Trust me, I’m a lawyer. That thread which holds the fabric of society together is broken here in so many ways. McLane witnesses a suicide. The Faculty of Advocates and the University of Edinburgh are both hacked. Now his wife is convinced he’s having an affair. Who sent incriminating photos to his home and are these events connected? Career and happy family life crash into misery and confusion.Who can he trust to help him discover whoever is behind all this?
Low Life in High places in the Old Town of Edinburgh
Guest Post By John Mayer
Writing is precious, or at least, it was. When people first began to write what we would call books – which was in Sanskrit – the technique was open and free for anyone to learn. As soon as writing spread to Europe, it was hijacked by religious zealots who used writing to scare people into beliefs they didn’t have before and didn’t actually want.
With the advent of Amazon Books, I think book writing has come full circle and is once more open and free to learn. The thing is that the openness bit tends to allow for ‘writers’ not to bother with the learning bit. That’s what pushes the dross down to the bottom of the Amazon pyramid. As a life-long learner, I don’t mind that at all.
People who have learned to read can’t be stupid, but they are often lazy readers. That too is OK with me. A carefully crafted story which suspends the reader’s disbelief, is a very difficult thing to do well and has to be both learned and practised regularly. Attentive readers know that and recognise quality when they see it. I’m very proud to say that many reviewers of The Parliament House Books say they recognise the quality in what I write. That’s very satisfying because quality lasts in the mind of readers; which means my stories are not a fast-food meal which goes in easily and comes out just the same with equal dissatisfaction at both ends. I like to think that my stories actually help people to shape their own opinions on the books’ subject matter: which is ‘injustice in high places’.
It’s often said that my stories don’t read like other writers’ books. Well, I agree that they don’t because I write in a way which I think is unique to me. I don’t plan, or plot or stick to any kind of formula. I start with a single word: but that word has to be an important one which contains many ideas; not just legal ideas, but social and personal ones too. For instance, the words Cross, Cycle, Boots, Trial, Order, Bones, Trust all contain multiple ideas. Of course, I write about Parliament House and legal cases, so my twenty years’ experience as an Advocate in the Supreme Court of Scotland gives me a depth of insight which no-one else has. I then develop the single word by imagining how it applies to people in a court case as well as how the court case impacts on their lives and the lives of those around them. Again, I don’t think many writers have that facility. The American lawyers who write books are all office lawyers, which is a world apart from Parliament House in Edinburgh. When I’ve got the word at the centre of a number of ideas, I then start to sculpt the word – which is like a stone block at this early stage – into a shape which readers can appreciate from many angles.
My central character, Brogan McLane QC, lives in two worlds. One is the grandness and splendour of Parliament House in Edinburgh where he practises law at the Bar of the Court. The other is the Calton Bar in Glasgow where he grew up and has his blood brother – Big Joe Mularkey – by his side. The stories reveal how the low life in high places in the old town of Edinburgh are often disguised by their finery and the characters in each book have to look to another kind of Bar for help in getting justice. That is not to say that all Advocates and Judges in Parliament House are corrupt or incompetent: but some are and they casually wreck lives on a regular basis.
If injustice sounds a bit boring, just ask any crying child who is screaming ‘That’s not fair’ how injustice feels. Anyone whose loved one is wrongly convicted will tell that the long hard slog trying to turn injustice into justice is a very humiliating and lonely place to be. Similarly in civil cases, trying to get justice for a wrongful act done to you in a few seconds, can take years and drain you of all your money. Those trying that task will tell you, that it eats into your soul so that you live and breathe the injustice, often for years or decades. There is an old Arabic curse which says ‘May your life be filled with lawyers.’ Anyone who’s had that experience will tell you that it wrecks you emotionally, financially and spiritually until many people surrounded by injustice take their own lives. Any politician will tell you that there are no votes in fighting injustice; but there should be.
I hope you never have your life filled with lawyers and only experience that curse through the world of Brogan McLane QC in The Parliament House Books.
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Merry Christmas from Kelly & The Team, thank you for all your support and love in 2017.