"This book is fantastic any way you look at it. The author's writing contains the perfect blend of each element of the story. Characters feel like real people and scenery pops off the pages. Seriously, this is a great read and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!"

"What a great read, I couldn't put it down!!
Loved the story and all the characters."

Swinging sixties


Paisley is famous for it's Paisley Pattern (see left) and for it's two thread mills: the Anchor Mills and Ferguslie Mills. At one time, over 90% of the world's cotton thread came out of these factories. In 1949 there were 10,500 mill-workers in Paisley, many of them living in the suburb of Ferguslie Park. By 1991, after four roller-coaster decades of expansion, diversification, merger, closures and three-day-weeks, the Paisley mills employed just 340. On Friday April 2 1993 the last mill-girl clocked off for the last time. Sadly, an era had passed.

The "town" in the novel is Ferguslie Park, a suburb of Paisley, just south of Glasgow in Scotland. In it's heyday (during the 1960's, when the novel is set) there were around 13,500 people living in 3,500 units of housing - row after row of three and four story housing tenements crammed together to accommodate as many families as possible.

Ferguslie Park was built in the nineteen-thirties and forties to cater for people being cleared from Paisley’s slums. Many of the families living there were unskilled low paid manual workers in irregular employment. Some lived in extreme poverty and others were commonly thought of by the authorities as hopeless cases, dangerous, and requiring supervision and control. This was of course an oversimplification. Many of the people who lived there, poor though they might have been, were the salt of the earth. Council policy at the time dictated that the victims of increasing poverty and unemployment throughout the Paisley area be re-located to Ferguslie Park. This resulted in a disproportionate number of drunks, wife-beaters, child molesters, thieves, murderers and other n'er do well's in the area. Gangs of youths ranging in age from 15 to 25 roamed the streets at will, unimpeded by police who were rarely seen except in dire emergency.

Multiple deprivation is the term used by the Scottish Government to describe a measurement of employment, income, health, education, access to services, crime and housing. Ferguslie Park has twice been named number one on the list of most deprived areas in Scotland.


Archie has been a victim of fate all his life. Now, it’s time for payback.

Born into an abusive family, and on the wrong side of the tracks, the nineteen-year-old gang leader will do whatever it takes to survive.

His neighbor, Stephen, seems to have had everything handed to him on a plate: caring parents, close friends, and a rosy future. Envy eats at Archie, and when he discovers a lapse in Stephen’s integrity, he targets him for revenge.

A gripping psychological thriller, Small Fish Big Fish portrays the lives and loves of a group of teenage boys and girls in Scotland during the sixties. It is a true-to-life drama, written through the eyes of several characters. If you enjoy stories filled with compelling characters, suspenseful mystery and a touch of young romance, then you'll love PJ McDermott's twist on the traditional coming of age story.

What Readers Say

“Every young person wants to know they're not alone. We are all Stephen at some stage in our lives, lost, confused, trying to fit in, struggling to come to grips with our lives and who we are. This book does this flawlessly.”

“This really is a wonderful story that all young people can relate to. It takes an age-old battle and puts it splendidly into words that many will appreciate. I could not believe the climax.”

“Your book reminds me of Frank McCourt's biography of his life growing up in Ireland.”

 “The portrayal of the bully and the victim of bullying is brilliant.”

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The cover of Small Fish Big Fish was designed by Spiffing Covers (U.K.)

Small Fish Big Fish trailer - 

Want to know more about the characters' lives? 

I want the ebook! 

I want the paperback version!