Edinburgh LGBTQ crime novel in progress from Heath Savage

For thirty years I was a chef, with a parallel career; case manager in social services. I moved to Galicia in 2018, where partner, Sarah, and I have renovated a farmhouse.

I have won prizes for my poetry and prose and been published in the anthologies: The Good Life in Galicia 2019 and 2020 .

I write articles for a global English language online publication, The Local (ES) and I also blog https://2ladiesofspain.wordpress.com/2018/12/31/the-dawning-of-a-new-year/

Born in Belfast in 1961, I’ve lived in Australia, Scotland, USA and Belgium. I began this book twenty years ago, after finishing my day’s work. I forgot about it until eight years ago, when an acquaintance; forensic psychologist and former detective, read it. He gave positive feedback, and suggested I should publish. Now, I am working on a cook book, and others in the crime genre. I’m developing the characters in this book, to create a trilogy.

In the late 1980s and 1990s I lived in Edinburgh. I was a chef, co-owned a bistro, and volunteered as a crisis worker. I helped run rehabilitation projects for people with HIV+, and those with mental health issues. I jobbed part-time on the theatre scene when I could. Death Festival: An Edinburgh Murder Mystery is my first novel.

Death Festival: An Edinburgh Murder Mystery captures the atmosphere of Edinburgh during a decade when AIDS and drug epidemics raged. The foundations of Edinburgh’s provincial past collapsed and the city’s present incarnation was built on those ruins.

This is a crime story. Like all good stories, it is a mixture of truth and fiction. Many characters are based on real people I knew and worked with. Some events happened. These are woven into the fictional narrative. I am painting a picture; some of the fascinating, far-out people and scenes I encountered, mixed with the triumphs and tragedies of my own experience.

Death Festival creates graphic snap-shots of life, love and partying during a heady decade in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh. As AIDS and drugs rage through the city, a hedonistic, anything-goes party scene flourishes, alongside emerging violent criminal gangs.

A series of vicious murders shakes the gay community, in the midst of its famed International Arts Festival. By the end of that wild summer, a celebrated theatre director will be dead, in what looks like an erotic experiment gone horribly wrong.

DC Debbie Kane’s is a star on the rise, in the Lothian and Borders Police Murder Squad. Her mentor, Billy Alexander, is an old-school DCI, who has no time for modern policing theories or methods. He finds himself out of his depth and becomes reliant on Debbie during the course of the investigation.

Debbie’s colleague, and friend, Sandy Jardine, is a gay man, in her team. Sandy is torn between his job and his private life, and when he begins an unofficial, private investigation into the sadistic murders of three gay men, he creates a rift between himself and Debbie, which compromises both the official investigation, and his own life.

Local girl, Jules Hamilton is central to the story. Oblivious to all but her infatuation with the charismatic Webster’s strung-out girlfriend and PA, Jude Durrant, Jules becomes enmeshed in a dangerous affair with the complex, high-maintenance Jude. Debbie Kane accidentally uncovers this affair, which results in Jules becoming a potential link in the chain of investigation into Webster’s sordid and suspicious death.

This novel examines modern morality, and it challenges stereotypes. With wry humour, I attempt to shine a glaring, unflattering spotlight on our media-influenced perceptions of who is “good” and who is “bad”, while I explore love and obsession.

Crime fiction addicts, who want more than just murder and dark deeds, will love Death Festival: An Edinburgh Murder Mystery. Readers tuned into popular culture will appreciate its journalistic style. To Die For appeals to both male and female readers, in the 40-70 age-range. The quick-witted, punchy style will also appeal to younger readers.

A gay audience will appreciate the personal, humane and insightful documentation of what was a pivotal and painful time in gay history.