novels

Doug has had eight novels published:

Crash Land

Crash Land was published by Faber and Faber on 3rd November 2016.

crash-land

‘An unnerving tale of what happens to ordinary lives when the wheels come off.’ VAL MCDERMID

‘A haunting, unforgettable page-turner that ticks every excellence box in crime writing.’ ALANNA KNIGHT

Sitting in the departure lounge of Kirkwall Airport, Finn Sullivan just wants to get off Orkney. But then he meets the mysterious and dangerous Maddie Pierce, stepping in to save her from some unwanted attention, and his life is changed forever.

Set against the brutal, unforgiving landscape of Orkney, CRASH LAND is a psychological thriller steeped in guilt, shame, lust, deception and murder.

Buy it here.
Buy the Kindle ebook here.
Read loads of reviews and features on the book on the press page.

The Jump

The Jump was published by Faber and Faber on 6th August 2015.

the jump front cover

You can do anything if you have nothing left to lose.

Struggling to come to terms with the suicide of her teenage son, Ellie lives in the shadows of the Forth Road Bridge, lingering on its footpaths and swimming in the waters below. One day she talks down another suicidal teenager, Sam, and sees for herself a shot at redemption, the chance to atone for her son’s death.

But even with the best intentions, she can’t foresee the situation she’s falling headlong into – a troubled family, with some very dark secrets of their own. The Jump is a hugely moving contemporary thriller, and a stunning portrait of an unlikely heroine.

Buy it here.
Buy the Kindle ebook here.
Read loads of reviews and features on the book on the press page.

The Dead Beat

The Dead Beat was published by Faber and Faber on 1st May 2014.

the dead beat front cover

Meet Martha. It’s the first day of her new job as intern at Edinburgh’s The Standard. But all’s not well at the ailing newspaper, and Martha is carrying some serious baggage of her own.

Put straight onto the obituary page, she takes a call from a former employee who seems to commit suicide while on the phone, something which echoes with her own troubled past.

Setting in motion a frantic race around modern-day Edinburgh,The Dead Beat traces Martha’s desperate search for answers to the dark mystery of her parents’ past. Soundtracked by and interspersed with a series of gigs from the alternative music scene of her parents’ generation in the early ’90s, Doug Johnstone’s latest page-turner is a wild ride of a thriller, and a perfect follow-on to his #1 Kindle bestseller, Hit & Run.

Buy it here.
Buy the Kindle ebook here.

Read dozens of reviews of the novel and features on Doug over on the press page.

Gone Again

Gone Again was published by Faber and Faber on 7th March 2013.

Gone_Again_Royal_HB_Unsewn

‘It’s just to say that no-one has come to pick Nathan up from school, and we were wondering if there was a problem of some kind?’

As Mark Douglas photographs a pod of whales stranded in the waters off Edinburgh’s Portobello Beach, he is called by his son’s school: his wife, Lauren, hasn’t turned up to collect their son. Calm at first, Mark collects Nathan and takes him home but as the hours slowly crawl by he increasingly starts to worry.

With brilliantly controlled reveals, we learn some of the painful secrets of the couple’s shared past, not least that it isn’t the first time Lauren has disappeared. And as Mark struggles to care for his son and shield him from the truth of what’s going on, the police seem dangerously short of leads. That is, until a shocking discovery…

Buy it here.
Buy the Kindle ebook here.

Read dozens of reviews of the novel and features on Doug over on the press page.

Hit & Run

Hit & Run was published by Faber and Faber on 15th March 2012.

H&R paperback cover FINAL
You hit someone. You run. But what if you have to go back?

Driving home from a party with his girlfriend and brother, all of them drunk and high on stolen pills, Billy Blackmore accidentally hits someone in the night. In a panic, they all decide to drive off. But the next day Billy wakes to find he has to cover the story for the local paper. It turns out the dead man was Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord and, as Billy struggles with what he’s done, he is sucked into a nightmare of guilt, retribution and violence.

Buy it here.

Read the reviews and features on Hit & Run as they come in, over at the press page.

Smokeheads

Smokeheads was published by Faber and Faber on 3rd March 2011. You can buy it here.

Four friends, one weekend, gallons of whisky. What could go wrong?

Driven by amateur whisky-nut Adam, four late-thirties ex-university mates are heading to Islay – the remote Scottish island world famous for its single malts – with a wallet full of cash, a stash of coke and a serious thirst.

Over a weekend soaked in the finest cask strength spirit, they meet young divorcee Molly, who Adam has a soft spot for, her little sister Ash who has all sorts of problems and Molly’s ex-husband Joe, a control freak who also happens to be the local police. As events spiral out of control, they are all thrown into a nightmare that gets worse at every turn.

A wild trip to the Scottish Highlands, Doug’s debut on the Faber crime list is a classic violent thriller, doused with black humour.

‘Lulls the reader with the warm glow of a good dram on a winter’s night, then ambushes him with all the bitter nastiness of a brutal whisky hangover’ Christopher Brookmyre

Read dozens of reviews of the novel and features on Doug over on the press page.

The Ossians

The Ossians

The Ossians was published in March 2008 by Penguin. It is now out of print, but you can buy the Faber ebook here.

A rollicking and hugely enjoyable contemporary novel describing the outrageous mid-winter tour around Scotland of a group of musicians called The Ossians. The band’s driving force is twenty-four-year-old lead singer, Connor – intelligent but self-destructive, pretentious but charismatic, gloriously opinionated and with an extraordinary ability to get beaten up.

The band is on the verge of signing a major record deal before setting off on a two-week tour of the cities and hinterland of Scotland, a tour expected to culminate triumphantly in a defining Glasgow gig. On their travels there is a seagull massacre, hapless drug deals, a mysterious stalker, a radioactive beach, a bomb-testing range, an epileptic fit, a town full of riotous Russian submariners, deadly snowstorms, epiphanies, regular beatings and random shootings.

The Ossians is both hilariously readable and satirically astute, a story of rock’n’roll obsession as well as a search for identity and a sense of community, written with delicious insight, pace and brio.

‘The Ossians is a drug-fuelled, counterclockwise state-of-the-nation rock n roll tour that captures where we’re at better than any modern novel I’ve read.’ Irvine Welsh

‘A powerful and moving commentary on the country and its defining myths’ Ian Rankin

‘A rock odyssey so exhilaratingly authentic, you can hear the chords and smell the vomit’ Christopher Brookmyre

‘A gripping, compelling road trip around modern Scotland in the company of a drug-ravaged, untamed visionary’ Niall Griffiths

‘ This is This is Spinal Tap for Scotland’s lost generation. Johnstone has taken a small story of a small band lost in a small country and created an epic’ Ewan Morrison

‘Johnstone is good at describing the excitement, boredom, sniping and bonhomie of a touring band at the transit-van end of the career arc’ The Times

‘The authentic ring of a man who’s been there’ Guardian

‘Packed with seedy, sticky bars, sullen punters and morose reflections in deteriorating weather, there is an atmospheric beauty to The Ossians’ Independent on Sunday

‘A blast’ Scotland on Sunday

Tombstoning
Tombstoning

Tombstoning was published in August 2006 by Penguin. It is now out of print, but you can buy the Faber ebook version here.

Your best mate just fell off a cliff in mysterious circumstances and you were the last person to see him alive. What do you do? Well, if you’re David Lindsay from Arbroath, you get the hell out of there and don’t return. Not for at least fifteen years. Until Nicola Cruickshank – yes, that Nicola, the girl you always fancied but never had the guts to approach – gets in touch and asks – no, demands – that you go back for a school reunion. To the place where it happened. The place you’ve been running from for fifteen years.

Of course you go. Not to belatedly lay your mate to rest, but because you still fancy Nicola. The thing is, if you are David Lindsay, then returning to Arbroath isn’t going to lay any ghosts to rest. And when someone else takes a dive off the cliffs – an act the locals have taken to calling ‘tombstoning’ – while David’s there, he has a choice: run away again, or finally find out why people keep dying around him.

‘A vibrant and engaging debut, by turns humorous, irreverent and poignant’ Bill Duncan

‘A seductive and thrilling evocation of what lurks beneath the surface of small-town Scotland – or indeed small-town anywhere.’ Christopher Brookmyre

‘Excellently written, intriguing storyline, and different from anything else around. A very impressive debut.’ Allan Guthrie

‘Detailed and atmospheric description… funny and sparky dialogue’ Sunday Herald

‘A splendidly old-fashioned thriller, often very funny, with a touching and believable romance thrown in.’ The Times

‘Pacey debut thriller… Johnstone skilfully coaxes the reader into identifying with these difficult-to-love characters and maintains the tension and drama. He also pulls off a trick many experienced authors can’t manage: convincing descriptions of sex.’ Metro

‘Tombstoning has a friendly, pacy tone, a touch of romance and a gripping action sequence in the final chapters.’ The Scotsman

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