An ongoing series of tartan noir crime novels set in Glasgow. Book seven out in March!
Dark of Night
"He had to keep saying her name... if he kept saying her name then she wasn't gone..."
Sometimes the only way to mend a broken heart is to catch a serial killer.
How a date with a serial killer inspired my first series...
Many years ago, I worked at an oil refinery in Ohio. How a wannabe filmmaker from Scotland, living in Vancouver, Canada, ended up there is a long story. Suffice it to say, I was skint.
I got to be pally with the then-wife of one of my co-workers. She came from Seattle originally, so there was a bit of Pacific Northwest bonding. One night, we hit downtown Toledo for some Margaritas, and I poured out my latest dating dramas.
Not that it was relevant, but I was seeing a literal redneck who built cars from scratch in his spare time and, on our second date, had introduced me to his toddler's mother, who was also his stepsister. Lovely guy, we're still Facebook friends. My friend was married with three kids, so she shared a story that had happened to her aunt.
The middle of four sisters, my friend's aunt was the only one still unmarried in her mid-twenties, a great age in 1974. She was working at a laundromat and feeling as though life was passing her by when, one day, a handsome lawyer came in with some shirts to iron and asked her out. She wasn't sure about him, but he persisted, bringing in ironing and mending over weeks until she finally agreed to a date.
They went to dinner, and she'd fallen hook, line and sinker by the main course. He was the definition of gallant, opening doors and pulling out her seat. He asked questions and listened to the answers! Good looking, a career on the up -- all in all, the perfect man. She felt as though she had waited all this time, forcing smiles through each sister's wedding as distant relatives pestered her about why she didn't have a man — all for the ultimate reward of the dream man to end dream men.
However, as he drove her home and visions of classy spring weddings danced in her head, she was suddenly hit by a violent bout of food poisoning. He barely managed to pull over before she fell out of the car, and her digestive system turned itself inside out in a horrifyingly lively manner. Now, we all know that no adult is going to judge anyone for getting ill, but all the same, it's not exactly the most seductive image.
Sure enough, Lawyer-man swiftly dropped her off with no promise of a second date, and days passed with no call. Naturally, she did what we all do. Obsessed about how to fix it. Gave him one more day to call, then six more. Debated finding his number and calling him. Toyed with the notion of strolling past his workplace with her hair newly done.
Not long afterwards, she met a good guy, who turned out to be a decent husband and a kind father — but she never forgot the dreamy dude some dodgy scallops had ruined her chances with. It became a bit of a family joke. The next generation headed out on first dates with warnings to quiz waiters about the freshness of ingredients and maybe play it safe with pasta ringing in their ears.
One day, a good decade or so later, she sat down to watch the lunchtime news, and there he was.
Prince Charming. Under arrest, being shoved into a police car. Press flashbulbs going wild.
It was Ted Bundy.
The dodgy scallops had saved her life.
I was immediately obsessed with the story and determined to make it into something. For years and years, I toyed with it, trying to find the story, but nothing quite worked. And then I moved home to Glasgow.
While I am originally from here, my dad got a job in Paris when I was eight, so I grew up there, in the States, then London, before moving to Vancouver and then to Stockholm as an adult. Returning home was a strange experience — on the one hand, I didn't know many people or my way around. But on the other, it was familiar at an almost cellular level.
My memory dances to the beat of her own drum. I could not tell you what I had for breakfast this morning, but the day I stumbled across the hairdressers on Bath Street where my mum got a bob in 1984, I recognised it instantly. For months, I lived in a permanent state of deja vu, literally tripping over the echoes of my childhood. At times, I even got lost in the notion of who I would be if we had never moved away. How much of my personality is influenced by, not only my experiences with different cultured, but of being the new girl seven times during my school career?
With all that buzzing in my mind, I was strolling along the Kelvin River heading into the Botanical Gardens one day. The Ted Bundy story popped into my head — and I finally had it. It wasn't about the jump-scare reveal of who he was, but about the fact he haunted her. My friend's aunt had spent years wondering about a parallel life as the privileged wife of this charming attorney — never knowing the fate projectile puke actually saved her from.
A crime thriller about being haunted by choices, things you did or didn't do and the road not taken sprung to life in my brain. Dark of Night was born!
I’m Claire and I am giving myself a year to make this indie author thing happen.
T"he characters in the book are authentic “Glesga” characters with that dry wit, irreverent humour and that way of telling a stranger your life story if you stand beside them for longer than 5 minutes, shone throughout the book. From the earwigging of conversations in the cafe to the local community centre dancing classes, it felt realistic and believable."