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The First Cut

I have exciting news!

I have been contacted by a TV scout who is putting together a list of authors whose books would be suitable for a new crime drama. The difference is that instead of making an executive decision they are having a public vote!

If you have time, please could I ask you to register with them at

You have 5 free votes. Please could you (and everyone you know!) vote for The First Cut as are most interested in my Jane Renwick Thrillers. It has a bright pink and blue cover.

I’d really appreciate your help with this. It may not go anywhere, but if it is to have any chance, I need as many votes as possible! Voting starts 15 May, but you can register with the site for free now! If you have any problems registering please contact

To help you make up your mind, I include the blurb and an extract here.

The Blurb

A vicious killer is on the loose .

Victims targeted include an academic and members of Edinburgh's high society.

When the Murder Investigation Team find out that the killer is connected to her past, DS Jane Renwick is banished to the side-lines and forced to look on as the manhunt ramps up at a ferocious pace.

Has someone from Jane's birth family returned to haunt her?

Is one of her relatives involved?

Where will the killer strike next?

This gripping police procedural is set in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The exciting novel is the first in Val Penny’s new series of Scottish thrillers.

The Extract

“Don’t know that name, but there’s nobody else here right now. I’m working. Please just go away.”

He felt the blow of dismissal, like everybody had always dismissed him. How dare they? How dare he? This foreigner didn’t even belong here. None of them did. None of them deserved the time of day, never mind the air they breathed. He would soon stop all that.

He smiled and took a few steps into the room.

“What you busy with? It’s late to be working.” He walked around the desk, took out his blade, and punched it into his victim’s carotid artery with practised precision. He dragged the blade across the neck to slice the artery, a quick second slice to make sure, but the first cut was the deepest. He made no errors, no mistakes. There was no hesitation. His victim stared at him, clutching his throat as the life blood ran out of him. All over the desk, all over the laptop computer, all over the important work that had required his dismissal. The blood sprayed over the desk, spattered the bookcase and into his mouth. That tinny, metallic taste he had come to enjoy. He would need to wipe his face before he left the room. It was a lucky break that he had a packet of tissues.

He smiled as his victim held his neck, the struggle, the gurgle, the death rattle of the man who tried to hold the life sustaining liquid in his body. They all did that. Again, ridiculous. It would never work. Not for long. It splashed through his fingers and onto the floor. That carpet hadn’t been up to much before, and it wasn’t worth shit now.

The man flopped over the desk. He wondered if that action had broken the laptop. Not that he really cared, the computer would come with him anyway. He grimaced. Having to rummage through the bloody pockets to get the phone was nasty, but he didn’t want to leave anything behind. Good! Got it first time. A decent one. It would get a bob or two.

He chuckled as he thought how confusing this would be, because this one didn’t fit with the profiles of the other victims at all. It wasn’t possible, this one had nothing to do with anything. Maybe it was a good thing he had missed her. Good name he came up with too, Joy Tuesday. Pity nobody would ever know or be able to share it. Poor Policeman Plod. This one would make no sense, yet they would have to make it fit.

He left as quietly as he had come, laptop under one arm, phone in his pocket, bloody blade in his belt. Then he saw her, the right fucking woman, whatever her name was, he couldn’t remember now because of the excitement. The green flash at the front of her hair was quite endearing. This evening, she had had a lucky escape, but he would be back.

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