A HELENSBURGH-BORN author is aiming to keep audiences hooked once again with his second novel after receiving rave reviews for his intriguing and dark debut thriller, A Murder of Crows.

Ian Skewis started writing A Murder of Crows in 1989 before it eventually hit the shelves in 2017.

Following the success of the book, which follows DCI Jack Russell as he investigates the disappearance of a young couple, he has been busy working on his second book, which is almost finished and he hopes to have published this year.

He told the Advertiser: “This is a new book and may or may not be a spin off to A Murder of Crows, but there will be a third book I’ll be working on in the new year which will be a direct sequel.

“Book two at the moment, although it might change for reasons which will become apparent, is set in a village not far from the village featured in A Murder of Crows.

“It is about a child who goes missing and a wilful, young and determined constable, who was originally a supporting character in A Murder of Crows, but whom I realised quickly needed a story of her own.

“She suffers from nightmares, abdominal migraines and a lot of physical and mental strains. I have had to speak to a lot of surgeons and medical people and I’m very interested to see how this one goes. She really goes through hell.”

As well as writing, Ian has also been enjoying watching interest in his first book renew and grow after recently narrating an audiobook version of the novel at the Leicester studio of publisher W.F. Howes.

The 48-year-old drew on his experience as a professional actor to differentiate between the roughly 30 different characters in the story, by varying his intonation and pitch.

And he believes this approach has allowed him to give readers a better understanding of the characters he has created.

He added: “They said it would take about three or four days to narrate the book, but I finished it in about two and a half days probably because I used to be a professional actor and it is my own book.

“Although I did do some accents for some minor characters with one or two lines, it was about using a slightly different pitch for each character to give it a hint of emotion and context.

“It was a really good experience and as a reader pointed out recently, it allows readers to know exactly the intention of the author because they hear all the proper intonation that I intended, which makes it a bit clearer.

“Someone told me they saw the book in a shop in Hong Kong and I was gobsmacked and I recently saw it in a second hand bookshop.

“It sounds odd but it means it has a life of its own. It’s like watching your child grow up, but it’s strange because you’re no longer in control of the book, who sees it and where it goes.”

To find out more about what Ian is up to or to sign up for his free monthly newsletter visit ianskewis.com.