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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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