James started writing comic scripts while at Aberdeen University and continued after graduation because nobody would give him a real job.
His first attempt at crime fiction, Natural Causes, introduced the world to Detective Inspector Tony McLean, and was short-listed for the CWA Debut Dagger in 2007. Its follow up, The Books of Souls, was short-listed the following year. When neither of them set the publishing world on fire he decided to go it alone and publish them as e-books. Combined downloads of the two titles topped 300,000 in their first six months.
His first three Inspector McLean books were sold at auction to Penguin, and in 19 other countries around the world. He has now been a Sunday Times bestseller for 4 of his books.
James was short-listed for the National Book Awards New Writer of the Year award in 2013. There are now eight books in the series, the most recent of which, The Gathering Dark, was published by Penguin in January 2018. A new series, beginning with No Time to Cry and featuring Detective Constable Constance Fairchild, will be published by Wildfire in July 2018. It was recently long listed for the McIlvanney Prize, for Best Scottish Crime Book of the year. Wildfire will also be publishing the ninth book in the Inspector McLean series, Cold as the Grave, in 2019.
James Oswald is represented by Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens Ltd.