#Interview – Where No Shadows Fall by Peter Ritchie @PRitchieAuthor @bwpublishing #Fiction #booktalk #Books #Bookblog

💫 Welcome to Love Books Group Blog

Today we are on the book blog tour for Where No Shadows Fall by Peter Ritchie. Thank you for Black and White Publishing for the opportunity to be on the tour.

💫 Where No Shadows Fall by Peter Ritchie

Back of the Book

Expose the truth or let the dead lie still?

Grace Macallan’s life is on an even keel – at last. But a 9-to-5 career away from the frontline isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

So when she’s sent to investigate a suicide at Glasgow’s notorious Barlinnie prison, Grace gladly escapes her desk. The dead inmate is Tommy McMartin, heir to a ferocious criminal family. His murder conviction saw Tommy’s fall from power; cast out not for violence but because the victim was his gay lover.

The investigation drags Grace into contact with her McMartin adversaries of old. But the gangland dynasty is under threat and, as it topples, secrets once dead and buried are unearthed.

As she unravels Tommy McMartin’s fate, Grace senses someone watching her from the shadows, someone who aches for revenge. An awful dilemma faces her: to expose the truth or let the dead lie still.null

Can you tell us a little bit about your book?

This book takes us into the world of historical cases and I must admit I’m a big fan of the TV series Unforgotten which explores this subject so well. At the heart of the story is a suicide in Barlinnie Prison and all that follows. The prisoner concerned is Tommy McMartin who was an up and coming star in the McMartin crime family. His fall comes after he was found with the body of his boyfriend and all the evidence the police needed to put him away.

We find the main character in the series Grace Macallan frustrated but leading a quieter life in an admin job well away from the horrors she’s encountered in the past in Northern Ireland and Scotland. She’s asked to do a routine investigation and ‘tidy up’ job on the suicide, which seems straightforward enough until the past opens up a trail of secrets that leads Grace into confrontation with an old adversary and corruption on her own side.

When I started the book I only intended a fairly brief scene within Barlinnie prison but as part of the research I spent the day there and was surprised at what I found. I have to thank the governors and staff who made me enormously welcome and took me to all parts of the prison without any restrictions. It struck me that during my career I had visited so many prisons as an detective, but of course it was nearly always to talk to suspects or accused in interview rooms. I realised during the visit that in fact there was so much I really didn’t understand so the end result was BarL became an important part of the story. I learned a lot and realised it was a world that few people on the outside really get, so if anyone thinks prison is a cosy rest home as so often portrayed in the tabloids then think again. I hope the prison scenes at least give a flavour of what I was trying to pass to the reader.

Who would your book be perfect for?

I try really hard to make the books as authentic as possible within the restrictions of a few hundred pages and to convey to the reader what it feels like in these cases. I do that from all sides and avoid just the one villain and heroic detective because the reality is that so many characters are in play during these tough cases. There is a multitude of stories and dramas all taking place at the same time. I try to show how the criminals interact and well as the tensions and relationships in the police. I really enjoy bringing in the small time criminals to the books as I feel they never get much of a voice in so much fiction. So, these small-time hustlers, sex workers and so on all get caught up between the top villains and detectives and security services. In many cases, they are more victim than criminal and certainly nothing glamorous about their lives. In fact, in the last book, I even brought in a dog who got a fair old part in the story!

This is not to criticise crime fiction that is so often miles wide of the mark but still enormously entertaining. I thought if I’m going to do this I don’t want to follow the usual Tartan Noir trail. So, although there is a serial killer in the first book the other ones cover many other areas of serious crime as I felt there were enough fictional serial killers in Scotland piling up the bodies all over the place. For example, I often return to the theme of trafficked and abused women in the sex trade because that’s an area I’ve worked in and want to highlight the plight of those victims. And show at least an element of the reality of the business. These cases had a profound effect on me at the time.

So to answer the question I hope that readers who enjoy authenticity and want to feel what it’s like in the real world will find something in the books. I also tell the stories on quite a wide canvas so the locations are not limited to Edinburgh and again this reflects the reality of modern crime and investigation. So over the series, although Grace is based in Edinburgh she takes on criminals in Northern Ireland, Edinburgh, Glasgow, the west of Scotland and North East England around Newcastle. Northern Ireland always features in the books as Grace served there during the Troubles and that’s where her story begins in the first book. I worked there and visit a lot so anyone from that lovely part of the world would hopefully enjoy Macallan’s journey.

Did you have a favourite character to write?

Well Grace is the main character. I feel like she’s an old friend now and love working with her in the books. There was no plan to write about a woman when I started and it just happened. The feedback from women has been so positive and it’s funny because I’ve written a couple of novellas and again the main character is a woman so there you go. Apart from Grace there are other characters who have appealed to the readers such as Mick Harkins who is an old style detective who befriends Grace when she arrives in Edinburgh and is at her lowest ebb after the horrors of counter terrorist work in Northern Ireland.

All through the series, I bring in characters from the other books and some appear again and again. This just reflects real life because as an investigator that’s exactly what happens.

What inspired you to write the book? W

Well it was just the next one in the story about Grace. It’s different in that she’s trying to lead a quieter life in a back room job but like so many of us in that business she’s a bit driven and the search for the truth can be addictive. Although it’s fiction I suppose in some ways I’m sharing some of the experiences in my own life. In fact in the third book I bring in fishing boats in North Shields and of course I was a deep sea fisherman before I joined the force. 

Can you share with us a photo from 2018 that meant something special to you?

Well that’s easy as I now have a lovely wee granddaughter who lives in Dublin – she’s amazing and a force of nature. Watch out world! 

What has been your proudest bookish moment?

Walking into a bookshop and seeing my first one on the shelf. I was in Dublin recently and saw the series on the shelves there. Still gives a major buzz and never even thought it would get that far when I started. I only thought I’d try one book and it’s become such a big part of my life.

Do you have any questions for your readers?

I always give the same answer. If you want to ask anything about the books please go ahead and get in touch because I enjoy it so much hearing what other people see and get from the stories

What is your favourite read of your whole life and why?

I always find it hard to decide because there are just so many in your lifetime. I always say if I picked one it would be Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. One of those almost impossible to describe and I don’t know how many times I’ve read it over the years. You could say it’s about the madness of war and there is that but it’s made me laugh, cry but most importantly question what I see, read and asked to accept as the truth. That is very relevant at the moment. A close second is The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov and as anyone who has read it knows it is almost impossible to describe. The breadth of the writer’s imagination is staggering and to think he was risking arrest just bringing this to life is something else.  

What are you working on now?

Well unlike me Grace is still in the job. This one goes out in February and book 5 Our Little Secrets will be out in June. I’m working on book 6 at the moment.

Thank you so very much, Peter, for stopping by today and taking part in my feature.

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In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog
contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for us (at no extra cost for you).

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