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Biography (and bonus videos!)


To get in touch with Russel directly, please send an email to (deleting the underlined spaces, of course, which have been put in place to cut down spam communications). If you want to inquire about editing services, please see the specific page on editing for more information. For information on book rights etc please contact Allan Guthrie at the North Agency

Russel D McLean was born in Fife, and moved to Dundee where he studied philosophy at the University of Dundee. His speciality was philosophy of mind, but after he discovered the difficulty of funding a PhD he fell into the disreputable company of the booktrade.

Russel’s path to publication started at sixteen when he submitted his first full length novel to Virgin Publishing New Doctor Who Adventures. The novel was summarily rejected and he spent the next fourteen years perfecting his style before finally switching genres and writing dark crime fiction. His first paid credit was in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine in 2004 and his first novel, THE GOOD SON, was released in 2008.

He has since been published in the US, translated into Italian, French and German, and was nominated for best first PI novel by the Private Eye Writers of America.

He spent over a decade as a bookseller in Dundee and Glasgow, writing at night. Now he spends his days working as a development editor for various publishers, large and small, on a freelance basis, and his nights continuing to write fiction and screenplays. 

​In 2018, he was part of the Write4film initiative from the Scottish Film Talent Network, which helps writers from other forms to learn about screenwriting. He is currently working on various projects intended for the screen.

For two years (2014-16) he wrote a monthly crime fiction column for the Scottish Herald.

​And yes, he really did once share a flat with a cursed mask.


In his former life, as a bookseller, Russel did a number of interviews at book festivals and book events across Scotland, usually interviewing crime writers (although he did dabble in discussing other genres, including a memorable event with an author who claimed to see Russel’s Guardian Angel… at least the Angel was apparently laughing a lot!)

Here are two videos of interviews from Youtube. The first is with crime writer, Martina Cole, and the second is with the late, great, William McIlvanney.

Martina Cole

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William McIlvanney:

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