Legal eagle flies high in thriller list

Lawyer and author William McIntyre
Lawyer and author William McIntyre

By day he defends the accused in Scotland’s courts of law.

By night respected defence lawyer Willie McIntyre turns his experience of being involved in high profile criminal cases into thrilling bedtime reads!

The 56-year-old published Relatively Guilty, his first page-turning paperback featuring criminal lawyer Robbie Munro, in 2011. Duty Man, Sharp Practice, Killer Contract, Crime Fiction and Last Will followed at regular intervals and all became best sellers on Amazon.

Present Tense, the latest in The Best Defence Series, is the first to go straight to print and will be published by Sandstone Press on September 15, followed by number eight, Good News, Bad News in April with Last Will, number six in the series scheduled to be appear on the book shop shelves next November.

It has received critical acclaim and been described as: “Crime with an edge of dark humour. The Best Defence Series could only come out of Scotland.”

The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland published a review of Present Tense which observed: “All novels written by Scottish criminal lawyers are rubbish. This book is written by a Scottish criminal lawyer, therefore this book is rubbish. Correct?

“It is splendid to encounter the first exception to that rule. Filled with healthy cynicism and witty asides which one tends to find in criminal courts, this is great stuff.”

Over the last five years McIntyre, who lives with his wife Gillian and their four boys in Falkirk, has drawn on over 30 years experience of court work to turn fact into fiction and bring his ‘hero’ to life.

The series from the the senior partner with Russel & Aitken, Scotland’s oldest law firm, is a gritty and entertaining account of the trials and tribulations of a defence lawyer working in the author’s home town of Linlithgow and loosely based on some of the characters and unusual cases McIntyre has been involved in.

He said: “I started off writing stories that centre around a criminal defence lawyer and, while the characters are fictional, most of the cases are very true and ones I have been linked with during my career.

“There are plots in each book which are interwoven and I think come together nicely. I would say I deal with dark subjects with a wry Scottish sense of humour.”

McIntyre takes satisfaction from the fact his books have been acknowledged as “something different”.

He describes the rich vein of dry humour which runs through the series as “an antidote to crime fiction featuring maverick cops chasing serial killers, emphasising that justice is not only about convicting the guilty, but also about acquiting the innocent.”

The demands placed on a criminal defence lawyer at the top of his game working in Scotland’s legal system are high.

McIntyre used to coach a youth football team in the town to help ease the stress levels, but now it is creating very successful legal thrillers that help him relax.

“Away from the office I’ve never been idle. My spare time has always been important and I don’t want to waste it. Coaching Young Falkirk FC for a number of years was good for me, and now developing the character of Robbie Munro using my experience of the legal system has kept me busy.

“I can also thank my fellow lawyers in Falkirk for sharing some of their stories which have provided me with so many lines of dialogue, especially for the less sophisticated of my characters!”

McIntyre admits he did not anticipate Robbie Munro having such a lengthy career.

“The first six, which I battered out on my Ipad on the kitchen table, took between six and 12 months to finish. I was happy they were published on line and I thought I had finished at that.

“Then Sandstone Press called last year and said when I’d finished number seven it would go straight to print.

“I really hadn’t thought that far ahead, but off I went again.

“Working with a publishing company has been a big plus. Present Tense and Good News Bad News have been proof read by professionals, which has spared Gillian, my biggest critic, from having to do it, and I’ve been able to work with an editor who has helped by suggesting changes to the story lines as we have gone along.

“I’ll also benefit from the publicity machine that comes with being part of a publishing house which means the books will get into shops across the UK and America which is an exciting prospect.”

McIntyre’s impact on the crime writing scene has not gone unnoticed.

Diary dates include an interview on BBC Radio Scotland on September 14, a speaking engagement at the Granton on Spey Crime Festival in October and joining a panel of crime writers at a presentation in Edinburgh’s National Library of Scotland before the end of year.

He has also been invited to attend the Bristol Crime Festival in 2017.