Northern Ireland and A Chaser on the Rocks

By Simon Maltman

I thought I’d share with you a big influence on my writing – Northern Ireland. My first novel, A Chaser on the Rocks, was recently published and is set in various locations in my home country.

People always say to ‘write what you know’, so I set scenes in real places that I know well. Northern Ireland has a lot going for it and the landscape is outstanding. I decided early not to write about ‘The Troubles’ in my stories. They of course are mentioned at times and have an impact as they are still always the elephant in the room. I try and show a little bit of the beauty of the country, while writing about pretty dark things.

My novel is about a PI called Brian Caskey, who works in Belfast. He has mental health problems and writes crime fiction as a form of therapy. The novel is a ‘story within a story’ and follows his character, Billy Chapman, who is also a PI, solving mysteries during WW2 and The Belfast Blitz. It is perhaps best described as a psychological mystery. It has elements of noir and thriller and hopefully people will find it funny too.

The pictures here are family photos that show a few of the settings in my book. I started writing A Chaser on the Rocks while on a holiday at The Giant’s Causeway. It well deserves its World Heritage ranking and is extremely atmospheric. Much of both stories in the novel take place here. The other main area is Belfast and, in particular, the East. East Belfast has made many contributions to the world such as C.S. Lewis, Van Morrison, George Best and ‘Alright when she left here’ Titanic. The other photos are from all over County Down and show Scrabo Tower, Mount Stewart, and Conlig Presbyterian Church.

I’m really pleased with the response to the book so far, and I hope you will enjoy it as well!


Simon Maltman is a writer and musician from Northern Ireland. A Chaser on the Rocks is his debut novel after previously having crime fiction short stories featured in a number of magazines and anthologies. He has also had poetry and articles published in a range of magazines. Simon has self-published a number of crime fiction e-books over the last year. There is work underway for further crime fiction releases in the near future. Simon is also an established musician, along with his current band The Hung Jury. He lives in County Down with his wife and two daughters.

To learn more about A Chaser on the Rocks click on the cover below: