Paper Cup

What if going back meant you could begin again?

Rocked by a terrible accident, homeless Kelly needs to escape the streets of Glasgow. Maybe she doesn’t believe in serendipity, but a rare moment of kindness and a lost engagement ring conspire to call her home. As Kelly vows to reunite the ring with its owner, she must return to the small town she fled so many years ago.

On her journey from Glasgow to the south-west tip of Scotland, Kelly encounters ancient pilgrim routes, hostile humans, hippies, book lovers and a friendly dog, as memories stir and the people she thought she’d left behind forever, move closer with every step.

Full of compassion and hope, Paper Cup is a novel about how easy it can be to fall through the cracks – and what it takes to turn around a life that has run off course.

The Sound of the Hours


Trapped in Tuscany as war splits her country apart, Vittoria Guidi is torn. Everything she has ever known is at risk. Does she side with her Scots-Italian father or Fascist mother? Choose Mussolini, or her King? Fight for the life she wants, or accept the one she lives?

As Germans occupy the mountains round Barga, and US Buffalo soldiers draw near, loyalties are tested and families torn apart. Frank Chapel, a young black soldier fighting for a country that refuses him the vote, is unlike anyone Vittoria has met. In the chaos, they find each other – but can their growing love defy prejudice and war?

The Sound of the Hours is a novel about identity, conflict and love, set during World War Two in Barga – Italy’s most Scottish town.


‘Pin in a map, pin in a map. Anywhere at all. Don’t care, as long as it’s not here. …She thinks of places she’s been, places she’s read about, and, all the while, she is walking away from home. Definitely not running because that makes folk think you have something to hide.’

Justine is running for her life. She heads north to the mountains and the valleys of the Highlands. Michael and Hannah are also running. With their two sons and their tattered marriage they’ve come to the village of Kilmacarra, looking for home. In a place of standing stones – an ancient landscape in a Scotland on the brink of change – an accident causes these three lives to intertwine, even as the darknesss Justine fled is drawing closer. Rise is a novel about faith, freedom and finding your place in the world.



This is Where I Am

When recently widowed Deborah Maxwell is assigned by the Scottish Refugee Council to act as mentor to Abdi Hassan, a Somali refugee, the two are drawn into an awkward friendship. They must spend a year together, meeting once a month in different parts of Glasgow. As recently-widowed Deborah opens Abdi’s eyes to her beloved city and its people, he teaches her about the importance of family – and of laying your ghosts to rest. All Abdi has brought with him is his four-year-old daughter, Rebecca, who lives in a silence no one can reach. Until, one day, she starts talking. And they discover why she had stopped…


Proof of Life

Chief Inspector Anna Cameron is a woman with everything to lose. Her life is finally back on track, but the mistakes she made in the past are about to come back to haunt her.

When a body is discovered in a Glasgow canal, the death proves to have an unexpected link to something Anna wants desperately to forget. As Glasgow pulses with the threat of terrorist attack and growing civil discontent, she realises everything she holds dear is at risk . . .

The explosive fourth novel from Karen Campbell, Gold Dagger-shortlisted author of SHADOWPLAY, AFTER THE FIRE and THE TWILIGHT TIME.


Review for Proof of Life

“All around is smoke and mirrors. Karen Campbell’s fearlessly plotted fourth novel plays with perception right from its opening sentence, although you don’t appreciate how much until later. This slow-burn thriller exploits the classics of the genre – secrets, lies and misdirection – but does it so skilfully that the mechanics are camouflaged amid the emotional entanglements of lives lived.” The Scotsman – Read full review.


You are a police officer. This is what you do. You speak for the dead, and the desperate living.

When Anna Cameron is promoted to Chief Inspector and moved to a new division, it should be a turning point for her. But if she thought having a female boss would make things easier, she’d reckoned without the fearsome ‘JC’ Hamilton.

Then her mother goes into a coma in a foreign country and an old woman disappears from a Glasgow care home under suspicious circumstances, and Anna’s career and personal life both threaten to implode. The gang-related murder of a young Asian boy and an assault on one of her officers only serve to turn the screws tighter – can Anna be both a good cop and a good person? 

Shadowplay : Reviews

The Scotsman (23/05/10)

THERE’S a lot to be said for writing about what you know. And what Karen Campbell knows better than anything else is Glasgow policing. The author of three novels in as many years, Campbell has established herself as the new face in the Scottish crime-writing scene, and with the many talented faces of tartan noir lurking in the shadows, it’s not an easy set to break into.  Read more.

After the Fire

Someone is dead because of Jamie. Yesterday they were alive. When we woke up yesterday and argued about how many pairs of shoes I could take, that person was alive, making coffee maybe. Scratching her arm or yawning in the mirror…

Newly qualified as a firearms officer, Jamie Worth is called to a domestic disturbance. Events get out of hand, and he shoots and kills a teenaged girl who appears to have been unarmed. Already wracked with guilt, he is horrified when, with the media baying for blood, he is accused of murder. How can a cop survive in prison, when he suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of the law? And how can his wife Cath and ex-lover Anna come to terms with what has happened? From the author of THE TWILIGHT TIME, AFTER THE FIRE is a chilling glimpse of the flipside of life as a law enforcer, written in ‘stiletto-sharp prose’. (The Herald)

After the Fire : Reviews

Scotland on Sunday (15/03/09)

IT’S DIFFICULT to convey precisely what makes reading After The Fire so gripping. Campbell’s representations of the wreckage left (after a police shooting) are deft. The book’s central panel is bookended simply ‘Before’ and ‘After’, sharply singling out Jamie’s trauma as something outwith normal comprehension, and the fates of beleaguered wife Cath and children Eilidh and Daniel are the work of delicate observation.  Read more.

The Twilight Time

ANNA CAMERON is a new Sergeant in the Flexi Unit. On her first day in the new job she discovers she’ll be working with her ex, Jamie. In at the deep end emotionally, she’s also plunged headlong into the violent underworld of Glasgow’s notorious Drag – the haunt of working girls, drug dealers and sad, seedy men.

CATH WORTH, Jamie’s wife, watches jealously from the sidelines, having given up police work to raise their child. Anna’s life could have been hers; hers could have been Anna’s. When Cath attempts to get involved in a situation she is no longer equipped or entitled to tackle, the consequences for both women could be far-reaching..



Reviews for The Twilight Time

‘I loved it. A great, original character and the plot fairly whizzes along.’ Kate Atkinson

‘Campbell has created a great new female protagonist in Sergeant Anna Cameron, who finds herself up against it when local prostitutes are attacked in Glasgow and racial tension is mounting to frightening levels. Read more.