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About the author:
Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year and best selling author.
Owen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; he still loves to perform on occasion. His passion for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colourful continent of India and Nepal. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home in the Greek Islands where Owen writes.
What inspired you to write your book?
I wanted to write a cracking thriller – one that shows just how strong women are, and can be – The Mackenzie series gave me that opportunity. I hope people get real enjoyment from reading the books, and maybe a little more understanding of a path travelled by too many.
Originally Mackenzie's story (In Harm's Way) was destined for inclusion in the Charlie Cameron series, and indeed had already been written, when my wife Christine who is my developmental editor said, 'I think this story is good enough to stand on it's own.'
Then began the laborious process of stripping it from one book and re-building it into another. At this point, I realized what great potential it had for a mini series.
So…a whole lot of research, plotting, writing, editing and re-writing began. A process which was at times challenging, at others exhilarating and hugely enjoyable.
In Harm's Way, although very dramatic, necessarily had to take a bit slower pace to allow for the building of the characters. Deadly Harm, however, is a breathtaking edge-of-your-seat thriller which benefits from the groundwork laid in it's predecessor.
Like all good crime fiction, the story had to be believable therefore rooted in fact. Fact means research and my research led me to an amazing woman; I'll call her Joan – a survivor, and, the story behind the story.
It wasn't easy for her to tell me everything, neither was it easy to listen to. She doesn't publicise her experiences, but doesn't hide if sharing them can help someone else.
Many of the situations she found herself in are now weaved into the pages of these novels. Novels that show how people can find the strength to overcome the horror their lives have become.
During our many conversations you wouldn't expect there to be laughter – but there was, and almost always started by this bright, fascinating woman.
It can be difficult from the outside to understand how someone could possibly stay in circumstances like the ones I describe. I've attempted to show how easy it is if the right conditions exist, I've also highlighted how that same person can rise, if they are one of the lucky ones with the ability to change. Change, not only their own lives, but the lives of those they come in contact with.
Mackenzie's past in real life and in the series makes her the woman she is today.
In closing, I'd like to say that I honestly feel there is a gift some people receive in the hand that life deals them – the change your life card. Joan and Mackenzie got that card.
Here is a short sample from the book:
After forty weary minutes they had a glistening mound to show for their efforts. Caitlin stood under the trees, her shoes caked and heavy with earth, glancing anxiously towards the sandstone house. At any moment a face could appear at a window. If it did, life as they’d known it was over.
‘How deep does it need to be?’
Mackenzie didn’t raise her head – the question was beyond naïve. ‘Deep.’
Caitlin gushed nonsense. ‘I’ll go to the police. Maybe–’ ‘Forget it.’
‘This wasn’t your fault. You–’
‘I said forget it.’
Mackenzie breathed heavily through her mouth.
Andrew had been waiting with the news when they got back home from the coast. Awful news she’d tried not to think about. Now this. A breeze rustled the branches of the trees above them. Mackenzie felt sweat drying on her brow. She closed her eyes, savouring the sensation. Panic was the enemy. No good lay down that road. Whatever story they gave the police wouldn’t save them now. Digging was their only hope. She let her breath out slowly, forcing herself to stay calm.
‘We had that chance. It’s gone.’
‘But it’s the truth.’
‘You know it is.’
Mackenzie leaned on the spade, struggling to keep hold of her impatience.
‘I’ll tell you what I know. There’s a man with half a face lying in our garden. Explain that.’
‘I’ll tell them he attacked me.’
‘We discussed this. The way he died… they’ll never believe you.’
Mackenzie pointed to the trench at her feet.
‘And what’ll you say about this?’
Caitlin didn’t answer.
‘That’s what I thought.’
She stepped out of the grave.