Gordon Ferris - The Hanging Shed
Evoking the dark side of 1950s Scotland
This article is from 2011.
For an author whose subject matters might be referred to as solidly traditional – a compelling combination of post-war historical drama and ripping crime thriller – Gordon Ferris is at the leading edge of a publishing revolution. The first two novels in his Danny McRae series, Truth Dare Kill and The Unquiet Heart, were released through a small publisher in traditional paper format and, as he has it, ‘rose without trace’.
Then someone had the bright idea of releasing his third novel, The Hanging Shed, as an e-book and something clicked. ‘I’m a book lover,’ says the London-based, Kilmarnock-born Ferris, ‘so the thought of selling e-books feels somehow intangible. It’s impossible to ignore the sheer volume of folk who have read them, though, something like 200,000 in the last six months.’
Such success is based upon crisp storytelling and a unique selling point, with McRae (‘a damaged person, he had a bad war’) and new character Douglas Brodie (‘capable, strong, tough-minded’) having learned their trade in Glasgow’s police force. ‘In one sense these stories are harking back to my boyhood,’ says Ferris. ‘1950s Scotland is a very interesting time; the country is in rack and ruin, there’s high unemployment and destitution. A nation fit for heroes? Not really. It’s untravelled territory.’
24 Aug (with Craig Russell), 6.45pm, £10 (£8).