Bill Kirton's Novels
The Loch Ewe Mystery
An adventure story for readers aged 8-12.
Kidnapped, tied up, locked in a room in a remote cottage, with a guard downstairs, and no idea of how to get free, Ben and Charlie are scared and have no idea why their sailing holiday on Loch Ewe on Scotland’s west coast has become such a nightmare.
Ben is a dreamer, Charlie prefers facts, but they make a good team. The holiday starts well as Ben’s dad teaches them to sail and they get to know the changing moods of the loch and the magic and power of the Scottish Highlands.
But the loch’s mood changes and a squall forces them to seek shelter on Ewe Island, where Ben’s father has an accident and Ben has to sail back through the squall alone for help. It’s the start of an adventure which involves three ruthless drug smugglers, led by the particularly vicious Lomax.
Escape is impossible and yet they must break out. If they don’t, they know that, when Lomax returns, they’ll be in very real danger.
A satire spanning the real and virtual worlds.
Joe Lorimer is a genius. His finest achievement is the online role-playing game Alternative Dimension, but he sees it as more than a plaything. He’s fascinated by the freedoms offered by living in a virtual world and the more sophisticated he makes his creation, the more superior it seems to the alienating, faceless, ugly realities of daily life.
His visits reveal many secrets of the psychology of the real people who are creating the avatars he meets. There are lovers, killers, crazies, animals, elves, vampires – even Health and Safety inspectors. Their stories are mostly wry, funny observations on the lives we all live and the real societies they’re lived in.
But Joe’s fascinating attempts to bring the real and virtual together, to fuse the person and the avatar, lead eventually to an outcome which seems a far from ideal solution.
Depending on your perspective, the ending is either a triumph or a tragedy.
The Sparrow Conundrum
A satirical spoof of the crime/spy genres.
Overall winner of the Humour category in the Forward National Literature Awards, 2011. Winner of the Humour category in Big Al's Books and Pals Readers' Choice in 2013.
Chris Machin may think he’s just a teacher but the bottom feeders in Aberdeen squabbling over North Sea oil and gas contracts prefer to use his code-name – The Sparrow. When his garden explodes, he takes flight, unleashing various forms of Scottish mayhem.
More complications are added by his ex girl friend and a sociopathic policeman whose hobbies are violence, making arrests and, best of all, combining the two. Several murders later, two wrestlers, a road trip to Inverness, a fishing trawler, a Russian factory ship, and some fragments of a postman complete the enigma of…
… The Sparrow Conundrum.
Historical crime and romance.
Long-listed for the International Rubery Award, 2012.
Steam challenges sail for mastery of the seas, new continents open and the world brims with opportunities for people to be as good—or as evil—as they choose. This is Aberdeen, Scotland in 1840 and, when the body of a local shipwright is found on the beach, neither the customers and suppliers he cheated nor the women he abused are surprised. But the mystery intrigues wood-carver John Grant, who decides to seek out the murderer. His work and his investigations bring him into contact with William Anderson, a rich merchant—and his daughter Helen. Commissioned to create a figurehead that must combine the features of two women, one of whom is constantly haunting his thoughts, his curiosity begins to uncover a tale of intrigue, blackmail and death.
The fifth of the Jack Carston mysteries.
An offshore platform in the turbulent North Sea is a dangerous place…
…there’s the isolation, the machinery and the constant battle with the whims of nature. For Ally Baxter, a safety officer on Falcon Alpha, those whims take a deadly turn. When his workmates decide he’s gay, an evening ashore turns ugly as they indulge in some drunken queer-bashing. Later his body is found along the route the group followed.
For DCI Jack Carston, the case seems simple enough until a second murder is discovered. This time it’s the prostitute Ally always visited—a young mother with a baby son. Complications mount as Carston, in addition to his investigations, has to deal with an inexperienced officer under his command and a disciplinary charge brought against Carston himself by a vindictive superior officer.
The obstacles keep piling up, but more is to come when he finds evidence of a plot to wreck the platform itself.
The fourth of the Jack Carston mysteries.
A warts and all look inside academia and the world of medical manoeuvring.
Professor Hayne, of the University of Grampian, Scotland, is a sick man. But when he fails to recover after an operation, the discovery of mistakes in both surgical and anaesthetic procedures suggests that his death was far from accidental. His political manoeuvring had made him many enemies, all of whom would benefit from his death.
DCI Jack Carston is frustrated as hospital staff insist that the two ‘errors’ which killed him couldn’t have happened. As his investigations continue, two other stories unfold, both centred on Sandra Scott, a student in Hayne’s department. She’s being targeted by a stalker and sexually harassed by a member of the departmental staff.
Carston eventually unravels the mystery but even he is surprised by the story’s final twist.
The third of the Jack Carston mysteries.
Winner of the Silver medal, Forward National Literature Awards 2011.
Andrew Davidson is a conscientious, respected G.P. but when his brother is found with his throat cut, his thoughts turn to anger and revenge. Known villains, who have managed to evade justice thanks to the efforts of one of Cairnburgh’s cleverest lawyers, begin to disappear. Meanwhile, rape victim Rhona Kirk starts a new life in Dundee but finds it difficult to shake off her past and the men she’s connected with also go missing.
DCI Jack Carston searches for the links between all these vanished persons, aware all the time of his own darker impulses and sensing the strong bond between himself and the vigilante. His investigation is a race against time but the final outcome is beyond even his worst imaginings.
The second of the Jack Carston mysteries.
Floyd Donnelly’s foul-tempered, amoral and a pain for his fellow squatters in Cairnburgh, whose values he definitely doesn’t share. All the same, they’re surprised when his body’s found outside the only night club in town.
DCI Jack Carston thinks he knows who is behind the death: David Burchill, consultant engineer, self-made man and owner of the property in which the squatters are living. Just before the death, he’d sent his ‘bailiffs’ round to frighten them all into leaving. The trouble is, he has a cast-iron alibi.
Carston desperately wants to nail him but Burchill always manages to stay a step ahead of him and it looks as if he may have got away with murder…
The first of the Jack Carston mysteries.
The body of Stephanie Burnham is discovered by her husband. She’d been brutally assaulted then murdered. For Detective Chief Inspector Jack Carston, newly arrived in the town of Cairnburgh, near Aberdeen, Scotland, the case is a conundrum. All the evidence points to the husband – the marriage was a sham – but somehow the pieces of the jigsaw don’t fit together. Who was Stephanie Burnham? A high-flying businesswoman or a middle-aged drunken depressive? Was she sexy or frigid, intelligent or stupid, callous or loving? It seems to depend on who Carston asks. He knows that, to solve the mystery of her shocking death, he must first unravel the enigma of her personality.
Bill Kirton's Short Stories
Other People and other stories
A collection which shows the flexibility of the short story form, from longer pieces to flash fiction. Crimes and mysteries which range from the horrific to the comic, from police procedural to killer thriller.
Tales which peel back the surfaces of the everyday fantasies, memories, nostalgia and absurdities to touch you, make you reflect and make you laugh.
1840. Out in the cruel German Ocean. Beating hard into the wind as they sail from Kristiansand to Aberdeen, the crew of the Christian Rose are faced with a menace even greater than those hurled at them by wind and seas. It seems they have evil itself as a passenger. One by one, men are brutally murdered or disappear into the black waves. Those on board seem powerless to defend themselves. By the time they reach the safety of Aberdeen harbour, they have lost four to the killer’s savage fury. And they still have no idea who or what is responsible.