Local author’s crime in Carnoustie

Carnoustie author Kenneth Stephen.
Carnoustie author Kenneth Stephen.

Leading Carnoustie crime author Ed James sets his new book in Angus, as he takes the reader to the darker side of the county.

The top ten Kindle crime author, real name Jamie Thompson, has seen his e-books, which feature DC Scott Cullen, downloaded 235,000 times across the world.

However, despite admitting his fictional hero’s upbringing is based around his own in Carnoustie, the author has never fully delved into his Angus past.

That changes with the fifth book in the current series, ‘Bottleneck’ out on Amazon.

The novel’s murder victim, singer James Strang, hails from Angus and DC Cullen returns to investigate the death, exploring his own roots as he does so.

Jamie has revealed he is set to base a brand new crime series in Dundee, with a female officer investigating brutal deeds in the City of Discovery and surrounding Angus coast.

“I’ve always been conscious of referring to Cullen’s hometown in my books but this is the first time I really explore it,” says the former Carnoustie High pupil. “I think the area is largely untapped in terms of crime fiction. If you look at the news stories from Angus, there’s a lot going on, from attacks by crossbreed dogs to campaigns against legal high shops. It’s more subtle than Edinburgh, Glasgow or even the Aberdeen of Stuart McBride’s books but it is still rich, in terms of subject.

“The fictional name I give the town, Dalhousie, is basically bits of Carnoustie, mixed with other typical Angus towns like Arbroath and Monifieth; places I know well from growing up in the area.

“I suppose it’s like the Fife of Ian Rankin and Inspector Rebus. Cullen and I have a shared upbringing in Angus and that makes it easier for me to know him. In Bottleneck, huge chunks take place in Dalhousie, so this is a bit like coming home in a lot of ways.”

Jamie attended Kinloch Primary and the High School before studying at Edinburgh University; later combining writing with working in I.T.

He draws on many formative experiences in Carnoustie in his fiction, with DC Scott Cullen mirroring some of his own traits and continued: “I suppose I wanted Cullen to be an outsider, even though he worked in Edinburgh. Making him come from Angus made sense.

“When he returns to Angus, he is accused of bullying someone and there was a bit of that at school when I was growing up, although I appreciate the best of Angus now. My favourite things were going into the country or to the beach.”

Bottleneck is out now on Amazon Kindle, Kobo and Nook priced £3.99, with ibook (£3.99) and paperback (£8.99) out on March 31.

Jamie will be speaking at the 15th anniversary of Ratho Library, Edinburgh, on March 27.