Debut author brings thriller to Fife

The Splinter Man will be released later this week. (Pic: George McLuskie)
The Splinter Man will be released later this week. (Pic: George McLuskie)

A retired Windygates man is preparing to enter the world of thriller novels later this week.

The Splinter Man, written by Bill Devlin (66), is a “murder mystery, psychological thriller” and will be released on Amazon.

The book takes place in the 60s at locations around Fife, centring on Glenrothes – where Bill lived for most of his life – and the main character, Frankie.

Frankie, described by the author as “a decent chap, mixed up by his own experiences”, is a drug-addict who is incorporated into the local gang outfit.

He must make the choice between living a life of crime, taking part in violent and profit-making activities, or staying true to the values that made him the person that he is.

Bill had previously written short stories and had contributed an article to The Big Issue, but this marks his first foray into novels.

He was inspired to pen his debut novel because of his love for detective fiction but admits his own life experiences influenced his writing.

“Those experiences are so far back in the past that they feel almost fictional,” Bill said. “I drew partly on my impressions of Fife in the 60s, partly on my studies but largely on my imagination to write the book. Having studied psychology at university and lived in the heady days of the 60s I had an idea of how to write about a person who immersed themselves in drugs to the extent that they end up lost to themselves, alienated from society and from everything that was previously certain and familiar.

“It’s a dark tale but the conclusion is quite optimistic.”

Bill came out of his self-described ‘wilderness’ in 1987 and took an HNC in Radio Broadcasting at Glenrothes College and in 1994 completed a degree in psychology and english at Dundee University.

Following this spell as a mature student he worked for ten years at Velux and as a creative writing tutor for the Workers Educational Association.

Writing the book was a two year process, as Bill wrote it while working at Velux. He said writing the book helped him deal with his own chequered history.

“It was a cathartic experience,” Bill explained. “It helped lay a lot of old ghosts to rest. There were instances in the book that tugged at my memory. It was an unsettling experience to read it at times.”

The plot takes in several locations around the Kingdom. While the central character hails from Glenrothes, other locations include Kirkcaldy and Leven.

Bill added: “It’s pure fiction but the geography of the book will be familiar to the people of Fife.”

The book will be available for kindle or as a paperback and the ISBN number is 9781544935126.