Crime thriller puts Lochaber on the murder map

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The first book by debut crime author, JD Kirk, is set to bring death and destruction to the Outdoor Capital when it is published this week by Fort William-based publishing company, Zertex Media.

A Litter of Bones begins with a child being abducted while on a family dog walk in Leanachan Forest, and evidence soon connects it to a serial-killer investigation dating back decades. Lead officer in that case, DCI Jack Logan, is brought up from Glasgow, and the search for the missing boy becomes a frantic race against the clock.

The story was inspired by the author’s own experience while walking his dog in the very same spot.

‘My daughter and I were walking along a forestry track, when the dog vanished into the trees somewhere,’ explains JD. ‘I told my daughter to wait while I went in to look for the dog, and when I came back out my daughter was nowhere to be seen.’

Recalling the moments that followed, JD said: ‘My heart stopped. I immediately thought something must have happened to her, or that she’d been taken by someone. It’s every parent’s worst fear.

‘Then, she popped up from behind a bush laughing her head off, and I could almost have throttled her myself!’

The scare was enough to get the would-be author’s mind racing, though, and by the time he’d driven back home to Fort William, he had most of the plot of A Litter of Bones worked out.

The book features several well-known local landmarks, including J.J.’s café, the Fort William to Mallaig railway line, and – of course – the Fort William Police Station. But, while many of the places referenced in the story are real, the author admits he had to take ‘some creative licence’ with a few others for the sake of the plot.

‘And,’ he laughs, ‘to avoid being sued for libel!’

A Litter of Bones is available in paperback from The Highland Bookshop in Fort William, and in ebook format on Amazon. An audio version is currently in production and will be available later this year.