I’m delighted to share an extract of Breakers by Doug Johnstone with you today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of this fantastic book.
Thank you to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for giving me the opportunity to share a preview of what to expect. I hope you enjoy!
About the book:
Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Whilst trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addicted mother, he’s also coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings.
One night whilst on a job, his brother Barry stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead. And that’s just the beginning of their nightmare, because they soon discover the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt.
With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in terrible danger, Tyler is running out of options, until he meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house. Could she be his salvation? Or will he end up dragging her down with him?
PRAISE FOR DOUG’S PREVIOUS NOVEL FAULT LINES
‘A cracking and highly original thriller. Johnstone never fails to deliver’ Mark Billingham
‘As psychologically rich as it is harrowing. I’ve come to expect nothing less from Doug Johnstone, one of the genre’s premiere writers’ Megan Abbott
‘Doug Johnstone is Scotland’s truest exponent of noir. He writes novels that are punchy, fast-paced and sometimes gruellingly dark; unflinchingly challenging his readers by taking them to places that are emotionally and ideologically uncomfortable’ Chris Brookmyre
About the author:
Doug Johnstone is an author, journalist and musician based in Edinburgh.
He’s had nine novels published, most recently Fault Lines. His previous
novel, The Jump, was a finalist for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime
Novel of the Year. Several of his other novels have been award winners and
bestsellers, and he’s had short stories published in numerous anthologies
and literary magazines. His work has been praised by the likes of Ian Rankin,
Val McDermid and Irvine Welsh. Several of his novels have been optioned
for film and television. 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 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, and is drummer, vocalist and occasional guitarist for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He also reviews books for The Big Issue magazine, is player-manager for Scotland Writers Football Club and has a PhD in nuclear physics.
Barry and Kelly were yammering up front, buzzing from the job. They were talking over each other, Rihanna’s new single throbbing away on the radio. Barry was doing well over thirty, his caution of earlier evap- orated. Tyler had the adrenaline rush too, but it felt like a betrayal. He was ashamed of what he’d done but the endorphins pulsed through his bloodstream, making him feel as if he’d achieved something, like a caveman escaping the jaws of a sabre-toothed tiger. He learned about it in biology at school, fight or flight, but knowing the physical reason didn’t make it easier to accept.
They drove north through Newington then left into Sciennes and Marchmont. Not many pickings here, too many student flats, the uni just over the Meadows.
There were also too many people in the streets, students walking home from pubs and clubs in the Old Town. Barry steered them through Whitehouse and skipped round the edge of The Grange into Morningside. It was the famously posh part of the city, where all the old-school money lived, as opposed to the brash New Town hedge funders.
Barry was too high from the first job and the coke to focus on the houses they drove past. Tyler spotted two candidates that Barry missed, but he didn’t say anything. It was the owners’ lucky night. Kelly couldn’t spot a good mark at the best of times. Thick as shit in a bottle, Barry said, even to her face, like it was a compliment. She just smiled and stroked his arm like she was brainwashed. As if on cue, she laughed at something Barry said, flicked her hair off her shoulder, eyes shining from the coke bumps.
They wound into Craiglockhart, then north to Merchiston, then sat at the lights at Holy Corner for ages, Lorde’s new single playing on the radio. Tyler liked her, she had something interesting about her, not like the other crap Forth played. He didn’t like the charts generally, preferred electronica and chill out. He found some stuff on Spotify one day, trying playlists for meditation, looking for something to help his mind settle. He wanted to stick his earbuds in now, listen to his own stuff on his phone, but Barry always slapped them off his head if he tried that on a job. Awareness of your surroundings, Barry said, that was key. How that squared with a coked-addled brain and a jaw that never shut up, fuck knows.
The time idling at the crossroads seemed to quieten them down in front. They went across into Churchill, along Chamberlain Road and right into Churchill Gardens. Too open, too busy, even at this time of night. A couple of lefts and they were into Greenhill Place, a terrace along one side, bigger detached houses on the right. They went to the end, turned right, round the block. A funeral directors on one corner. Tyler imagined what they might find there. But businesses were always better protected, alarm systems linked to the police, CCTV, money in a locked safe.
Barry turned right into St Margaret’s Road and slowed. Tyler spotted it before he sensed anything from Barry. A standalone Vic- torian upstairs-downstairs, bay windows, trimmed hedge and narrow gravel driveway. Ivy crawling up the wall around the front door. Dark, no car in the driveway or street, no sign of an alarm.
The windows at the front looked old sash and case, probably the same round the back.
Barry went round the block to be sure, making a purring noise under his breath. Kelly got the coke out and sorted a couple more lines on her lap. Barry slowed the car as they came back into St Margaret’s Road and eyeballed number four again, then he pulled up between streetlights and under an overhanging chestnut tree.
They both did a line in front, Barry making a gargling sound, Kelly sniffing into her throat. They were both fucked when they needed to be sharp.
‘Look lively,’ Barry said, climbing out of the car.
End of extract
Doesn’t it sound fabulous?! Thank you so much to Orenda Books for allowing me to share this extract with you today.
Breakers by Doug Johnstone is available to buy now: Amazon UK
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