Russel McLean – Jericho Writers
Jericho Writers
167-169 Great Portland street, 5th Floor, London, W1W 5PF
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Russel McLean

Russel McLean - Editor

Russel D McLean’s debut novel, The Good Son (Five Leaves Crime), was published in 2008, and shortlisted for “Best First Novel” by the Private Eye Writers of America on 2010.

Since then he has written several more crime novels, including the darkly comic Ed’s Dead (Contraband), which was praised by Martina Cole as “a really authentic and remarkable read! I loved it!”

A former bookseller, Russel is now a freelance author, editor, and teacher. He has worked for publishers of various sizes as a developmental editor, including work on one book that was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for best Scottish Crime Fiction at the Bloody Scotland Festival. He has also run masterclasses in fiction writing for festivals, universities and creative writing groups, as well as advising MLitt students on the fiction element of their dissertations for the University of Dundee’s crime writing and forensics course. For two years, he wrote a crime fiction review column in the Scottish Sunday Herald, and has interviewed authors for several newspapers and magazines.

Although Russel’s primary concern has been noir and thriller fiction, he has also worked across a variety of genres as an editor including horror and SFF. You can find more about Russel and his work at his website,  and find him on Twitter here: @RusseldMclean


“I am really pleased with the level of detail. I know it’s going to be useful in improving my work and I have already begun implementing his ideas.”

– Mark W.

"Russel's incredible insights, suggestions and motivational approach was superb. His mission was to take the novel to the next level and, boy, has he done that! I would thoroughly recommend his services to anyone who is serious about their crime writing."

- D Henley.

“I've read and reread Russel’s report repeatedly over the past few weeks, absorbing his suggestions and advice – it's easily the best piece of criticism I've ever had and I'm enormously grateful for it.”

- Chris S.

“Russel’s help and detailed assessment has helped me immensely in sharpening the plot and removing fault-lines.”

- Aurgho G.

“Russel’s efforts have been worthwhile and much appreciated. He not only highlighted flaws and how to fix them but illustrated these with working examples from my text. There’s more drama, punchier dialogue, far less telling and elimination of superfluous text. My manuscript is a lot tighter as a result of Russel’s critique.”

– Andy S.

“Russel’s feedback was detailed but also concise, highlighting areas of my work that needed focus and greater attention to detail but also friendly and encouraging. The story’s now leaner, dialogue much punchier and the whole story just works so much better.”

– Steve R.

"Your comments were very insightful, and they helped make the book a lot stronger."

– R. J. Estrada

"I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you for your work on Redline. I’m really grateful for the way you have come at this; explaining the rationale for the proposed changes, providing examples to illustrate the points made as well as picking up the grammatical errors. I am determined to learn from this process and to produce the best work I can. Your input and encouragement have been invaluable."

- Terry G.

"Thank you for all of your awesome and very helpful comments and criticisms. I must admit that your input comes as a huge relief as I knew it wasn’t quite working but had no clue how to fix it."

- Arlene E.

"I was working on Quislings, number one of the Battle of Britain mystery series, a sample of which you saw. You urged me to get the thing finished, which I did. Astonishingly, the very first agent I sent it to asked to see the full ms. Two rewrites later, they took me on. Thanks very much for all your help and advice."

- Gerald H.


Russel is boundlessly positive and encouraging, and is a master at helping writers write the best book they can. Having worked with the likes of Amazon and similarly huge publishing houses, Russel knows what editors (and readers) are looking for – and how to incorporate this authentically into your edits. By incorporating his teaching methods into his detailed critiques, Russel not only highlights areas of improvement, but demonstrates how to fix them using examples from your text.  He articulates things clearly, succinctly and in a friendly manner that is bespoke to you.


I came to editing in a very roundabout way, when a publisher I knew asked if I had any experience in editing and whether I would be willing to work with one of their authors on a very specific project. After that first experience, I realised how much I enjoyed working with authors and helping them to see their books from an outside experience. As an editor, I often tell clients my job is to “ask the daft questions before the readers do”, especially because it’s very easy to forget that readers don’t have access to all the information we have about our story and characters, and can only act upon the clues in the text.

Honesty and empathy are important to me. I try to understand what the author wants to achieve, and then direct them towards techniques and tricks that will help them achieve this. Sometimes this will mean rewriting wholesale. I don’t want to pretend writing is easy, but the joy comes in learning and considering new ideas.

Genres Russel specialises in

Crime / Thriller / Action
Science Fiction
Short Stories & novellas

Russel's published books

Father Confessor

Father Confessor

Ed’s Dead

Ed’s Dead

Mothers of the Disappeared

Mothers of the Disappeared

The Lost Sister: 2

The Lost Sister: 2

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