Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone | Review #BlogTour #RandomThingsTours


Published by Orenda Books

Available to buy in ebook (28 February 2018) and to order in paperback (22 May 2018)

215 pages

Source: Review copy provided by publisher

Welcome to my day co-hosting the blog tour for Fault Lines.  My thanks to Orenda Books for the paperback copy to review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the blog tour invitation.


|   About the Book   |


Brilliantly constructed speculative crime fiction
A classic whodunit
Dark psychological suspense

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…


|   Review   |


Who knew that volcanos could be so intriguing. In Fault Lines, our protagonist Surtsey Mackenzie, a young volcanologist is having an affair with her older and married boss Tom. When one night she heads across the water to a volcanic island situated in the Forth of Firth named The Inch, she is expecting a passionate tryst. However instead she finds his dead body – and this is where the story darkens and her life implodes.

They thought they had kept their affair a secret but somebody knows and is sending cryptic disturbing texts to Surtsey. If she goes to the police she could implicate herself in his death but if she says nothing she is forever looking over her shoulder, wondering who is threatening her and who she can trust.

Dealing with Tom’s death is not the only trauma in her life. Her mother Louise, also a volcanologist, is dying of cancer in a local hospice. Iona, Surtsey’s sister, seems not to care and is of no support at all and their relationship seems to be at breaking point.

Fault Lines is a slow burner of a thriller and quite short too, at a mere 215 pages. However every page contains a devilishly detailed plot with characters and dialogue that is both realistic and convincing, leading to a tense and dramatic climax. I didn’t find all the characters likeable and there were some that I never trusted however that didn’t matter at all. Surtsey wasn’t always my cup of tea; I don’t have much in common with someone who cheats on her boyfriend, gets stoned smoking pot and drinks themselves into a stupor. I did however like her spunky attitude and found myself rooting for her and cheering her on, particularly in her dealings with one quite obnoxious police inspector.

Set against an re-imagined Edinburgh with earth tremors constantly unsettling its residents, Fault Lines is a very different dark and compelling thriller with past secrets having an impact upon the present. I have to admit that some of the science about volcanic eruptions went over my head but this didn’t stop me enjoying this very accomplished thriller.

Doug Johnstone is an author new to me but I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another of his books.


At the time of this post, Fault Lines can be downloaded from Amazon UK for just 99p



|   Author Bio   |

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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