The Green Man sends Daniel Mackmain to stop threats from folklore making trouble in the everyday world. Now a naiad and dryad want him to deal with the big cat they’ve seen prowling in their woods. Reports like this turn up in the tabloid press from time to time, though no one has ever caught such a cat, or even found evidence of a large carnivore’s kills.
Can Dan discover the truth behind this modern myth before social media turns his hunt into an internet sensation? He knows that not all animals are what they seem. A huge cat which can appear and disappear without a trace must be more than meets the eye. Dan knows one thing for certain. He’s on the trail of a killer.
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One challenge for me as an author, which makes these stories so interesting to write, is making sure that I don’t slip into a predictable pattern. I have to find new challenges for Dan, so he can’t simply apply answers and tactics that have worked for him before.
I start looking for something new by reading whatever books of folklore and obscure history have caught my eye. This time around, I found mention of black cats in various stories from seemingly unconnected places. Some while later, I realised how those old stories could be connected in Dan’s world. More than that, those tales could give me a fictional basis for the recurrent sightings of big black cats that the British newspapers love to highlight. Blending that urban legend with ancient myths brought Dan’s problems right up to date.
It’s very hard to say any more without straying into spoilers, so I’ll stop there. Incidentally, I am tremendously grateful to the reviewers and readers who have so assiduously avoided spoilers in their enthusiasm for this particular story.
Like Dan, I’m gathering a coterie of friends with specific skills who are willing to help me out. This story takes Dan to Scotland, but a few decades of reading Tartan Noir crime novels, and a a research trip/holiday in Argyll, could only take me so far when it came to the fine detail. I am sincerely grateful to Shona Kinsella for her invaluable input as Scottish cultural consultant, and for the Gaelic that baffles Dan. Liz Williams answered my questions and supplied invaluable detail on protective ritual practice, for which she has my thanks.