PART OF THE From the Shadows ISSUE
‘Thanks to the encouragement of the crime writing community, I finally bit the bullet and decided to write a book, something I’d always wanted to do, but never believed I could.’
Sins of the Father
By Sharon Bairden
Published by Red Dog Press
I started blogging over at Chapter in my Life six years ago as a place to keep my thoughts on the books I had read and loved. Then I discovered an online community of book lovers just like me, people who wanted to shout from the rooftops about the books they had enjoyed and so my life as bona fide book blogger began.
I’ve lost count of the number of books I have read over the years but I have picked five debut crime novels which have all left their mark on me. In no particular order:
First up is Dead Inside written by fellow blogger, Noelle Holten who has now gone on to write a total of five books featuring Detective Maggie Jamieson and each one just gets darker and more twisted. The author’s own background as a Senior Probation Officer and a survivor of domestic abuse brings a real authenticity to her characters. Dead Inside is a fantastic portrayal of domestic abuse and shatters the myth that abuse only happens to a certain section of society. It also addresses that whole issue of “why doesn’t she just leave” underlying the many reasons why people stay in abusive relationships.
Next I’m going to choose fellow Scottish author Lisa Gray and her debut, Thin Air, featuring Private Investigator, Jessica Shaw. Thin Air was possibly one of the most self-assured debut’s I’d read. Thin Air ticked all my boxes, characters, plot and sense of place all married together to provide an outstanding debut novel. The writing flows effortlessly, the storyline is unique and refreshing, it was a winner for me.
S.E Lynes is a writer who inspires me book after book, her writing is sublime and it gets under my skin every time. Her debut, Valentina, is one very close to my heart. I met the author, not long after the book was published and I remember her expressing a level of anxiety that I would be reading her book as a Scottish reader when she had created a Scottish character, she feared that she would have got the voice wrong. She could not have been any more wrong. She nailed her characterisation and in Valentina she explored relationships, trust and deceit and did so in a spine-tingling fashion; with a cast of characters whom I loved and hated in the same measure, this debut had me glued to the pages throughout.
Next on my list has to be Douglas Skelton, and although the book I am choosing isn’t the very first book he wrote, it was his first crime fiction novel. Douglas Skelton is a well known writer with a long backlist of non-fiction crime books to his name, with a background in Investigative Journalism and a penchant for all things dark, I am delighted that in 2013 he took the plunge into the world of fiction with the release of Blood City, featuring Davie McCall, a bad boy, with his own set of values and moral code. Davie McCall features up there in my top characters of all times and I’d urge everyone to read this series. The novel is set on the mean streets of Glasgow in the 1970s/80s and it immediately catapulted me back in time as the author brought the streets of Glasgow and their inhabitants alive. It is a must read for lovers of Scottish Crime Fiction.
Last but not least is Random from Craig Robertson, another one of my go to Scottish Crime writers. Random blew my mind when I first read it, A serial killer is terrorising the streets of Glasgow leaving the police baffled, there seems to be no rhyme nor reason to the killings. This book is told from the killers perspective so from the outset you know who he is but not why. A dark and brutal tale of a man driven to the depths of despair, it firmly places the reader in a very dark place and it is not to be missed!
Thanks to the encouragement of the crime writing community, I finally bit the bullet and decided to write a book, something I’d always wanted to do, but never believed I could. Sins of the Father was published by Red Dog Press in November 2020.
Initially when I wrote the book, all I wanted to achieve was to start and finish writing a novel, I didn’t have any grand ideas that it would be published. A number of people in the business beta read it and suggested I work on it and submit it. It was at that point I really started to think about what I was trying to achieve other than fulfilling a dream. My main character in Sins of the Father is Rebecca Findlay, she is a troubled young woman and the reader soon discovers why this is the case. It is story about the impact of trauma and adverse system experiences. She is not always a likeable character and one that the reader may struggle to connect with at times, but her story, although fictional, is the story of vulnerable people being exploited and falling through the net of a system.
Sins of the Father by Sharon Bairden is published by Red Dog Press, price £8.99
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