new novels. Val McDermid has written a very impressive and varied range of novels over the years. Currently she is alternating her Carol Jordan/Tony Hill "profiling" series with various standalones that show her at the top of her game.

Anne Cleeves's Shetland Quartet is extremely good indeed, and a wonderful tour of some of the northernmost extremes of this lovely part of the world. S. J. Bolton also sets her debut novel, Sacrifice, in the Shetlands, and it's worth checking out. Tartan comic noir is brilliantly represented by Donna Moore (Go To Helena Handbasket – or not, if you are sensible) and Helen Fitzgerald (My Last Confession and Dead Lovely). One novelist I've fairly recently discovered and can highly recommend is Karen Campbell (The Twilight Time and After the Fire).

My Scotland reviews.

5 thoughts on “Book reviews by country: Scotland

  1. Whilst some of Rebus’ associates may appear, it is highly unlikely he or Siobhan will. If they do, the book is therefore classed in a legal sense as a Rebus novel and contractually the rights for broadcast then go to ITV first. He has spoken about this at some length during recent book festivals; apparently he contemplated referring to Siobhan walking down a corridor in The Complaints however even this would result in it becoming a ‘Rebus’ novel!

  2. I had to check, but of course my new favourite Denise Mina was there. They are really fantastic these Scots – it must be something in their water (of life) 😉

  3. I enjoyed the list of reviews, and learned a couple or three names to look out for, good writers whose profiles remain frustratingly low.
    Marketing a new book is a thankless task, and despite the Internet delivering many sites such as this one, obtaining an actual review for a Scots writer, in particular if your name is not Rankin, Mina or McDermott, remains a near-impossibility.
    My own crime fiction debut, Yin Yang Tattoo, was published in June by award-winning Scottish publisher Sandstone Press, and despite all the publisher’s efforts, so far not a single review has appeared in the British media, traditional or otherwise. Indeed, the only reviews to appear anywhere have been in the Far East (where the book, a crime thriller, is set).
    Add to this the steady decline in independent bookshops and the (linked) over-dependence on Amazon, and getting any sort of word-of-mouth momentum behind a book is just about out of the question. Sad but true.
    Ron McMillan

  4. Ron, your novel would qualify for review by Euro Crime, if you or your publisher checks out the Euro Crime website ( you or they can offer a review copy. I imagine also that good crime fiction sites such as Reviewing The Evidence, CrimeSquad, Shots, etc might be interested. Also Donna Moore, an author mentioned in this post, does much to promote Scottish crime fiction at her blog. Yes, as frequently discussed on this blog and elsewhere, Amazon is great for readers who want to dig down into “the long tail” rather than rely on currently published books, and I would have thought quite useful for authors in your situation, too, given that you have had your book published indepenently and I presume it is listed there.
    Dorte – my favourite Denise Mina novels are the Garnetthill trilogy, but I read them long before this blog was invented, so have not reviewed them!
    John, thanks for this info. I can well believe it given the similar situation of Michael Connelly, which accounts originally for why he branched out from Harry Bosch (then optioned along with subsequent novels). He’s had an up and down relationship with contracts and the film industry since, from what he says, including very recently (he is trying to get the Bosch rights back).

  5. I loved the Garnethill series by Denise Mina, so much that her name rose to the top of my favorite authors. Then the Paddy Meehan books; they were okay. Then the new one I liked less for several reasons which have been explained here and at other blogs.

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