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  • Title: Breakers
  • Author: Doug Johnstone
  • Publisher: Orenda Books
  • Publication Date: 16th May 2019

Copy received from publisher for review purposes.

Description:

A pulsatingly tense, deeply moving psychological thriller from the Number One BESTSELLING Scottish author of Fault Lines

Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings, he’s also trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addict mum.

On a job, his brother Barry stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead, but that’s just the beginning of their nightmare, because the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt.

With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in devastating danger, Tyler meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house, and he thinks she may just be his salvation … unless he drags her down too.

A pulsatingly tense psychological thriller, Breakers is also a breathtakingly brutal, beautiful and deeply moving story of a good kid in the wrong family, from one of Scotland’s finest crime writers.

My Thoughts:

When you pick up a Doug Johnstone book you know that you are going to be spoiled with some incredibly atmospheric writing that will utterly blow you away.
In Breakers readers meet Tyler, a seventeen-year-old lad who is struggling with the harsh realities of life and things are only going to get harder for him. The shining light in the darkness for Tyler is his little sister Bean, who he loves and will do anything to protect her, even hiding their mother’s drug addiction from her so as not to shatter her childhood entirely. Part of his survival depends on his participation in robberies with his older siblings, his lithe movements being useful for fitting through tight spots and another pair of hands is always useful when you’re robbing the homes of the wealthy. His illegal activities should cause a reader to dislike him, but instead Johnstone manages to turn everything on it’s head and causes the reader to feel empathy towards Tyler. The writing portrays a character with more than you first realise, Tyler has many sides to him but underneath it all is a deep sense of caring.

The most profound thing that I found when reading this was the idea that one decision can be the turning point life, and that you never really know where the road will take you. And we never truly know what happens behind the facades that we see, but what is clear is that Johnstone will draw emotions out of readers so effortlessly with his excellent writing.

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** My thanks to the wonderful Karen at Orenda Books for my copy of Fault Lines **

 

Description:

 

A little lie … a seismic secret … and the cracks are beginning to show…

In a reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, where a tectonic fault has opened up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth, and where tremors are an everyday occurrence, volcanologist Surtsey makes a shocking discovery.
On a clandestine trip to new volcanic island The Inch, to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body, and makes the fatal decision to keep their affair, and her discovery, a secret. Desperate to know how he died, but also terrified she’ll be exposed, Surtsey’s life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact – someone who claims to know what she’s done…

 

My Thoughts & Review:

It’s no surprise that I have a soft spot for books set in Scotland, and there are certain locations that will always grab my attention, Edinburgh being one.  Doug Johnstone is a new author to me, I read a short story he wrote for Bloody Scotland – Painting the Forth Road Bridge and was blown away by the intensity of his writing.  I was aware of a very trusted fellow blogger raving about Fault Lines and was curious why she was so hooked by this book, so it seemed like a smart move to dive in and see what the excitement was about.

Set in an Edinburgh with a difference, the reader is plunged into a world of volcanology and death.  The shifting tectonic plates of the Earth have caused the formation/eruption of a volcano in the Firth of Forth, which brings regular seismic activity for the surrounding areas.  This backdrop is perfectly matched to the clever plot, the brooding malevolence of the volcano ties perfectly with a fast paced thrilling read that has you holding your breath in anticipation.

When an author can transport you to the location of their book and let you “see” the landscape through their words is one thing, but the way that Johnstone writes means that his readers can experience another sensation, they can feel what goes on in Fault Lines.  The way that the tremors are described feels so tangible, the threat that volcano poses feels so real and the feel of the water as Surtsey’s boat sails between The Inch and the mainland are just some examples of the wonderful writing that awaits readers in this book.  There’s a marvelouslly hypnotic quality to Johnstone’s writing, it’s utterly engrossing and you stop trying to guess ahead about “the who”, “the what” or “the why”, and just sit back and revel in the small details of the such an intricately plotted masterpiece.

The fragility of human psychology is deftly explored, emotions are laid bare and the rawness of grief and the associated disbelief at events makes this such a powerful read.  The characters are cleverly crafted, Surtsey is an extremely interesting character that you cannot quite fully fathom out.  Her thoughts and actions don’t always seem to make complete sense to the reader, her responses to the events around her are driven by feelings of grief, confusion and desperation.  It’s almost poetic to think of her as being as the personification of the volcano in a way, a dominant presence with glimpses of fragility and instability, but also with indeterminate power, leaving readers wondering what will happen next.

A highly recommended thriller that’s clever and imaginative, and will leave readers reeling!

You can buy a copy of Fault Lines via:

Amazon UK
Orenda Books eBookstore

FINAL Fault Lines blog poster 2018

 

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