Online launch for undercover cop’s tell-all book

Simon McLean has penned The Ten Percent.
Simon McLean has penned The Ten Percent.

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As previously reported in the Courier, the much awaited memoir of former Campbeltown detective Simon McLean, will be hitting bookshelves next week.

The official launch will be virtual due to current coronavirus restrictions, but it will still be action-packed. At 7pm on Wednesday October 7 Ringwood Publishers will host the Zoom event which will be non-stop, with special guests, competition winners and best selling authors.

Simon will also be reading from the book and taking questions. He told the Courier: ‘I can’t believe the book has actually arrived. It’s quite surreal.

‘Being posted to Campbeltown 42 years ago as a rookie cop dictated the course of my life, and the lives of many others, and yet it could just as easily have been anywhere in Strathclyde.

‘This small excerpt from the book will give you an idea of how much our postings were such a game of pure chance.’

We all arrived intact at Dumbarton police office, L Division HQ, in good time and were shown to a massive board room.

We were sat around the table expectantly when, a few minutes later, a huge man stepped in, Divisional Commander Watson, with scrambled eggs all across his police hat. There were no niceties or formalities. He didn’t sit down or say hello, just simply: ‘I need two for Oban, two for Dunoon, two for Campbeltown, and two for Rothesay. You have ten minutes to sort it out, lads.’ And off he went.

I quickly said: ‘I’ll go to Campbeltown.’ I had been there once. I had cycled to Carradale on the Kintyre coast and camped there a few times. I had been to Islay a few times, also camping, and so, at least, had some idea of where it all was…

I arrived in ‘the Wee Toon’ on Monday April 16 1979, one week after my 20th birthday. As luck would have it, that Monday was a public holiday and the place was quite deserted. I had to report to the police station, and of course had no idea where that was, but as I retrieved my bags from the hold of the bus, I was approached by a male about my age who asked: ‘Are you the new copper?’

He then directed me towards Castlehill, where the old cop-shop sat, taking great delight in escorting me some of the way. He thought this was all hilarious. Of course, I soon discovered that he was one of the most notorious rogues in Campbeltown. We became very well acquainted over the next few years…

Simon would like to invite everyone to join the free live Zoom/Facebook event, especially all those who pre-ordered the book from – just go to and search for The Ten Percent.

He also hopes to host a drop-in signing event at the Argyll Arms Hotel on October 15 but this is still to be confirmed, dependent on the restrictions in place at the time.