I was having dinner with a prospective director for my upcoming film Dead Close, which is based on a long short story of mine of the same name. He was reminiscing about his early career when he and a friend had been out on the town, celebrating a short film they’d just completed. They met two girls who professed to be witches, which seemed very sexy at the time. I immediately thought, beware of what you wish for, and thus the opening scene of The Special Dead was born.
My former Professor of Astronomy at Glasgow University, Archie Roy was an authority on the paranormal in Scotland. A scientist who was willing to investigate, that which we don’t yet understand. He told me about the famous Ferguson Collection on the occult housed in Glasgow University Library, which features in the story, along with the practice of witchcraft, or Wicca. Number patterns are important too. The quote on the front of the book, “If you are reading this then I am dead”, is exactly nine words long, for a reason. And 9 is the square of 3…
They say bad things come in threes. But good things can too. Being nominated for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year with Paths of the Dead, followed by the launch of The Special Dead, and a spectacular Bloody Scotland to look forward to in September is definitely a good threesome.
The Special Dead by Lin Anderson
If you are reading this, then I am dead!
When Mark Howitt is invited back to Leila's flat and ordered to strip, he thinks he's about to have the experience of his life. Waking later he finds Leila gone from his side. Keen to leave, he opens the wrong door and finds he's entered a nightmare; behind the swaying Barbie dolls that hang from the ceiling is the body of the girl he just had sex with.
Rhona Macleod's forensic investigation of the scene reveals the red plaited silk cord used to hang Leila to be a cingulum, a Wiccan artefact used in sex magick. Sketches of sexual partners hidden in the dolls provide a link to nine powerful men, but who are they? As the investigation continues, it looks increasingly likely that other witches will be targeted too.
Working the investigation is the newly demoted DS Michael McNab, who is keen to stay sober and redeem himself with Rhona, but an encounter with Leila's colleague and fellow Wiccan Freya Devine threatens his resolve. Soon McNab realises Freya may hold the key to identifying the men linked to the dolls and the Nine will do anything to keep their identities a secret.
The Special Dead by Lin Anderson is out on 13 August 2015 (£12.99 HB/ £8.99 Ebook Macmillan)
An extract from The Special Dead can be read over on the Shots website here.
Lin Anderson has published several novels and one novella featuring forensic expert Dr Rhona MacLeod, which has been widely translated. Her short story Dead Close was chosen for the Best of British Crime 2011 and is currently in development as a feature film. Also a screenwriter, her film River Child won a student BAFTA and the Celtic Film Festival best fiction award. Currently Chair of the Society of Authors in Scotland, she is also co-founder of Bloody Scotland, Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival.