Bloody Scotland: Callum McSorley on Squeaky Clean

Each week Scottish Field will be talking to one of the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize shortlist authors about their novels and feature an extract from the book. 

This week we hear from Callum McSorley, 33, from East Kilbride, about his novel Squeaky Clean (Pushkin) featuring DI Ally McCoist the least popular detective in the Glasgow police. A thriller filled with pitch-black humour.



Click HERE to read an excerpt from the book.

Callum says: 

I used to work in a car wash while I was studying at university and for a while afterwards , about ten years ago now.

The place always had great potential for a story setting, my boss was a colourful character, and I really enjoyed writing short stories about work – I don’t think there’s a job I’ve done which hasn’t made it into a story at some point. 

Over the years these thoughts bubbled away somewhere in the back of my brain until the right plot came along.


My writing process changes depending on what I’m working on and my circumstances at the time. 

With Squeaky Clean, it all began with a novella which was rewritten several times, adding more and more to the story until I had accidentally written a full novel. 

With two young children to look after and limited time to sit at my desk, I find I have to plan a lot more carefully than I used to, so I have a clear picture of where the story is going before I sit to down to actually write. 

I spend a lot more time thinking and making notes before I begin these days. I also enjoy editing a lot more too.

I’m currently working on a historical crime novel and also figuring out how to get DI Ally McCoist in even more trouble than I left her in when Squeaky Clean was sent off to the printers.

Biggest influences

I’m a big fan of Japanese crime in general, both classic and contemporary. I love Kazuo Ishiguro, one of my all-time favourites and one of the best living novelists. 

Relating to Squeaky Clean specifically, one of my big influences is Natsuo Kirino’s Out

In terms of crime, it has to be James Ellroy and, closer to home, Louise Welsh and Denise Mina. William Gibson is an author I return to time and time again. 

Recently I have enjoyed Quinn by Em Strang. A man who may or may not have killed his girlfriend becomes a carer for her dying mother. A story about radical forgiveness, it has incredible, poetic prose which swirls around the secret at the story’s heart.

Bloody Scotland Debut shortlisters 2023

Bloody Scotland Debut shortlisters 2023


The winner of the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize will be revealed on 15 September at the opening night of the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival.

For tickets and further information go to

Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s book pages.

Plus, don’t miss the July issue of Scottish Field magazine.