There’s blood everywhere…

I suppose it’s really about time I said something about Halfhead, you know, what with it being published tomorrow. Well, I say ‘published’, what I mean is that it’s the official publication date, which means the book itself’s probably been on sale for about a week or so already. But tomorrow is it’s official birthday, so cake and party hats for everyone. You know, the big pointy ones, where the elastic’s never big enough to around your chin and ends up either snapping and putting your eye out, or getting wedged under your nose. Making you look a bit like a pig with a silly hat on.

But I digress. Yes, Halfhead. Tomorrow. Stuff.

the Halfhead has landed

I’m expecting a bit of a backlash about this book, much like the one I got when Sawbones came out last year: “How dare you write about anywhere other than Aberdeen!!!” “How dare you write about anyone other than Logan!!!” “How dare you be so damn sexy in a built up zone, between the hours of eight and six!!!” You know, the usual.

So let’s get all our nuns in the box and make with the info. Halfhead is a thriller, not a book about spaceships and aliens and anal probes. What it does have are explosions, full-frontal nudity, conspiracies, serial killers, and onomatopoeic weapons*.

I even got a lovely blurb from that lovely tri-genre-straddling master of Horror, Sci-Fi, and crime fiction: Michael Marshall (AKA: Michael Marshall Smith, AKA M.M. Smith) “Slick, gruesome and brutally intelligent, this is bare knuckles thriller-writing.” Which means I’m going to owe him a hell of a lot of pints next time I see him.


It also, believe it or not, has a kind of theme going through it. I won’t say what it is, because I tend to think themes are a bit wanky. But it’s only a little theme. More frottage than full-on onanism.

I think I’ll steer clear of the whole ‘theme’ thing when I visit Shetland at the end of the week to do my first Halfhead-related event though. Don’t want all the islanders avoiding me, now do I?

Oh, and speaking of Shetland, I have some rather unlikely news. BBC Radio Shetland** is handing over the airwaves to Mr Allan Guthrie and myself for nearly a whole hour on Friday evening (18:10 – 19:00). We’ll be spinning the platters that matter, the songs for thongs, the tunes that … droon. Or something.

I plan on calling everyone ‘hep cats’, that should ensure my swift promotion to a regular slot on Radio 2.


* Which I have to admit are some of my favourite bits of the book: Whompers and Thrummers being the cream of the onomatopoeic crop. What do they do? Well, Whompers go ‘WHOMP! when you pull the trigger, and make stuff explode, and Thrummers go ‘THRRRRRRRRRMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM…’ and tear stuff apart into its component molecules. Which would be super useful if you’ve ever tried to get baked on grease off of a roasting dish. Or a double-glazing salesman off your front step.
** Yeah, they’re having to keep it quiet on the BBC website, because they don’t want the studio mobbed with screaming women. Probably all wanting us to shut the fuck up and play some Scottish country music instead.

35 Responses to “There’s blood everywhere…”

  1. AWESOME!!

    Any idea when it’ll be available in the states? Also, do they barbeque in Shetland? You and Mr. Guthrie could lip-smack your way through a rack of ribs and a mountain of wings on air, all while playing some smokin-hot blues and giving away bottles of hot sauce to caller number 9! That’d be some damn tasty radio, imho and you’d be too busy eating to wear out your voice. 😉

    WB to the blog, btw. I missed seeing your bearded sauciness.

    Mmm. Sauce!

  2. My question is also how to get it in the States. is showing it out of print (as I’m sure you are aware of).

  3. Ah, the naughtiness of, Salli – it can’t be out of print in the States, because it’s never been in print over there. And as far as I know, there’s no plan for it to come out on that side of the pond at the moment. Maybe in a wee while…? Who knows?

    And Tammy, a BBQ radio show would rock the rocking bits off a rocking thing. One can but dream.


    (and Al’s a vegetarian, so I’d get all the ribs and wings! Result!’

  4. Good luck with the new book. I’m sure it’ll sell, but i’ll wait for The Works to flog it cheap as I don’t like stuff that is out of the box.

  5. Thanks. My husband is in Aberdeen packing up our stuff for our move back to the States (we were expats in Aberdeen (Kingswells) for three years). I’ll show him your comment why he has to add a copy to bring back for me with all the kids’ toys :). Good luck with the book! I’ve enjoyed the rest of your books.

  6. Bought this a week ago in Borders, and so far, I like it. Has it sat in HarperCollins’ drawer for years, or did you tidy it up for publication?

    I think you’ve taken the crown from Alastair Reynolds in the “gruesome things to do to a person in an SF novel” category.

    I think I may have to sit down with an A-Z and see if I can place some of the scenes (and to see if you put a dirty great tower block over my house!)

    Any plans for a sequel? or juist another one in the setting? So far, it seems like Glasgow’s it’s own little island in the North Atlantic; I’d like to see how it fits in with the rest of the UK.

    Was the Ian M. Banks-style middle initial your idea or the publisher’s?

  7. Read it and loved it – genuinely fantastic book – if monumentally bleak in places.

    Particularly like the recasting of Dundee as Las Vegas (which could almost be a Cocteau Twins song) – one wonders what fates other Scottish towns have had!

    In a self indulgent way I’ve gushed fulsomely about Halfhead here.

  8. i feel left out again. i still have to read blind eye. but dammit i have 5 books to finish before i can get to it and halfhead too. so again, dammit.

  9. Thank you for another fantastic book Stuart!
    I found it hard to imagine that it was set in Glasgow. It could have been based anywhere.
    Keep up the good work, and although I love the Logan books, it was good to read something that wee bit different.

  10. Hi Stuart. I have just discovered your books by reading the back of Flesh House in a bar-tabac in Castelnaudary (deep, dark, France), not buying it, regretting it (esp. when wading through a ridiculously bad crime novel which I had bought in a badly stocked FNAC, in an attempt to quash said regret for not buying yours), getting home, googling “human flesh, Aberdeen” and… finding you! Hurrah. (Gasp for breath).

    I still haven’t read Flesh House since I’m starting at the beginning and am only on Dying Light, but I love your style of writing; intelligent, funny, gruesome, human. So, um thanks!! Thanks a lot. I’m looking forward to every word that awaits me!

  11. I see that apart from the book launch tonight, that you are also at the Inverness Festival on the 6th October (with Alex Gray & Ian Rankin).

  12. Hi Danni, I’m afraid I’ve had to delete your comment, as it contained a naughty spoiler! Bad! In the corner with you!

    “talking about Flesh House, did i ever mention that after reading that book, i was totally put off meat?? yeah, am a reborn vegetarian now, thanks to *************!!!”

  13. Hi Stuart

    Great to meet you again at the book launch in Waterstones last night (I was wearing the “Hand over your nuts!” t-shirt).

    During your talk, you mentioned a book set in San Francisco, and I was looking for it on Amazon, but can’t remember the details – can you remind me?
    Something like “The Fugitives”??


  14. Was at Waterstones on 22nd Sept, I did enjoy your wee speil but one tiny criticism….please dont dont need the bad are very entertaining without it. Would have enjoyed it much more but was surrounded by your groupies who loudly cackled at anything remotely resembling a word.I am looking forward to the new book in
    May, fingers crossed that Cold Granite makes it to the small screen.

  15. omigosh!!
    i’m soooooooo sorry!!
    it was not intentional at all!!
    really!! i swear!!
    i can be a real bimbo sometimes…well ok maybe all the time. i should really start thinking about things i say.
    sorry sorry sorry. i hope nobody else read it.

  16. Brypie, your probly refferring to sawbones, great short book actually, dunno why it was slated!!

    stuart i’ve ordered halfhead so be prepared for some signings on your next visit to WS better take new biro wi you as i’ll have all of my books with me.

    did you get the pictures i sent you of logans run?

  17. Kev,

    Thanks for the reply, but I’m fairly sure that Stuart was talking about a book by another author.

    (Unless my addled brain has mashed together 2 different book recommendations!!!) 🙂

  18. You’re quite right, Brypie, the book in question was THE INTRUDERS by Michael Marshall. Great book, by the way, weird, but great.

  19. Blog something new please mr macbeardy!

    Hope the blister is better (the garden in looking lovely, although you trimmed the hedge too short!)

    Take care,

    D x

    oooh are there any plans to do another murder, mystery and microscopes thingamyjig? I already know about half a dozen people that want to go after my facebook comment on it.

    Also, there have been requests for a fan page on facebook… and not just by me!

  20. just started reading halfhead, must say as i’m not really a sci fi type of person i found it real easy to get engrossed in it, although i am finding myself relating the characters Will & DS cameron, to Logan & DI steel, maybe just me tho. i’m only 100 pages in but find it hard as the Logan McRae books to put down so i guess you have done good again in my eyes stuart, although if the rest of it turns out to be poop i’ll be tellin ye aff!

  21. just finished reading it – very good!

    I liked all the “Thumpers” and “Whompers” etc!! 🙂

    Set up for a sequel…?

  22. Hi Mr. McB,

    Found Halfhead here in Weiland Bookstore in the Altona suburb of Hamburg Germany and must say I very much enjoyed it! Not published in the “Newnited States” yet? That’s a shame… If you are on the market for a US agent, let me know!

  23. hi there, ive just finished reading the book and it was great, hopefully there will be a sequel in the pipeline. its your first book that i picked up, but now have gone back and picked up the rest and im having a ball reading them, brilliant characters, stories, great humour,will look out for future books,job well done.

  24. In the better late than never corner here.

    Finished reading HALFHEAD last night. Loved it to bits. Every violent, bloody word of it.

    The halfheading procedure is going to haunt me for decades I uspect.

    BTW. Any plans to travel back downunder?

    Enjoyed your appearances at the Crime and Justice Festival in Melbourne last year even if you did get the rough end of the pineapple as far as interviewers go.

    Cheers a bundle.


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