Wednesday, 17 September 2014


Given the weight of what is going to happen tomorrow here in Scotland, it seems to me to be a good time to offer my dystopian short Sleeps With The Fishes for free today.

It also seems like an apt time to celebrate a smart piece of Scottish writing, so here goes.

In Devil In The Detail, Scott Cullen returns to work after the traumas of the Schoolbook case and is quickly back in the middle of the action when the body of a young girl with Additional Support Needs is discovered by a dog walker in the middle of East Lothian.

It’s not long before Cullen realises he’s in some kind of police hell.

Bain is leading the investigation and goes about it with a familiar recklessness and a determination to fit reality into his model of the crime at any costs. Bain’s attitude rubs up the local police in the wrong way and the atmosphere becomes charged.

As if this weren’t enough, Cullen is dealing with the starchy attitudes of the county’s upper-middle classes. He also finds himself involved with a small-but-expanding religious sect which has a leader who practically defines sinister. It also turns out that his leading suspect for the murder can’t be found, not matter how much effort the police make.

The majority of the story focuses upon developments in the case and Cullen’s drive to solve what is soon to become a double murder. As it unfolds, the dark and sordid elements of the case are brought sharply into focus. Underneath all of this is a whodunit that is very well put together. There’s plenty of theorising to be done and the outcome is likely to remain tantalisingly out of reach until the final pages no matter how familiar you are with the genre.

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