Dark side Bellshill is the louche backdrop to the latest novel from local-born author Mark Wilson - in a black comedy tale full of drugs and violence.
Following on from his earlier books Bobby’s Boy and Naebody’s Hero, Head Boy is described as “a brutal and twisted novella” which could just become a cult classic in the increasingly popular “tartan noir” fiction genre.
The story follows the criminal adventures of a schoolboy who becomes involved with the seamy underworld of Lanarkshire drugs crime - and is “emphatically over-18” in content.
But Mark, a biology teacher by day, stresses that while the book is laced with local place references and even actual people - with their agreement - it’s a flight of fancy which doesn’t reflect the Bellshill most people know.
He said: “Bellshill does have its negative side, of course, but what I’m doing here is using familiar scenes - and some real people who don’t mind being included - to create a work of fiction that hopefully then comes over as more believable and true to life.
“It doesn’t mean the real Bellshill is bad, or at any rate all bad, but setting the action among familiar scenes makes it a lot easier to put the story in context.
“I’ve mentioned the area in other books, but this one nearly all takes place in Bellshill - even including Bellshill Academy.
“It won’t matter to readers from much farther afield who don’t know anything about the place, but for readers who live in the area it might have an extra impact.”
Well-known local landmarks such as Angels in Uddingston also feature in the narrative.
Mark describes his home town as “continually fascinating” as a place capable of producing extraordinary characters.
Besides writing his own novels “in lieu of sleep”, Mark runs Paddy’s Daddy Publishing and has a growing portfolio of published work by promising new authors on his books.
An exerpt from the Head Boy, which is published in paperback this week priced £6.99, appears on the PDP website