Les Cowan grew up in central Scotland and studied English at Edinburgh University then Social Work at Stirling. There then followed five years of mixed social work practice including child protection, learning disability, mental health, addictions and lots and lots of criminal justice work including children and youth supervision, Social Enquiry Reports, Fine Supervision Orders, Probation Orders, Statutory Aftercare and every combination thereof. Besides contact with other professionals in the system including police, lawyers, the courts, prisons, etc. this meant a lot of involvement in the daily lives of young people and adults who were the "customers" of the system.
After some special projects, a stint of teaching and a pretty traumatic time in senior management (if we say Orkney Islands Council Social Work Dept. in the 1990s ...), Les took a jump into the unknown by starting his own IT business in 1998. This brought together a long time interest in all things computational with his social work practice with the aim of developing fun, interactive resources to help children and young people think about choices, risks and consequences. This business won numerous national and international awards and sold products (we think) to every local authority in the country and many overseas.
Life then took another unexpected turn with the apparently casual decision to have a crack at learning Spanish. This soon turned into a bit of an obsession eventually leading to two years teaching English in Madrid and now five years in Galicia.
Like many novelists, Les initially wrote just to see if he had that legendary novel inside and if it could be coaxed out into the open. What eventually became Benefit of the Doubt took about a year in first draft and was then improved on and off for the next six years before the fateful decision to send a few chapters and a synopsis to Lion Fiction. The response was positive and the rest is history...
The sequel to Benefit, All that Glitters was published in June 2018 and the third volume in the series (Sins of the Fathers) will appear in May 2019. Volumes four and five are also written and will appear in due course.
As well as the David Hidalgo novels, Les was a regular columnist for Orkney Today newspaper over five years (columns subsequently pulled together and published as Loose Talk Collected - available direct from the author) and has also written a cyclist's travel guide Orkney by Bike (available from the author in PDF format).
Les is a member of the Crime Writers Association.