GHOST and DEVIL goodness (Nook and Kobo)

Kind of spooky in the week GHOST hit 666 reviews in the UK, but a few things on CULLEN book two – DEVIL IN THE DETAIL.

If you’ve bought it, you should have received an email from Amazon yesterday saying a revised version was uploaded. This is fact. There’s also a revised version of GHOST IN THE MACHINE uploaded as well.

What sort of revisions? Well, one of the big things I’ve done this year is edit the first two novels so the writing is consistent with the later novels – my style has moved on a lot. With GHOST and DEVIL, I went through them several times and tidied the text up significantly. The changes were read by Rhona, who edited DYED IN THE WOOL and BOTTLENECK, and those two books are now as good as I can make them without starting again from scratch (seriously, don’t tempt me).

The bulk of the changes are stylistic – removing info dumps (bad), heavily-reducing the Scottish patois (no kens, didnaes and all that), cutting Bain’s swearing a bit (he’s still a profane idiot), heavily-reducing the dialogue attribution (I was a bit worried about people getting lost in dialogue, so every line had a said) and tidying up a few bits and pieces. There was a lot of descriptions of roads which really added nothing to the books – I should really write THE ED JAMES GUIDE TO THE SCOTTISH MOTORWAY SYSTEM (INCLUDING DUAL CARRIAGEWAYS AND SIGNIFICANT A-ROADS).

The significant changes to GHOST were the complete rewrite of the first scene and addition of a cold open scene in Pilrig Park, foreshadowing a bit of the ending. Nothing major, really. The word count went from 96,000 to just under 87k.

DEVIL was squashed into two calendar days and I’ve thinned the action on day two out into a third one, adding a nice scene with Sharon McNeill. There’s also a bit of a ticking clock that was in there which I’ve picked out of the mix and made more explicit. At least two of the scenes got really major rewrites. The word count was sliced from 103k to just over 86k and it is a lot slicker for it.

I don’t know if any of your ever have any plans to re-read the books (I think TRAINSPOTTING and THE CROW ROAD are the only novels I’ve read more than once…), then do me a favour and read these ones. Spending that amount of time putting sheen on a free book was a labour of love, really.

In other news, DEVIL is now out on Kobo and Nook. I’m experimenting with non-Amazon channels for the Cullens just now (I’ve had >30,000 GHOST downloads on these two) but I’ve been a bit underwhelmed by sales so far, shall we say. Say what you want about Amazon, their KDP offering for indies like me is second-to-none.

– Ed

Keep an eye on the mailing list – – to keep up with my release schedule.


Filed under DC Scott Cullen, Devil in the Detail, Ghost in the Machine, Uncategorized


Just noticed it’s two years to the day since I first published GHOST IN THE MACHINE. Wow. Hard to believe how much has changed in that time. Serious thanks to everyone who has downloaded it and bought the subsequent escapades in Cullen’s life.

I’ve spent some of this year revising the first two books to make them more consistent stylistically with the rest (and to reduce Bain’s swearing…) and new versions of GHOST and DEVIL are available now. I’m such a dabbler. They may email you telling about it, but if you want to receive the revised version on your Kindle, send them a mail and they’ll give you the new file (looks like they’re going to automate this).

Anyway, thought I’d give an update on where things are – the Mailing List is going to be my primary announcement thing and I’ll start using this place more regularly for more flippant stuff.

COLLECTED-Kindle-2014-05-06-smlCullen Year One
About a month ago, I released a collected edition of the first four books called CULLEN YEAR ONE. This puts GHOST, DEVIL, FIRE and DYED in one edition for the bargain price of £5.99 or $9.99, saving 25% off the price of buying them individually. It’s a bit of a steal, especially as GHOST is free already. Universal Amazon link – [ ] It’s on Kobo and Nook too if that’s your thing.

Had a few searches for the next Cullen book, clearly people who’ve devoured BOTTLENECK already. At the moment, there’s no release date for it. I’ll start doing some work in the next month or so, just to get the plot nailed down along with the novella I’ll do later this year. As per the BOTTLENECK afterword, still no idea when I’ll release it. Things are a bit in flux just now – keep an eye on the Mailing List for further news.

I’m  currently going hammer and tongs at the first draft of SNARED and am roughly a third of the way through, having bashed out 33,000 words. Not bad for three days’ work so far… Again, for release information, keep an eye on the Mailing List for news of when this one is going to get released. For those of you who don’t know, this is a new series set in Dundee with a new copper, DS Vicky Dodds. It’s hardcore police procedural all the way, similar in some ways but pretty different to Cullen. I’m enjoying writing it like you wouldn’t believe.

Yeah, not sure what I’m doing with this. CRASH INTO MY ARMS, the intended sequel to SHOT THROUGH THE HEART, is getting de-vampired and will be the next project after SNARED. I’ve got a solid idea for a sequel but the sales on this one have been really quite bad. I learnt a lesson with this one, that’s for sure. I’m going to make it free again to see if that gives it a market sufficient to warrant a book two.

I’ll be sending a new newsletter in the next couple of days – sign up at


Hope you’re all enjoying BOTTLENECK.

– Ed




Filed under Bottleneck, DC Scott Cullen, Devil in the Detail, DODDS 1 - SNARED, DS Dodds, Dyed in the Wool, Fire in the Blood, Ghost in the Machine, Uncategorized

BOTTLENECK – Kobo and Nook

I’m not all about Amazon. Mostly, but not all. I’ve put BOTTLENECK on Nook and Kobo right from the off -

Nook link

Kobo link

Amazon UK link | Amazon US link

Getting some very positive feedback on BOTTLENECK, which is a blessed relief more than anything. Oh, I was on the cover of Monday’s Herald.

To find out about my upcoming releases – sign up to the mailing list. I usually pre-release the book by this means, so it’s the best way of keeping on top of my books.

In other news, I’m just about ready to start the first draft of SNARED, the first DS DODDS mystery.

– Ed

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BOTTLE-Kindle-sml-2014-03-07BOTTLENECK is officially out today on Kindle and Kobo for £3.99 and $6.49 (other channels, including paperback and Nook will likely be 31-Mar-14) -

Kindle -
Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link
(other territories live now)

Kobo –
Kobo link

Hope you enjoy it! First chapter is just after the break.

– Ed

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Chapter one

      Alistair Cameron pushed the body of his guitar against its amplifier sending squalls of feedback coruscating through the room. His free hand reached down and adjusted the controls, making the noise swell. He looked over at Roddie pounding the drum kit and realised the song wasn’t going to end any time soon.
Grinning, he unstrapped the guitar and propped it against the amp before setting to work on his pedal board, fifteen Boss and Fender units interconnected in an array he’d taken months to perfect. He applied a layer of delay before gradually increasing the reverb. On a beat, his right hand slammed down on an overdrive pedal then a distortion two bars later, while his left mimicked a foot and added a wave of wah wah.
Through the noise, he could just about pick up Roddie’s clattering drum pattern signalling the end. He looked over at Gary, head down and noodling away on his bass, keeping some semblance of song together. Their eyes locked. Alistair nodded at Gary then over at Roddie who swept into a long snare roll stretching over four bars. Alistair gradually switched off pedal after pedal before carefully retrieving his guitar just in time to crash in on the final chord.
The sound stopped dead, echoes of the cymbals dying away.
“If there was an audience,” said Gary, “they’d be going mental just now.”
Alistair nodded as he looked around the practice room, four whitewashed walls and a bare ceiling above a concrete floor, the equipment of two bands rammed into the tiny space. “Not long till we have a proper crowd.”
Roddie grinned. “You almost didn’t make the last chord there. One pedal too many.”
Alistair shrugged, trying to affect the cool the singer of a band should have. “I was tempted to put another one on.” He sat down on his amp and flicked it to standby. “Reckon that’s us for tonight?”
“Think so,” said Roddie, before reaching round and tossing a can of beer over to Alistair.
“Cheers.” He inspected it, a cheap supermarket brand. He wasn’t one to turn down free beer, so tentatively opened it, careful not to catch the gush of foam on his clothes, shoes, guitar or pedals. The floor got it instead, another sticky patch that would take weeks to clear.
“That was a good practice,” said Gary.
“Damn right.” Roddie avoided the spray as he opened his can.
“Nice to kick back and relax now,” said Alistair, feeling genuinely spent from the exertions of running through their twenty-five minute set four times, almost eradicating errors.
“Not quite,” said Gary, taking a sip of vodka straight from the bottle.
“Eh?” said Alistair.
“Tonight’s the night,” said Gary, mouth twisting into an evil grin.
Alistair rolled his eyes. “You still on about that?” he said, trying to sound tired.
“Aye, and I won’t stop until you finally do it.” Gary picked up a copy of The List, the Glasgow and Edinburgh what’s-on guide, and showed it to Alistair. “The deal was, I arrange the gig and you go for a wander down there.”
Alistair shook his head. “You’re such a bloody child.” He looked around, desperate for an excuse. “I need a torch.”
Gary grinned again as he took one out of his hoodie pocket. “Here you go. No more excuses.”
“You really want me to do this?” said Alistair, trying to sound grown up, challenging Gary to see the error of his childish ways.
It didn’t work. Gary prodded him in the chest. “A deal’s a deal,” he said, punctuating each word with a poke.
Alistair’s eyes pleaded with Roddie.
“Don’t look at me,” said the drummer. “This is between you pair.” He cracked open another beer before belching.
“Fine,” said Alistair, feeling his blood rise.
Gary turned to a dog-eared page. “Here.”
It was an interview with Expect Delays, the local band made good. Alistair was obsessed with them, almost as much as Gary. Top five singles, a number one album and supporting U2 at Hampden next week. Miles better than playing to the proverbial ‘three blokes and a murderer’ at Bannerman’s, like they would on Sunday.
“What am I supposed to be looking for here?” said Alistair.
Gary’s fat finger pointed to a chunk of interview text. “This bit.”
Alistair read the interview with Neeraj Patel, Expect Delays’ guitarist, talking about the practice room they used as an unsigned band in Edinburgh.
“I know they practised here,” said Alistair. “That’s why we got the room.”
“That’s not it,” said Gary. “Read on.”
“Right, so they went for a wander along an old street under the Old Town? Big deal.”
“Says you can walk for miles under here,” said Gary. “Can’t believe they did that, man. It’s fate. If we do it, maybe we’ll get signed, too.”
“I don’t think it works like that,” said Alistair, sweating despite the cold.
“You’re not going back on our deal, are you?” said Gary.
Alistair tried again with the maturity act, this time folding his arms. He got nowhere. “Right, fuck it,” he said, getting to his feet and snatching the torch from Gary.
“Good man,” said Gary.
Alistair stormed out of the room, swinging the torch by its cord. They were on the second level down and the entrance was on the next, the lowest. He waited with Gary while Roddie locked the door then headed down the stone stairs.
He heard the sound of at least one other band bleeding through the walls. He checked his watch – still another fifty minutes till they had to lock up.
Alistair stopped by the heavy door and turned round. “You coming with me?”
Gary rubbed his hands together. “Of course.”
“Wouldn’t miss this for the world,” said Roddie.
Alistair grimaced before marching on. The lack of whitewash was the only difference between the rehearsal space and the old street.
An old paraffin lantern hanging from a wall reminded him of Mary King’s Close, the sanitised tourist attraction he’d visited with school.
This was different – an ancient road that led off Niddry Street before the buildings of South Bridge sprang up in the nineteenth century. The smell of damp – always present in their room – worsened as they progressed deeper.
They came to a crossroads that opened out slightly. Alistair quickly ascertained two of the paths were bricked up, leaving right as the only option. He shone the torch into the gloom, the beam dying long before it reached a distant wall. The hair on his arms pricked up. He swallowed hard and marched on, trying to recall the exact terms of the deal – he reckoned another hundred footsteps ought to do it, but he didn’t know whether Gary would see it that way.
“What was that?” said Roddie.
“Your burp,” said Alistair, briefly turning round.
“No, I swear I heard something.”
Alistair gritted his teeth and strode on, determined to get it over with. After another fifty or so paces, the path curved hard to the left. He was aware of their breath behind him, loud in the darkness. “This’ll do.”
“Nowhere near enough, mate,” said Gary. “Keep going.”
“Come on, man,” said Alistair.
“Don’t ‘come on, man’ me.” Gary stabbed a finger at his chest. “I say when it’s over, not you.”
Alistair pushed on. After another twenty seconds, he stopped dead and turned to face the others. “I swear I heard something.”
Gary scowled. “Quit it. Roddie’s trick didn’t work on you, so you’re trying it on me now?”
Alistair swivelled back round, the torch dancing on the stone walls. The light bounced off something metallic. “What’s that?”
“Enough,” said Gary.
“I mean it,” said Alistair, pointing down with the torch. “Look. Something’s glinting.”
“Might be some old money or something,” said Roddie. He laughed and spoke in a stupid voice. “Maybe it’s gold. Maybe a treasure chest.”
“I doubt it,” said Gary.
Alistair inched forward, flicking the torch across the ground. As they approached, he saw something long and thin. He stopped and looked closer. A screwdriver. He crept on, training the torch ahead. The light shone on something and he let out a gasp.
A body was propped against the wall.


Filed under Bottleneck, DC Scott Cullen, Scifi

Crime fiction lover

Just spotted an interesting article about me on crime fiction lover, one of,y very favourite online review sites -


– Ed

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Ed James on Radio Scotland – listen to the replay

Had a blast this afternoon – listen back at the following link:

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BOTTLENECK blurb – released 17-Mar-14

Released on Monday 17th March, here is the book blurb for BOTTLENECK, CULLEN 5 -

BOTTLE-Kindle-sml-2014-03-07Acting Detective Sergeant Scott Cullen almost has the stable relationship and promotion he’s long coveted. The uncertainty surrounding the imminent Police Scotland restructure and his crippling caseload both take their toll on him. Now living with his girlfriend, her own burning ambition puts a strain on their relationship and her health, traits they both share.

But when a body is discovered in the abandoned streets underneath Edinburgh’s Old Town, Cullen struggles to identify the victim before trawling the depths of the Scottish music scene, digging up old scores in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Now, as he returns to the Angus home town he’s long since left, Cullen finds himself spread thin, hunting across Scotland for a killer who leaves no trace. As Scotland’s police forces are centralised into Police Scotland, Cullen is dragged into the murky world of internal politics, blocking progress in the case and jeopardising his own career.

BOTTLENECK is a tense police procedural novel about greed and ambition that will suck you in from the start.

Intended as a series jumping-on point, BOTTLENECK is Book 5 in the Edinburgh-based police procedurals starring DC Scott Cullen which have been compared favourably with Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham, Christopher Brookmyre, Ed McBain, Elmore Leonard and Stuart MacBride.

– Ed


Filed under Bottleneck, Crime, DC Scott Cullen