Clarkston author Theresa Talbot’s latest novel gives a voice to forgotten abuse victims

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Inspiration can strike at any time - just ask Clarkston author Theresa Talbot.

The BBC Scotland traffic and travel correspondent published her third crime novel, ‘The Quiet Ones’ last month.

The novel tells the story of the supposed suicide of famous Scottish football coach Harry Nugent. The tabloids are filled with tributes to a charitable pillar of the community that gave so much back to sport and to those less fortunate.

But something isn’t right. Enter investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil. She is getting the distinct impression that people are trying to distance themselves from Harry.

Oonagh’s investigation leads her to uncover a heartbreakingly haunting cover-up – and places her in danger from those willing to protect their sadistic and dark secrets at any cost...

Although The Quiet Ones is inspired by real life events – the story is very loosely based on the abuse scandal within football clubs – it’s a work of fiction and looks at the effects abuse has on those affected.

“It was complete chance that I got chatting to a Glasgow taxi driver David Gordon,” Theresa explains. “He told me he had been a whistleblower in the original trial of Celtic Boys Club founder Jim Torbett during the 1990s.”

In 1998 Jim Torbett was sentenced to two years in jail. In the years that followed, further allegations of abuse emerged and in November 2018, Torbett was jailed for a further six years, aged 71.

Theresa continued: “Torbett had been a successful football coach and a well known businessman. People really admired him and it would have been hard for the young boys to come forward and speak out against this man. They were mainly working class boys who were getting a chance at a better life.

“It took the bravery of a few boys to bring him to justice. David Gordon was one of those boys.”

Theresa is no stranger to being inspired by real life events.

Her debut novel and the first in the Oonagh O’Neil trilogy, The Lost Children is a dark crime novel based on the real life events surrounding the closure of Glasgow’s Magdalene Institution. This was followed by Keep Her Silent which shone a spotlight on the NHS contaminated blood scandal.

“I still find it really difficult,” she said. “I can sit and the words come, but I never really know how it will end. It always ends up taking different paths to how I imagined it. I hope that I’ve done the story of David and the other brave boys that came forward justice.”

The Quiet Ones is out now.

For more on Theresa, visit her website