ALL THE COLOURS OF THE TOWN centres on Glasgow political journo Gerry Conway, who receives a tip-off about the unsavoury past of the Scottish Justice Minister, one of his best sources. Initially unimpressed, Conway is eventually drawn into a journey from Glasgow to Belfast, attempting to uncover a shocking story laced with sectarian violence and dangerous secrets.
The book has received some great reviews thusfar, and McIlvanney is currently working on his second thriller starring Gerry Conway. He also mentioned that future thrillers (not the next one, but after that) are likely to be set in New Zealand, as his protagonist might just follow McIlvanney's own path, immigrating south.
Unfortunately, Canvas magazine articles generally aren't available online. As always, however, when you interview someone interesting, you get waaaaay more material than you can actually use in a feature - so I thought I'd include a couple of comments from McIlvanney here, that couldn't make it into the article due to wordcount constraints:
“It is a slightly unexplored aspect of contemporary Scotland, which is one of the reasons I found it useful to write a crime novel,” says McIlvanney. “We have so many ties to Northern Ireland in terms of family, and cultural links… there’s an interesting Scottish experience, so I wanted to explore that… some of the issues that are being discussed at a policy level in Scotland.”
I’m also reading Ian Rankin’s new one, THE COMPLAINTS …"
... I think we have had a longstanding tradition of Scottish writers being involved in popular fiction. There’s less sort of social and critical stigma about popular fiction, and there’s more inspiration for writers to draw on. And I think there is also a large element of coincidence, that a large crop of crime writers has sort of appeared…
… I suppose you’ve also got in the Scottish case, a strong tradition of gothic literature. You know someone like Ian Rankin will always reference James Hogg's great novel, THE PRIVATE MEMOIRS AND CONFESSIONS OF A JUSTIFIED SINNER, and you’ve got that whole sort of Scottish gothic ballad tradition, which is all very dark and macabre, and so that’s another strong influence on contemporary crime fiction."