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M.R. Mackenzie Mailing List
1 July, 2020
Newsletter Issue #2: The July Journal

Hi ,

With great swathes of the world still in lockdown -- or at least still under heavily restrictions -- time seems to move both incredibly quickly and not at all. On the one hand, it seems like it was only yesterday that all this kicked off, while on the other I've become so used to the "new normal" that's almost difficult to remember a time when things were any different. As I write this (Monday 29th June), Scotland has just reported its fourth day in a row with no deaths registered -- proof that, while the picture both south of the border and in other parts of the world is far less rosy -- it is possible, by adopting sensible precautions and a measured, evidence-based approach, to get this thing under control. If the current trend continues, Scotland will be on track to eliminate the virus by the end of summer -- something I doubt any of us would have imagined being possible just a few short weeks ago.

And now, with that public service announcement out of the way, on with what you really came here for... books!

The Library Murders
Broken glasses and a pool of blood (image © Shutterstock)

A few weeks ago, I announced that my latest novel, The Library Murders, would be released on 20th August. I can't wait for people to finally get their hands on it and discover the answers to the various burning questions it poses: who was the masked gunman who strode into Thornhill Public Library on a quiet Monday morning and opened fire on the defenceless staff, what motivated him to commit such a seemingly senseless attack... and who is the owner of the bloodied and broken glasses on the front cover?

The answer to at least one of these questions is included in Chapter 1, which I'm making exclusively available to my subscribers before I open it up to the wider audience closer to the book's launch. Give a read -- hopefully it'll whet your appetite for what's to follow!

I'm also thrilled to have secured an endorsement from Morgan Cry (a.k.a. Gordon Brown, who interviewed me and the other Debut Prize nominees at last year's Bloody Scotland). He calls the book "an immersive slow burn, peppered with disquieting fire-crackers of revelation". By the way, his latest novel, Thirty-one Bones, comes out tomorrow and looks like an absolute blast, so why not grab yourself a copy?

The Library Murders is being treated to a week-long blog tour, organised by Overview Media, to coincide with the launch, so you can look forward to reading a range of opinions on the book. Stay tuned for the full schedule in a future update!

Finally, the Kindle edition is available to pre-order now for £1.99/$2.99 for a limited time only (exact pricing will vary by locality). To take advantage of this early bird offer, reserve your copy today!

And physical book fans, worry not -- I'll have news about the paperback edition for you very soon! All being well, you'll be able to order copies from Amazon and various other suppliers on or slightly before the official release date. I'll also be selling signed copies directly, just like In the Silence and The Shadow Men -- and if all goes according to plan, I'll be in a position to ship them before launch day. Stay tuned for further information!

The Library Murders cover
On the Writing Desk: The Shadow Men
The view from Queen's Park (photo © Shutterstock)

When my editor's notes on The Library Murders came in, I was a decent chunk of the way through the second draft of my next novel, the third instalment in the Anna Scavolini series, The Shadow Men. I put it to one side to address these notes and prepare The Library Murders for publication, but now that that's out of the way I'm well and truly back in the land of Anna and the mysterious Shadow Men, and am powering my way towards the finishing line.

It's always slightly frustrating to have to put a project on hold, not least because it tends to mean I lose my momentum and struggle to get back into the swing of things once I pick it up again. In an ideal world, I'd have waited till the draft was complete before hitting the pause button, but c'est la vie! On the plus side, over the course of refreshing my memory by re-reading what I'd written so far, I was able to identify a number of areas that could be tightened up, cutting close to 4,000 words in the process.

It's still some distance from completion, and there will invariably need to be a further round of edits before I consider it fit for public consumption (three seems to be the magic number for me when it comes to drafts), but I should have the current draft in the can before the next issue of this newsletter comes out in September. Wish me luck!

On the Bookshelf
The Turn of the Key cover

Among my recent reads is The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware, an absolute masterclass in psychological suspense and the most addictive page-turner I've encountered in a long time. I'm not, by any sensible measure, a fast reader -- if I can get through one book a fortnight I consider myself to be doing well -- but I absolutely devoured this one, which hooked me from the brilliant (and unique) opening pages and kept me guessing all the way to the end. This is the first book by Ruth Ware I've read (though I've been meaning to check out her work for ages), and it's safe to say it won't be the last.

You can whet your appetite by reading the first chapter here.

On the Jukebox
The Tartan Noir Show

I don't tend to find I have much time to listen to podcasts these days, but of late I've been making an exception for The Tartan Noir Show. This weekly show, hosted by author and broadcaster Theresa Talbot, has been an absolute delight, with each episode featuring a different distinguished guest from the world of Scottish crime, from Val McDermid in the inaugural episode to Peter May in the most recent.

The final episode of Series 1 has now aired, but while we wait for the hopefully inevitable Series 2, there's a rich back catalogue of episodes to peruse, available on your podcasting platform of choice or direct from the official website.

While you're at it, why not give them a follow on Twitter? (Be sure to tell them I sent you! ;)

That’s All, Folks!

Well, that's it for another issue. I've got a couple of weeks' holiday from the day job coming up, during which I intend to crack on with The Shadow Men and undertake my final proofread of The Library Murders, ironing out any last remaining glitches and typos ahead of the release date.

Other than that, stay safe, everyone, and I'll see you again in another couple of months' time!

Happy reading,

M.R. Mackenzie signature
M.R. Mackenzie

Unit 29574
PO Box 26965

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