Beginner’s Pluck


Matt’s original ambition was to be a golfing pro. But reading the Great Gatsby for A-Level fired his passion for literature. He wrote short stories whilst completing a PhD, and then taught Literature at Glasgow University.

“I’m writing a history of Scottish crime fiction, and I thought the best way to understand it was to write one. I borrowed Ian Rankin’s idea of investigating the crime, but also the society in which it happens. But I moved it to Belfast.

“I grew up there, and then used to visit two or three times a year. That was through the peace process and the rebuilding. I thought if you brought the cynicism of the police novel I could write about that emerging world.

“I sent the book to several agents. They liked it. I went with Colm Tóibín’s agent, Peter Strauss.”

Who is Matt McGuire?

Date/place of birth: December 13, 1977/Belfast.

Education: St Malachy’s College, Belfast. PhD (Roddy Doyle and James Kelman.)

Home: Sydney, Australia.

Family: Wife Maree. Sons Jack, three, and Liam, six months.

The Day Job: Lecturer in English Literature.

Hobbies: I play basketball.

Favourite Writers: Scott F Fitzgerald; husband and wife team Sjöwall-Wahlöö; Ciaran Carson.

Second Novel: Called When Sorrow’s Come, it’s linked to the first book.

Top Writing Tip: Write something. Don’t wait for it to be perfect.


Dark Dawn — Killing in Cold Light. Corsair: €11.99 Kindle: €9.04

A teenager is found dead on the site of a luxury development. It looks like a punishment beating, but the troubles are over. Who is he, and who wanted him dead? Detective Sergeant John O’Neill is determined to crack this case, but it proves complicated.

We meet drug barons, developers, teen ‘hoods’ and ex IRA killers in this multi-faceted crime book.

“They let 500 prisoners out of the Maze. Suddenly it was, ‘that’s all over lads.’ I wondered what would happen next.”

The Verdict: A crime book with brains. I loved it.


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