Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone #BlogTour @OrendaBooks @annecater

Today I’m delighted to share my review of Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone. Huge thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour.

About this book…

Doug Johnstone returns with his most explosive and original thriller yet…

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 review…

I have read a couple of books by Doug Johnstone before and always enjoyed them so was thrilled when he signed with Orenda Books to bring out Fault Lines. Edinburgh has a huge place in my heart as it’s where I went to uni and met The Grumpy Scotsman so I love to read books where I recognise the local landmarks and relive my misspent uni years! Fault Lines had many places I knew and loved in its storyline including our favourite hotel in the whole wide world where we stay for our anniversaries and Christmas shopping trips! It’s use in Fault Lines was probably a little more exciting though!

I was intrigued to say the least about how Doug Johnstone was going to reinvent the landscape for Edinburgh but it was totally believable from the first time he described The Inch and how it came to be in existence. Surtsey (wonderful name and so appropriate!) is meeting her lover Tom on the volcanic island which has restricted access to the public. But when she finds him dead, she panics and leaves him there. When he is eventually discovered by fellow volcanologists, including Surtsey herself, everything starts pointing to her as the prime suspect. Having taken Tom’s secret mobile phone, Surtsey starts getting messages from an unknown source who appears to know more about Tom’s death than expected. Who is taunting Surtsey and why? Well, you’re going to love following her journey to find out!

I can’t say I was incredibly taken by many characters in Fault Lines, although their flaws seemed a fine parallel to the volcanic island that rumbled on increasingly as the plot developed. I found the relationships between Surtsey and her family and friends to be the amongst the most intriguing moments for me. With Surtsey and her sister Iona reacting very differently to their terminally ill mother but both hiding their emotions, it was difficult to have an awful lot of empathy for Surtsey sometimes. Her lifestyle didn’t particularly endear her to me either I have say but I didn’t want to judge her as harshly as others did here. Just because she was a drug using, hard drinking and adulterous young woman didn’t mean she was a murderer!

But the showpiece of this book is The Inch and the spectacular terrain that had been birthed from the fault line on the same day as Surtsey had been born. The descriptions of the rocky terrain and the parallel difficulties of it’s kindred spirit were outstanding. The aura surrounding this majestic landscape was almost tangible and I found myself believing it was really there in reality!

This is a gripping crime thriller with a difference and I loved the unique feel to its narrative. I did work out quite early on what was going on and why but it didn’t deter from my enjoyment of the darkly gripping and cleverly constructed storyline. It isn’t as fast paced as previous novels but this works in its favour here as the build up slowly reflected the atmosphere surrounding both the murder case and ever increasing earth tremors shaking the beautifully unique city of Edinburgh.

An enjoyable read and a fascinating insight into seismology at the same time! Result!

Fault Lines is available to purchase from Amazon UK (affiliates link) My review copy came from the publisher Orenda Books

Meet the author…

Doug Johnstone is an author, journalist and musician based in Edinburgh. He’s had eight novels published, most recently Crash Land. His previous novel, The Jump, was a finalist for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Doug is also a Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellow. He’s worked as an RLF Fellow at Queen Margaret University, taught creative writing at Strathclyde University and been Writer in Residence at Strathclyde University and William Purves Funeral Directors. He mentors and assesses manuscripts for The Literary Consultancy and regularly tutors at Moniack Mhor writing retreat. Doug has released seven albums in various bands, reviews books for the Big Issue, is player-manager for Scotland Writers Football Club, plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers band, and has a PhD in nuclear physics.

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

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