Today I’m delighted to feature Scottish crime writer Jackie Baldwin. Her debut crime novel, Dead Man’s Prayer, featuring DI Frank Farrell, was published by Killer Reads, Harper Collins in 2016. This was followed by Perfect Dead in 2018 and Avenge the Dead in 2020.
Jackie was a solicitor specialising in Family and Criminal Law for twenty years. Later, she retrained as a hypnotherapist. Married with a grown family, she currently lives in East Lothian.
Over to Jackie:
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
‘Fernando‘ by Abba was playing at Guide camp in Ae Forest when I was 12. It was a big adventure for me then and I remember sneaking out for a midnight walk with my friends when someone coughed in the pitch blackness. We ran all the way back convinced we were being chased by a serial killer but it had only been a sheep. Spot the townies!
‘Bat out of Hell’ by Meat Loaf reminds me of a happy time in my life at 17 when the world was opening up and life was all about parties and hanging out with friends apart from those pesky exams.
‘Our Last Summer’ also by Abba, reminds me of my lovely mother who died when I was 18. The refrain used to echo in my mind whenever I thought of her. There are many other songs that summon her presence.
‘Free Bird’ by Lynyrd Skinner teleports me back to my student days. It was an EP so after headbanging vigorously to that I could hardly move my head the next day.
My last choice is ‘Indulgence’ by The Pseudos which no one will have heard of because it was a student band my son was in. I was so proud of him as when I went to King Tut’s in Glasgow and saw him drumming through the smoke. Luckily, they produced a CD as part of his course so I can still have a listen.
What 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
This was a tough one as I don’t really get attached to things apart from friends and family.
The first thing would be books. I can’t imagine my life without reading.
The second thing would be a toilet and accoutrements (by which I mean unlimited soft toilet roll!) I am not someone who could ever wild camp.
Comfy shoes would be a must, preferably trainers or hiking shoes.
I also couldn’t live without solitude from time to time. It’s how I recharge and regroup.
That leaves my laptop for writing.
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Hindsight is a wonderful thing! Let me see…
Take more risks.
Live in the moment.
Believe you can and you will.
It won’t matter in five years time
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you
I’m a hypnotherapist.
I am freakishly buoyant in water, virtually unsinkable.
I worked as an extra in Ted and Alice starring Dawn French.
I am extremely partial to a Victoria Sandwich Cake.
I loathe sewing with a passion
Tell us 5 things you’d like to do or achieve.
Virtually everything on my bucket list involves travel but that is off the table at the moment. So, travel extensively… one day…
I’d like to obtain a literary agent but I suspect I have more chance of happening across a Blue-footed Booby in Tesco’s.
My secret dream is to write for either Casualty or Doctor’s. I would be on Cloud Nine.
I’d love to have my series adapted for Television. If that ever happened I might evaporate from excitement.
I have a huge desire to go to a large Star Trek Convention. I would even learn some conversational Klingon.
Many thanks for joining me today Jackie, especially when you brought Abba with you. Our Last Summer is a great track that rarely gets an outing, I’m sorry it has an added poignancy for you, but I’m sure they are happy memories. I was also delighted to trace a link to your son’s recording – people will have heard of it now! You’re a woman after my own heart with a love of books, proper toilet facilities and the occasional solitude – surely that’s enough for anyone – possibly with the additional of chocolate, or Victoria sponge cake in your case! If only we lived in the moment more often, too easy to worry about the future and what might not happen while life is passing us by. Good luck with your search for a literary agent and that TV adaptation – ‘Believe you can and you will’!
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Dead Man’s Prayer (DI Frank Farrell Book 1)
Ex-priest DI Frank Farrell has returned to his roots in Dumfries, only to be landed with a disturbing murder case. Even worse, Farrell knows the victim: Father Boyd, the man who forced him out of the priesthood eighteen years earlier.
With no leads, Farrell must delve into the old priest’s past, one that is inexorably linked with his own. But his attention is diverted when a pair of twin boys go missing. The Dumfries police force recover one in an abandoned church, unharmed. But where is his brother?
As Farrell investigates the two cases, he can’t help but feel targeted. Is someone playing a sinister game, or is he seeing patterns that don’t exist? Either way, it’s a game Farrell needs to win before he loses his grip on his sanity, or someone else turns up dead.
Perfect Dead (DI Frank Farrell Book 2)
Ex-priest DI Farrell is called on to investigate a gruesome death in rural Scotland. All evidence points to suicide, except for one loose end: every light in the cottage was switched off. Why would he kill himself in the dark?
The question sparks a murder investigation that leads to the mysterious Ivy House, home of ‘The Collective’, a sinister commune of artists who will do anything to keep their twisted secrets hidden.
And when the remains of a young girl are uncovered on a barren stretch of coastline, Farrell realises that there is something rotten in this tight-knit community. Now he must track down a ruthless killer before another person dies, this time much closer to home…
Avenge the Dead (DI Frank Farrell Book 3)
Four friends with dark secrets. One killer out for revenge.
DI Frank Farrell and DS McLeod are tasked with investigating the brutal murder of a defence solicitor’s wife in Dumfries.
It’s been over a year since they left the town after an investigation robbed them of a dear friend. But now they’re back and must find a way to move on.
When the son of another defence solicitor is murdered, a strange tattoo etched on his body, the case takes them into darker, more disturbing territory.
It leads them back into the past – to a horrific fire in a cottage that took a woman’s life, to four friends harbouring dark secrets – and finally to a killer waiting patiently for revenge.