Local characters inspired Oban man’s first novel on black ops

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A cyber security expert from Oban has published his first novel, Pawn in the Shadows, introducing Louise Stewart as a black ops assassin in the employ of the UK government.

‘Pawn in the Shadows by K.J. MacMillan is a fast-paced thriller tracking Stewart, the daughter of a prostitute in a Glasgow council estate, with her father long gone, and betrayed by the establishment at every turn,’ the book description says.

‘Joining up with Mac, Storm and Hairy Dave, they form an elite assassination team in the heart of Moscow. Their task is taking out a high ranking Russian General without being caught.

‘The most difficult assassination the team have ever faced, against an opponent who is a chess master and rising star of the Russian Intelligence Service.’

Cyber security expert K.J. MacMillan, who has just published his first thriller.

Kenny MacMillan grew up in Oban, and attended Oban High School from 1980 to 1986, before going on to study Chemical Engineering at Heriot-Watt University. His parents, David and Irene MacMillan, still live on Nant Drive. Kenny now lives in Glasgow with his wife Lesley.

He has spent the last 23 years working in the Telecoms and Cyber Security industry before embarking on writing his first book.

‘My book is character driven, and growing up in Oban I met so many amazing characters that I could draw on for inspiration,’ he said. ‘In a lot of ways this book is a homage to all those amazing people.’

Can you spot yourself in the fictional characters?


Louise Stewart had one objective: poison a Russian General with a Russian strain of Novichok and get out alive.
If she got caught, she would never be seen again. The big Russian machine would just make her disappear, buried in a woodland somewhere just outside of Moscow in a shallow grave. It added a certain amount of spice to the situation. She thrived on it.
The mystique of living a lie and being deep undercover in a foreign country with limited back-up in place.
To make things even more interesting, the General was the commander of the FSB, the Russian Intelligence service. Not only could what she was doing lead to a death sentence in Russia, it would be a political disaster for the UK Government.
In her mind Louise still saw herself as just a wee girl from Glasgow who had had a tough upbringing. She was not one of the victims in life, she believed that life makes you who you are.
The good bits you enjoy, and the bad bits are where you learn; and the in-between bits, well, they are just life’s highway to the next good bit.