Doug ‘Troubadour’ Johnstone is an author on the rise. You may know his name from his novels Hit & Run, Smokeheads, The Ossians, or even his debut Tombstoning. Or perhaps from his journalistic work for the Big Issue or The List. Gone Again is his latest hit novel, published by Faber & Faber in trade paperback at £12.99.
Roanna Branigan, bookseller extraordinaire & Scottish Section Buyer from Blackwells Bookshop at 53 to 62 South Bridge, Edinburgh, has taken time out from her duties to review Gone Again for Geekzine UK.
Cheers, Ro. Cake on its way.
Andy Jamieson, Editor-in-Chief
With his new novel Gone Again, Doug Johnstone has produced a good old fashioned mystery thriller. The story spans one week in the life of Mark Thomas, a freelance newspaper photographer with a wife (Lauren) and young son (Nathan) living in Portobello, a quiet suburb of Edinburgh.
The story kicks off when Mark is on the promenade looking for that front page shot of a pod of whales stranded just off Portobello beach. His son’s school calls him to say his wife Lauren hasn’t collected Nathan as usual and so the tension begins. Right away we see Mark as this lone ranger character with a short fuse. He’s annoyed Lauren has messed up his day and that his work has been interrupted. He half expects his wife to be there when he gets to the school apologising profusely for the inconvenience its caused him – but she isn’t, and she doesn’t turn up later that evening. Annoyance turns to worry and then the police are informed.
In the meantime life must go on as normal for his son Nathan, giving him his tea, getting him to bed, taking him to school and all the while trying not to worry the “wee man”. Lauren had done this before just after Nathan was born. Postnatal depression had been to blame that time. Was it happening again?
When the police start to turn their suspicions on him, Mark decides to take matters into his own hands and becomes a one man force to be reckoned with. Edinburgh’s gritty underworld starts to encroach on Mark’s normally quiet, verging-on-boring life, and he doesn’t like it.
Doug Johnstone captures the normality of family life perfectly and he gives an honest portrayal of what he thinks anyone would do to protect it. Gone Again is a pacey, out of control thriller with touches of humour and a whole wad of honesty.