Tuesday 19 May 2020

#BlogTour The Scribbler by Ian Maitland

It's an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for The Scribbler by Iain Maitland today. Please join me for a fantastic Q&A with Iain!

About the Author
Iain Maitland is the author of thrillers: The Scribbler (2020), Mr Todd’s Reckoning (2019) and Sweet William (2017) as well as two non-fiction books on mental health: Dear Michael, Love Dad (2016) and Out of the Madhouse (2018). An ambassador for Stem4, the teenage mental health charity, Iain also speaks on mental health issues in the workplace. A writer since 1987, he is a journalist and has written more than 50 books, mainly on business, which have been published around the world.

Follow @iainmaitland on Twitteron Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit iainmaitland.netBuy The Scribbler

About the book
“He’s back, Carrie. The Scribbler is back.”

DI Gayther and his rookie colleague DC Carrie have been assigned a new caseload. Or rather, an old one… cold murder cases of LGBTQ+ victims. Georgia Carrie wasn’t even born when the notorious serial killer began his reign of terror across the East of England, but Roger Gayther was on the force that failed to catch him and remembers every chilling detail.

Back in the Eighties, Gayther’s team hadn’t been assigned sufficient resources. But now, after all these years, there’s a sudden death featuring The Scribbler’s tell-tale modus operandi. Gayther and Carrie have to find and bring him to justice to stop the killing once and for all.

Q&A with Iain Maitland
Before we get down to business (i.e. talking about your book) I would like to ask a set of questions I call 'Breaking the Ice.'

The last book you read? (Inquisitive bookworms would like to know)
I’ve literally just finished Payback by Claire MacLeary, a really gritty thriller with touches of humour. I love this series and can’t wait for the next book. 

The last movie you watched, which you felt left a mark (in your heart, soul, wallet...you name it)? Pre-lockdown, my wife Tracey and I went to the cinema once or twice a week. We’ve seen all sorts of films this year. Very diverse! I enjoyed 1917 and Little Women and my favourite Jojo Rabbit – I love pitch black humour and this had it in spadeloads. 

Writers or books who have inspired you to put pen to paper?
Big fan of Steinbeck and my favourite book of his is Of Mice and Men. I love George and Lennie, the smart brother and the simple brother.

Which famous person (dead, alive, barely kicking) would you most like to meet?
It would be good to salute Captain Tom Moore; famous for just the very best of reasons. 

I’ve changed this question to suit our current situation. You are on lockdown for four months and can only choose three books to read -  which three would you pick and why?
I have books that I go back to time and again; the equivalent of comfort food in a way. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – short, perfect, moving. His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet – the brilliance of the writing. Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie – read it straight through and then go back and unpick it to see the cleverness of the plotting.   

All of the above questions are actually a pretty elaborate pysch evaluation disguised as random questions. Have no fear here come the real ones. Let’s talk about The Scribbler.

I am loving the new crime solving duo. They are passionate, driven and snarky!
Thank you. I really wanted to create a detective duo who were, in many ways, complete contrasts but who, despite that, really like each other. I wanted to get the sense that, in the midst of horror, they would put themselves on the line for each other.   

One of your previous thrillers, which I have also read and enjoyed, has been optioned for television. How do you feel about seeing your characters come to life on the screen?
Mr Todd’s Reckoning is coming to TV as a six-part series courtesy of AbbottVision, the makers of Shameless and Cracker. It’s a thrill to see the love they have for the book and how committed they are to making this a massive success.

I would love to know all about your inspiration for The Scribbler?
I’ve always loved crime novels and have always wanted to have my own detective duo series. I was very aware of a series of unsolved crimes from West London in the late 1980s where a serial killer killed gay men and was never captured. The perception from within the LGBTQ+ community was that insufficient resources were directed by the police into solving these crimes. That’s really where we start with The Scribbler.      

DI Gayther and DC Carrie make an interesting team. What makes their relationship tick?
Gayther is old school in his ways, but a kindly and decent man. Carrie is young and up-and-coming and enthusiastic and maybe naive too. They're just really nice people – depending on your age, he’s your favourite uncle and she’s your much-loved niece. I wanted to get warmth and kindness and love into the heart of the book – a sharp contrast to what’s going on around them.

Gayther is really driven by the need to catch The Scribbler, perhaps to the point of obsession? Why is that?
He was on the case back in the late 1980s and early 1990s when the police failed to catch The Scribbler. So that drives him on. He also wants to bring the killer to justice to give a sense of closure to the victims’ families. And he has a personal reason too … 
The book focuses on unsolved LGBTQ crimes - cold cases that have been buried over the years. Why was it important to you to write about the discrepancies in crime solving depending on the victims?
I had a friend at school in the early 1970s and he was gay and opened my eyes to the ways in which the lesbian and gay community, later LGBTQ+, were treated both on a day-to-day basis and when crimes were committed in those days. That’s sort of always stayed with me.   

I think the police force these days is more diverse and has changed the way it works and treats people and handles crimes across-the-board. I wanted to use these sorts of contrasts in the book – how the world was back in the 1980s and how it is now in the 2020s; still a way to go but better than it was back then. 

You give your readers a combination of crime read, police procedural and psychological thriller. Is that the way you plot it or are you more of a fly by the seat of your pants inspiration kind of writer?
I kind of knew where I was going from the beginning although I don‘t set my plot in stone. I wanted to start this book – the first in a series – by establishing the Gayther and Carrie relationship. So the first half of the book focuses a lot on that. I then wanted to crank things up in the second half and make it more and more tense – that’s really what my books are about, the building up of tension to breaking point. I pretty much knew the ending when I began writing.

What’s next for Iain Maitland? Are you already working on something new?
I’m close to finishing my next book 3 Bluebell Lane, which features a sad and lonely man, Mr Boyle, living on his own in a little cottage on the edge of woods in Felixstowe in Suffolk. After that, I’d like to write two or three sequels to Mr Todd’s Reckoning and The Scribbler. We’ll see …   

Thank you for answering my questions, even the odd ones!

Maitland creates an interesting contrast with Gayther and Carrie. Gayther is very much old school police - gut instinct takes precedence over laws and rules. Carrie represents the new generation of policing, using technology to enhance the resources at her disposal for instance, although one could argue that being impulsive gets her into more than a little trouble in this story.

What they both share is a passion for the new unit DI Gayther and DC Carrie have been assigned to, the Cold Case Unit, and one case in particular has found its way to the top of the pile. An old LGBTQ case - a serial killer with a taste for older men hiding their true sexual preferences. Gayther was part of the original investigation and now he is convinced, despite all evidence to the contrary, that The Scribbler is back from the shadows. In fact he is convinced that he never left at all.

It's an intriguing combination of police procedural, psychological thriller and crime read.

Maitland delivers a character driven read and builds the plot by cementing the relationship between the two protagonists. Bit by bit and brick by brick until a solid foundation appears, then a door opens up into the world of the killer. One who hunts his prey without mercy.

It's the contrast between the two worlds that gives the story that multiple sub-genre feel. As a reader you feel as if you have a foot in both worlds. One foot with the grumpy obsessive Gayther and his smirking sidekick, and the other foot is walking just behind the man who loves to torture and kill.

It's a great read. Oh, and kudos for the unexpected ending - my lips are sealed.

Buy The Scribbler at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Contraband; pub date 7 May 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Saraband.

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