Final Cut by Lin Anderson is published by Hodder, priced £6.99
A BLIZZARD, a car crash in the dark and a frantic, befuddled driver searching for her nine-year-old daughter missing from the back seat – only to find her cradling a child's skull in nearby woods.
It's the latest case for forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod and the latest novel from Edinburgh author Lin Anderson, out this week.
Like many of her other novels, the spark for the plot comes from real life, but whereas the 1990s Glasgow prostitute murders provided the inspiration for Easy Kill and the discovery of an African boy's torso in the Thames for Dark Flight, the opening scenes of Final Cut come from a source much closer to home. Her husband John, in fact, when they lived in the Highlands some years ago.
She said: "It was a winter like the winter we've had this year and he was driving along a road that was just a sheet of ice. His car flipped over, rolled down a bank and landed upside down."
Later he arrived home with a passing motorist who had stopped. John was concussed and although he recovered, the episode haunted Lin – and now forms the basis for the beginning of Final Cut, where the driver is the fictitious Claire.
And while the dark tale is only just appearing in print, it may not be long before it hits our screens as well. ITV has already snapped up the options for all of Lin's books, much to her delight, and writers from shows including Trial and Retribution and Silent Witness are currently working on a script for Final Cut.
Tales of authors' work being turned into something very different to the original abound, but the 58-year-old grandmother said: "I've met the writers and they seem to have a handle on the characters. The one thing I did say was Rhona MacLeod is not a wee lassie, she's not a slip of a girl, she is a woman. That was my concern."
Her next novel, The Reborn, is already written and Lin, who lives in Merchiston, is working on the research of the following book with a storyline involving Glasgow cinemas of the past .
She said: "This is the bit I love the most – the first quarter of a book where you are in the world of research and discoveries."