Having held the prestigious number one spot in the Amazon Kindle store, ‘Little Girl Lost’ - the crime novel by local writer Brian McGilloway set in and around Derry- has now sold an outstanding 180,000 copies.
And Brian, who holds down a full time job in the English department of St. Columb’s College, modestly puts it all down to “sheer luck”.
The father of four, who just last year published his sixth novel, said he could have “in no way” predicted the success of ‘Little Girl Lost’ which was originally published by Panmacmillan two years ago.
“It has been completely nuts,” Brian laughed, with his trademark humility. “It is definitely hard to get my head round.”
But it seems that the success of ‘Little Girl Lost’ is only the beginning of a whole new era in his writing career.
On the strength of his track record, he has just signed a two book deal with Constable and Robinson to produce two more novels featuring the heroine of Little Girl Lost, DS Lucy Black.
His back catalogue, featuring his well loved Inspector Devlin novels, have all started to creep back up the Amazon charts and the reviews, in the most part, have been glowing.
“I’m just delighted,” Brian said. “and really excited to say there will be at least two more books to come,” he told the ‘Journal’ yesterday.
Brian said he is also really looking forward to working with renowned editor James Gurbett whose work he has admired.
He is hoping to launch his next book ‘Hurt’ in November this year - timed to coincide with a Crime Festival scheduled for the Verbal Arts Centre Derry which will see crime supremo Lee Childs take to the stage beside Brian and a host of other writers.
“The timing is weird and wonderful,” he said of his recent success - as Little Girl Lost is the only book of his to be set in Derry it is perhaps apt that it is receiving so much attention in Derry’s landmark City of Culture Year.
But Brian believes that when writing the book he may have inadvertently tuned into the zeitgeist- by putting a female protagonist at the helm of the story. “I of course loved writing the Devlin novels but there has been more of a response for the Lucy Black book.”
He believes the snowy landscapes of Prehen Woods tapped into a very “Scandinavian” feel - and Scandinavian crime is about as big as it gets in literary terms just now.
Little Girl Lost opens during a winter blizzard when a small girl is found wandering half-naked at the edge of an ancient woodland.
Her hands are covered in blood, but it is not her own. Unwilling or unable to speak, the only person she seems to trust is the young officer who rescued her, Detective Sergeant Lucy Black.
DS Black is baffled to find herself suddenly transferred from a high-profile case involving the kidnapping of a prominent businessman’s teenage daughter, to the newly formed Public Protection Unit.
Meanwhile, she has her own problems: caring for her Alzheimer’s-stricken father; and avoiding conflict with her surly Assistant Chief Constable – who also happens to be her mother.
As she struggles to identify the unclaimed child, Lucy begins to realise that this case and the kidnapping may be linked – by events that occurred during the blackest days of the country’s recent history, events that also defined her own girlhood.