Iain McDowall
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news, events, rants



Sedge Publishing can provide e-galley review copies

of The Evil Thereof to bona fide crime fiction

reviewers, bloggers, etc.


To request a copy, write to:- egrcs@sedgepub.com




According to a new opinion poll, more British people

would like to be a full-time author (60% of those

polled) than any other occupation. By contrast,

‘Hollywood movie star’ polled a mere 31% and

‘astronaut’ came in at a humble 27%. As always

happens with this kind of result, the media has been

speculating on the underlying reasons. Cue the usual

statement-of-the-obvious column inches pointing out

that the reality of the job for most professional

writers is nothing like the daydream fantasy: no

mega TV and film deals, no endless string of

international bestsellers, no red carpet treatment.

All very true – but also perhaps missing the point.

Most people in most occupations, writers included,  

get fed up with what they’re doing on occasions and

decide that something else might suit them better.

Some act on the impulse, some don’t. As for me,

I’m with the poll’s 50% of men (and 22% of women)

who still haven’t entirely forgotten their childhood

ambition to be a train driver ... 




Like a lot of writers, I don’t like to be interrupted when

I’m working. I put my mobile on silent and leave the

answerphone to deal with the landline. Except when

the recent call from Frank Jacobson came through. I

broke my rules and picked up. It was just coincidence

of course - someone politely trying to sell me

something - and not the fictional detective I’ve known

for a very long time. Unnerving all the same. I’ve no

idea how many characters I’ve invented over seven

books. What if they all start doing it?




Another post, another award. A negative one this

time though: the Iain McDowall 2014 total-loss-of-a-

sense-of-proportion prize … and the winner is the

American literary agent, Andrew Wylie. Wherever you

stand on traditional publishing’s anti-Amazon

campaign (and as a normal, everyday reader you

might not stand anywhere), Wylie's recent comparison

of the online retailer to Middle Eastern terrorism is

staggeringly offensive. One of the irritating facts about

the publishing industry is that so many of its denizens

take themselves and their personal concerns so

ludicrously seriously. Yet even by publishing’s

considerable get-over-yourself standards, Wylie’s

comments are in a perspective-free class of their own.

Whether you buy your books from Amazon or

Waterstones, nobody dies, Andrew – but elsewhere in

our troubled world, real people really do.




The award for the first review of The Evil Thereof

goes to I Love A Mystery, over in the United States.

You can read the review here ... 




Yes, you're right: the middle of July isn't most people's

idea of 'early in the year'. But the fact remains that

The Evil Thereof IS ON SALE NOW. Sighs of relief

from Crowby to Wynarth and back again ...




And so it goes. More news on the elusive appearance

of The Evil Thereof soon ... [terms and conditions

apply, share values may increase or decrease, 

definitions of 'soon' and 'early' may vary] ...




OK - and no surprise, probably, to long-term readers

of this page - but the plan to bring out the new book,

The Evil Thereof, during 2013 ran into the traditional

'unforeseen difficulties'. The publication date will now

be early in 2014.


Thanks for your patience (understatement of the

year) ...




The faint-hearts were starting to stay it would never

happen – but I've now completed the 7th Inspector

Jacobson novel. 


The title is The Evil Thereof and it will be published

later this year. 


I’ll post publication details/dates when everything's 

finalised. Nearer the great day, there'll also be

uploads of chapter previews, cover art, etc ... 




The E-book editions are now on sale (as well as audio

downloads of Envy The Dead and Cut Her Dead). The

Crowby sock-puppet says that they're all the best thing

since Edgar Allan Poe ... 




I've reached agreement with Little Brown about E-book 

versions of the six current Inspector Jacobson titles.

These are now in production and will be available

soon in all of the major E-book formats. Paperback

reprints and audio downloads are also in the pipeline.


As for the nearly-finished but, by now, quasi-mythical

7th Inspector Jacobson book, expect dramatic news 

(or at least news anyway) before the end of the year ...




I did a reading (in English) for Erlesen TV when I

was in Germany recently. It's now online -

you can watch it here ...




2011 was certainly another great trading year for

International Greed, Evil and Stupidity PLC. The only

prediction I'm prepared to make right now about

2012 is that the new album from Leonard Cohen,

released at the
end of January, is likely to be a

creative highlight. Thanks to everyone who emailed

in or otherwise said hello in the past twelve

months ...




Friday 14th October, 7.00pm

"Literarischer Herbst" Festival



More information: stadtkirche-darmstadt.de




The Scheme, filmed in my home town, began

showing on BBC1 this week. To put it mildly, I'm

unimpressed. The Guardian published my article

about the series on Monday. You can read it here ...  




John Le Carré has rattled a few cages by attempting

to refuse his Man Booker nomination. A spokesperson

for Scotland Yard declined to comment as to whether

Mr Le Carré's behaviour constituted an offence under

the 2011 Pop Idol (All Must Enter If Requested) Act ...




World Book Night approaches ... I’m still not sold

on the concept that people who don’t buy books

don’t buy them because they don’t know that books

exist :- “Thanks for that, mate. I’ve never seen one

of these ‘ere – whatcha call ‘em? - books before.

Whatcha do wiv it again?" 





Wednesday 16th February, 12.30pm

Coventry Central Library 

(tel 0247 683 2314) -

admission is free but contact the venue if you want

to reserve seats in advance.


The new Coventry readers' group are starting

off with Envy The Dead the following week ...




The legendary Crowby oracle has been consulted

and propitiated.

The Wise One predicts that 2011 will be the year in

which the 7th Inspector Jacobson novel is

completed ... 





Wednesday 3rd November, 2pm,

Boldmere Library, Birmingham 

(tel 0121 464 1048) -

admission is free but contact the venue if you want

to reserve seats in advance.




Kangra Valley 2010


Travelling again when - from a careerist point of view

- I should be busy writing. But all work and no play is

as bad for writers as it is for anybody else. And the

good stuff takes its own time anyway ...




Henning Mankell took part in the Gaza Aid Flotilla. His

diary of what happened before, during and after the 

ships were boarded by the Israeli military is the most

important piece of writing that any crime novelist will

produce this year. If you haven't read the published

extracts yet, you can access an English-language

version here ...






Monday 17th May, 5.45pm,

Bilston Library, Wolverhampton

(tel 01902 556253)


Monday 24th May, 6pm,

Coventry Central Library 

(tel 0247 683 2314)


Wednesday June 9th, 7.30pm,

Rushden Library, Northants

(tel 01933 312754)


Admission is free but contact the venues if you

want to reserve seats in advance.


I'll be talking about Crowby, Jacobson and Kerr,  Envy

The Dead, crime fiction versus 'literature', why all good

books are political, why The Wire is better than the

collected works of Martin Amis / Ian McEwan / AS Byatt

stacked together - to name only a few possiblities. 

Plus - mainly - whatever you want to ask. It won't be

the same without you ... 




Elmore Leonard's rules for crime fiction include never

opening with the weather. He isn't British so it's not his

fault that he doesn't understand the transcendental

importance of weather. After the snow and the ice

we're now into the traditional cold, grey Crowby

February. A smart time of the year to be a writer of

course: indoor work - and a nice, easy commute.




Nearly 2010 – and so time for the official Iain McDowall

Annual Book Awards, 2009. None of them are crime

novels - since I didn’t read any this year. That’s not too

unusual for me and no reflection whatsoever on many

fine books which, I’m sure, other crime authors have

been writing and publishing. When you spend hours a

day wrapped up with your own crime scenarios, you

don't always want to spend your leisure investing in

someone else's. None are brand-new books either (in

fact three were first published last century). Make of

that what you will but these are the books I’ve got the

most out of in the last twelve months. And the results

are :-


1) Cormac McCarthy  The Road


2) Cormac McCarthy  Blood Meridian


   (conventionally, critics still rate Blood Meridian as

   McCarthy’s ‘masterpiece’. It’s a terrific book but The

   Road, produced twenty years later, is even better.

   The same breath-taking techniques are all in

   evidence – but distilled down to their essence and

   honed to perfection)


3) John Christopher  The Death of Grass


    (a thoroughly dark novel that was a bestseller in the

    1950s – and made me reconsider some assumptions

    about public taste in that era)


4) John Prebble  Culloden


    (still the definitive account of the British state’s

    original ‘war on terror’ )


5) Iain Sinclair  London Orbital


    (Sinclair shows that the 'ordinary' is always

     anything but)


My gig of the year -  by a wide margin - was the last night

of the Fall tour at the Assembly in Leamington, definitely

one of the UK's cooler venues.


See you in the new decade ...




Quite a few readers have been in touch to ask me about

the 'battle of the beanfield' which gets a brief mention in

Envy The Dead. In answer to the basic recurrent

question, yes, the Wiltshire 'battle' really happened.

In fact some of the incidents which I put into the fictional

disturbance at the old Crowby airbase in the book have

their origins in eyewitness reports of what  took place in

reality at the 'beanfield'. If you're interested to know

more, there's a Wikipedia entry - and links there to

further sources of information on this topic.  As I've said

before, I became very aware in writing Envy The Dead

of the many connections between the history of the UK

in the 1980s and the history of the UK right now. The

G20 protestors in London back in April this year weren't

the first UK citizens to experience police 'kettling' and

worse - and you'd have to be naïve in the extreme to

believe that they're likely to be the last. Meantime, in

my hometown,  still no news of a successful outcome 

to the David and Goliath struggle against the

multinational fat cats who now own the Johnnie Walker

brand name. 




La rentrée, as they say in France - where I spent a

nice, warm chunk of the summer. But now it's

September and back to business in the UK (where I

note neither the weather nor the politics has improved

in my absence). The 7th book is up and running at any

rate - although still without a title. I wrote a piece on

the origins of Envy The Dead for Crime Time magazine

recently - if you want to read it click here. I also gave

an interview to Shots magazine - though (possibly

mysteriously) it hasn't surfaced yet on their website. 

Meantime, in Germany, DTV have just brought out their

translation of Cut Her Dead (Gleich Bist Du Tot) and

made it their crime book of the month. It's nice to be

loved somewhere ...




Envy The Dead, the brand-new, sixth case for Inspector

Jacobson and his team was published in UK hardback

on 5th March. If it seems like a relatively long time

since my last book, Cut Her Dead, came out, then that's

because it is: twenty-two months between the two titles

to be precise. But there's other stuff to do in this world:

travel, think, live. So no genuine apologies from me for

the time-gap (you're welcome to some non-genuine

ones if you want them). The UK paperback is released

on 6th August  making it an ideal summer read (unless

of course you planned your summer break for June

or July... ).


Envy The Dead is partially set in the 1980s. Writing it, I

was struck by how much of what was going on in Britain

back then continues to reverberate (and illuminate) into

the present day. I've also revealed a bit more of

Jacobson's back-story this time than I've given you




Sincerely, Iain


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The Evil Thereof

Inspector Jacobson's most disturbing case ever. A case that might also be his last ...

"Riveting ... highly recommended."




Envy The Dead

A miscarriage of justice turns deadly ...

"Dark and extraordinary ... read it and savour every word."




Iain McDowall

"McDowall puts his work at the cutting-edge of the genre."

Read more>>