My series character, Glasgow PI Derek Adams, is a Bogart and Chandler fan, and it is the movies and Americana of the '40s that I find a lot of my inspiration for him, rather than in the modern procedural.
That, and the old city, are the two main drivers for the Midnight Eye stories.
When I was a lad, back in the early 1960s, we lived in a town 20 miles south of Glasgow, and it was an adventure to the big city when I went with my family on shopping trips. Back then the city was a Victorian giant going slowly to seed.
It is often said that the British Empire was built in Glasgow on the banks of the river Clyde. Back when I was young, the shipyards were still going strong, and the city centre itself still held on to some of its past glories.
It was a warren of tall sandstone buildings and narrow streets, with Edwardian trams still running through them. The big stores still had pneumatic delivery systems for billing, every man wore a hat, collar and tie, and steam trains ran into grand vaulted railway stations filled with smoke.
By the time I was a student in the late '70s, a lot of the tall sandstone buildings had been pulled down to make way for tower blocks. Back then they were the new shiny future, taking the people out of the Victorian ghettos and into the present day.
Fast forward to the present day and there are all new ghettos. The tower blocks are ruled by drug gangs and pimps. Meanwhile there have been many attempts to gentrify the city centre, with designer shops being built in old warehouses, with docklands developments building expensive apartments where sailors used to get services from hard faced girls, and with shiny, trendy bars full of glossy expensively dressed bankers.
And underneath it all the old Glasgow still lies, slumbering, a dreaming god waiting for the stars to be right again. It can be found in the places where Derek walks, in bars untouched by time, in the closes of tenement buildings that carry the memories of past glories, and in the voices of older men and women who travel through the modernity unseen, impervious to its charms.
Derek Adams, The Midnight Eye, knows the ways of the old city. And, if truth be told, he prefers them to the new.
There are antecedents - occult detectives who may seem to use the trappings of crime solvers, but get involved in the supernatural. William Hjortsberg's Falling Angel (the book that led to the movie Angel Heart) is a fine example, an expert blending of gumshoe and deviltry that is one of my favorite books. Likewise, in the movies, we have cops facing a demon in Denzel Washington's Fallen that plays like a police procedural taken to a very dark place.But I think it's the people that influence me most. Everybody in Scotland's got stories to tell, and once you get them going, you can't stop them. I love chatting to people, (usually in pubs) and finding out the -weird- shit they've experienced. Derek is mainly based on a bloke I met years ago in a bar in Partick, and quite a few of the characters that turn up and talk too much in my books can be found in real life in bars in Glasgow, Edinburgh and St Andrews.
Derek has been with me from very close to the start of my writing career; the first short story, THE JOHNSON AMULET that later turned into the first novel, was among the earliest things I wrote back in late 1992. He's turned up in three novels so far, THE AMULET, THE SIRENS and THE SKIN GAME, all still available singly in ebook at all the usual online stores and in shiny audiobook editions from Gryphonwood Press.
THE AMULET is also out in a Portuguese language edition from Retropunk Publicadoes (with the other 2 novels to follow) and there's a German language edition of THE AMULET from Blitz Verlag.
There's also a handful of Midnight Eye short stories collected in the omnibus editions, in the second of which they're alongside three novellas; RHYTHM AND BOOZE (also in my Dark Melodies collection), DEAL OR NO DEAL (also available as a free sampler from Gryphonwood Press), and FARSIDE (also in the OCCULT DETECTIVE QUARTERLY PRESENTS anthology from Ulthar Press.)
GREEN DOOR (self-published on Amazon) represents the start of the next stage of work for Derek and is his second introduction ( after Farside ) to my Sigils and Totems mythos. HELLFIRE, an old-school devil worshipping case in Glasgow is his latest novella length outing.
Derek has developed a life of his own, and I'm along for the ride.
I would definitely recommend The Amulet to readers who pine for Lovecraft meets Chandler storylines, or to readers who simply wish their urban fantasy-tinged fiction took more risks. - CSI: Librarian
(The Amulet) ... meets a basic starting formula, but Meikle actively makes that formula his. The writing itself is crisp, filled with good description and strong dialogue. The Scottish setting, while not prominent, grounds the reader in a sense of place. The characters, while themselves variations on noir tropes, are beleivable, and more importantly, likable. All of this, taken together, makes for a smooth, enjoyable read. - Rich Ristow, Strange Latitudes
The Amulet moves along at a brisk pace, with Derek being directed both overtly and covertly by his femme fatale to a climax that tests the limits of the PI and his client and her husband as they battle to keep evil at bay. Whether or not Derek can claim victory at the end, he will be forever and unequivocally changed. I encourage you to pour yourself a couple of fingers of whisky and visit Meikle's and Derek's Glasgow some evening as the shadows grow long. - New Pulp
(The Amulet)... is a loving romp in and out of both the Lovecraft Mythos and the noir detective novel, predictable in its own way but unapologetically so, and ultimately fulfilling because most of us have loved the same two sets of elements forever and can't resist whenever they are brought together again.
- Bill Gagliani, Chizine
Bottom line, I enjoyed every bit of (The Amulet). Meikle's writing makes you feel like you're there, in the rain with Derek Adams, searching seedy pawn shops and bars for the answers. The atmosphere is terrific, and the author knows that sometimes less is more. - The Lovecraft ezine
A lot of writers have tried their hand at mixing horror themes with the private eye genre, generally with poor results, but Meikle has a good grasp on the mixed genres. I loved The Amulet, but The Sirens is even better. If the concept of a private dick investigating cases mixed with classic horror themes interests you, I urge you to give them a try. - Dead in the South
(The Sirens)... reminded me a bit of Sarban, which is most definitely a compliment. - Don D'Ammassa
(The Skin Game)... is a wild fast paced story that is littered with great touches of humour. The story never flags or gets bogged down. I've not read many werewolf stories, but the mythology of the werewolves here and the history of the belt are a nice twist. As with many of Willie's other books, The Skin Game has a strong cast of supporting characters, so much so you begin to wonder if there are a lot of Glaswegians wondering if that's them that are being portrayed within this novel. Seriously I had a great time reading this, and can't wait for my next fix of Meikle - Ginger Nuts of Horror