I’m delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone alongside my tour buddy – appropriately, given the setting of the book – Joanne at Portobello Book Blog. As regular followers of What Cathy Read Next will know, my usual reading diet is historical fiction but when it comes to thrillers I know I can’t go far wrong with titles published by Orenda Books. I haven’t been disappointed yet and Fault Lines was no exception.
Do take a look at the tour schedule at the bottom of this post to see the other great book bloggers taking part in the tour.
About the Book
A little lie… a seismic secret… and the cracks are beginning to show…
In a re-imagined 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…
Format: ebook, paperback (300 pp.) Publisher: Orenda Books
Published: 22nd May 2018 (paperback) Genre: Crime, Thriller
Find Fault Lines on Goodreads
Surtsey is following in the footsteps of her mother in studying to be a volcanologist and she has the perfect object of study on her doorstep. Well, across the sea, to be precise – the volcanic island known as The Inch which erupted out of the Firth of Forth on the day she was born. Being named after another volcanic island (this one in Iceland) proves to be apt because Surtsey’s life is about to erupt in the most dramatic way possible when she discovers the body of her boss and married lover, Tom, on The Inch, the location of their intended tryst. She decides to say nothing for fear of their affair coming to light. However, it turns out to be too late as someone else appears to know her secret – in fact, all her secrets.
I really liked the way the author used geology as a metaphor for the situation Surtsey finds herself in. The frequent earth tremors resulting from the movement of the tectonic plates mirror the upheaval in Surtsey’s life. In addition, it transpires she has more than just the death of her lover creating fissures in a life already made unstable by too much alcohol and other stimulants, infidelity and strained relations with her sister, Iona.
In a way Fault Lines has many of the elements of a classic whodunit as there a number of possible suspects. Two thirds of the way through the book, things get a whole lot more complicated for Surtsey as her secret tormenter closes in and secrets from the past are revealed that change everything. My suspicions did eventually turn towards the actual culprit although what their motive could be eluded me. The book builds to an exciting and dramatic climax in which the forces of Mother Nature, aptly, play a significant part.
Fault Lines is an imaginative, dark and accomplished thriller with believable – if not necessarily likeable – characters set in a convincingly described location. I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Orenda Books, and Anne Cater at Random Things Tours, in return for an honest and unbiased review.
In three words: Imaginative, gripping, suspenseful
Try something similar…The Ice by Laline Paull (click here for my review)
About 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 and has a PhD in nuclear physics. (Photo credit: Chris Scott)
Connect with Doug