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Doug Johnstone Books In Order

Publication Order of Skelfs Books

A Dark Matter (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Tombstoning (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Ossians (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Smokeheads (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hit & Run (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Gone Again (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Dead Beat (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Jump (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Crash Land (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Fault Lines (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Breakers (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Doug Johnstone is a journalist, musician and author of literary fiction and contemporary thrillers set in Scotland. His novels are all about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and how they react to such difficult situations. The novels have been described as no-nonsense stories with strong emotional undercurrents. Johnstone has a diploma in journalism, a degree in physics and a doctorate in nuclear physics. He got his start in writing with the writing of “Tombstoning” that he published in 2006 to much commercial success and critical acclaim. With his debut getting much success, he has been nominated and won many awards over the years. He made the longlist for the Scottish Crime Novel of the Year McIlvanney Prize for his novel “Breakers,” while “Hit & Run,” and “ were Amazon bestselling titles. He has also received a lot of acclaim from his contemporaries that include Christopher Brookmyre, Irvine Welsh, Megan Abbott, Ian Rankin, William McIlvanney, and Val McDermid.

Doug has been at the William Purves Funeral Directors as Writer in Residence. He is also a consultant fellow at the Royal Literary Fund and between 2014 and 2016 was a Queen Margaret University Fellow in Edinburgh. Prior to that, he worked at the University of Strathclyde as Writer in Residence and before that he taught creative writing at the same institution. His short fiction has been featured in a range of anthologies and publications. Since 1999, he has been active as a freelance arts journalist writing about literature and music. He also teaches creative writing at conferences and festivals and also mentors aspiring authors for the Scottish Book Trust and New Writing North. As a man of many talents, he is a player-manager for the Scotland Writers Football Club that he also cofounded. He is also a songwriter, musician, and singer in several bands the most prominent of which is the Northern Alliance that has four critically acclaimed albums. He also plays drums for crime writing super group Fun Lovin Crime Writers that includes Luca Veste, Val McDermid, Stuart Neville, and Mark Billingham.

Doug started out working for the defense industry and designed radars for four years before he quit the job to become a freelance music journalist. Growing up in Arbroath during the 1970s, it never occurred to him that he would ever become a professional author. However, he did write several short stories in his free time. By the time he was in his thirties and his interest in writing returned, it struck him that all of the authors he read at school were dead. It was when he read Irvine Welsh’s “Trainspotting” that he thought that maybe he too could become an author as he wanted to tell the stories of the people around him. He did not think of himself and his first two novels “Tombstoning” and “The Ossians” as thrillers. It was only in the third novel “Smokeheads” that he wrote hardcore thrillers incorporating elements of thriller that made for a nasty and fast-paced novel. For Doug, it is all about being alert to what is happening around him and then shaping the ideas into a compelling story. As such, he gets his ideas from stuff he overhears from conversations from television from novels, news stories and friends tales. This he combines with his own experience to write dangerous and interesting stories. Given his scientific background, he loves the process of shaping what he collects into plot points, characters, motivations, settings and scenes. Doug often shuts himself in the loft with no distractions and no windows and writes in sharp bursts.

“Tombstoning” by Doug Johnstone tells of the dilemma of David Lindsay of Arbroath. In a bizarre incident, his best mate fell off a cliff and he was the last man that was seen with him. Lindsay gets out of town and does not come back until fifteen years later. Nicola Cruickshank the girl he had a massive crush on when they were in high school and he had never had the guts to ask her out gets in touch with him. She asks that Lindsay come back into town to attend a school reunion at the very scene of the accident. He had been running away from the scene for fifteen years but he has to go, not because he wants to lay his friend to rest but because he still likes Nicola. But returning to Arbroath will not lay any of the ghosts of the past to rest. But then another person dives off the same cliffs and David has to decide if he will run away again or try to find out why people are tombstoning off that spot.

Johnstone’s “The Ossians” is a hugely enjoyable modern novel that describes the outrageous tour of The Ossians, a band that is on a tour around Scotland. The band is led by Connor, the self-destructive, gloriously opinionated, charismatic twenty-four-year-old lead singer who often attracts a beating. The Ossians are about to sign a major record deal after which they will set off on a two-week tour of the hinterland and cities of Scotland. The tour is planned to culminate in a huge concert in Glasgow, where the band members will be feted for their exploits. The tour has a lot of adventure as there are random shootings, a seagull massacre, regular beatings, hapless drug deals, epiphanies, a mysterious stalker, deadly snowstorms, a radioactive beach, a town full of rioting Russian soldiers, and a beach bombing testing range. It is a satirically astute and hilariously readable novel of an obsession with rock and roll, written with delicious insight that tells of a search for a sense of community and a search for identity.

Doug Johnstone’s “Smokeheads” is about four ex-college students who love malt whiskey. They have set out on a weekend trip to sample a ton of whiskey products from Islay Island, which is known for its many distilleries. Moments after leaving the ferry terminal, the loud-mouthed Roddy gets in a scuffle which attracts the attention of the local police. Nothing goes as planned and the weekend goes from bad to worse rapidly. The scuffle results in an accident and the accident causes a nightmare scenario worthy of a Hollywood movie in the mold of “Deliverance” with whiskey and a Scottish flavor. The four friends are not the easiest people to like or sympathize with despite all the trouble they land in. Nonetheless, it is a roller coaster of a ride that is action-packed and fast-paced, making for a very compelling read.

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