Friday, 5 June 2015

Interview with Scottish Crime Writer Michael J. Malone

Today on Bookaholic we welcome Scottish Crime Writer Michael J. Malone. Thank you for agreeing to take the hot seat Michael. 

I am sure the readers would love to hear about you. Could you start by telling them a little bit about yourself?

I’ve lived in Ayrshire all of my life and like most writers I’ve had a multiple jobs. From stacking shelves, to selling books and suits. From banking to publishing. But the one constant throughout has been books – both reading and writing.

I have a yellow Labrador (Bob) and a teenage son who keeps me grounded with comments like, “I hope you realise I won’t be reading your book, Dad.”

As Glasgow is so important to the story could you tell the readers something about the City?

When I was younger, Glasgow held a good deal of glamour. It seemed like an exciting, vibrant, funny and somewhat dangerous place. The clothes were better, the music more exciting and the girls more attractive than what was going on in Ayrshire. But that’s a (very) young man’s view and maturity teaches that cities like Glasgow have much, much more to offer.

Which is your favourite character in any of your books and why?

Ray McBain. He’s a man with enough baggage to keep an airport carousel in business for a month, but he’s also funny, vulnerable and honest to a fault.

When you are not writing what types of books do you read? What would you say was the best book you have ever read?

I read a variety of things. Crime mostly, because I review for Crimesquad. And I tend to seek out American and Scottish authors. I enjoy the scale of much of the stuff coming out of the US, and the grit and humour my fellow Scots are renowned for. But I like to mix it up with fantasy, historical and some contemporary fiction (I’m resisting  the “Literary” label – hate that word).

As for my favourite ever book, that changes depending on the prevailing winds, but my favourite authors include, Pat Conroy, Robert Crais, James Lee Burke, John Connolly, Don Winslow, Raymond Feist, Denise Mina, Fiona McIntosh. I could go on, and on. And on.

I have reviewed Beyond the Rage below. Can you tell the readers something about your other books?

Blood Tears and A Taste for Malice are thrillers starring D.I. Ray McBain.
The Guillotine Choice is an inspirational novel based on the true story of an innocent Algerian sent to Devil’s Island by the French colonial power.
Carnegie’s Call is a non-fiction book detailing the lives and successes of a number of prominent Scots.

Now we are getting personal. What is your favourite food?

But I also enjoy a fry-up – bacon, black-pudding, square sausage and eggs. Never get tired of that.

If you ever have a day off from writing exciting books what do you like to do in your spare time?

Walk the dog. Go to the gym. Read a book. Watch a movie. That’s pretty much my life right there.

Beyond the rage is a gritty novel and deals with the criminal underbelly of Glasgow. Where did you get your inspiration for such a dark novel?

Kenny O’Neill is the hero of this book – and he features in my first two novels as Ray McBain’s criminal best friend.

While my first two books were doing the rounds of the publishers and receiving rave rejections I knew I had to keep writing, but I didn’t want to write a third McBain book until the first two had a home, so I hit upon the idea of a book with Kenny acting front and centre.

Is there anything, which has surprised you as a writer? If so what is it?

Lots and lots. It has been a big, steep learning curve. The thing that occurs to me right now, given that I’m in the agony of writing a new book – is that I can manage to come up with another one.

Each time I’ve typed those two little words “The End” I have the strongest feeling that I will never EVER be able to do that again. That I’ve left everything on the page and there is nothing in the creative well. But, after a break the drive to write rises, there’s a spark of an idea and I’m off. It shouldn’t still surprise me, but it does.

Thank you for joining us Micael and for being patient in answering all my questions.

Beyond the Rage

This is the first book I have read by Michael and I am sure it won't be the last. This is a gritty book which is down to earth and real. Malone gives the reader a flavour of the Glasgow underworld which is realistic. His writing style is excellent and he does not pull any punches. I started of by disliking the main character Kenny, O'Neill but I ended up loving him. He is a multifaceted character with a lot of endearing features. For a gangster that is. The basic premise of the story is that Kenny is trying to find his long lost father. This leads to a well written story and a tight plot which races along. The story pulls the reader along with it, and the tension ramps up towards the end. This is an enjoyable book.

The only thing I will add is that there are  a lot of sexual scenes and references in this book. Whilst this supports the story well I felt I should let readers know in advance.

You can find out more about Michael and his books on his Amazon Author page

That's us for another Bookaholic day. See you back here very soon. Until then keep reading and writing. 


  1. Excellent interview. I enjoyed Michael's Ray McBain's books but haven't read Beyond The Rage - another for the tbr pile.