Monday, 7 May 2018

BEST OF CRIME with Doug Johnstone

Welcome to my latest BEST OF CRIME feature, looking at crime writers' top picks, from their favourite author and fictional detective to their best writing tip. 

Today I'm delighted to welcome 


for his Fault Lines blog tour

to share his BEST OF CRIME ...

It’s probably a tie between Megan Abbott and James Sallis. Both write brilliant books set around the edges of the crime genre. There’s no better writer of the psychology of women and girls than Abbott, and Sallis’s noir with a heart is the finest storytelling I’ve ever come across. 

I love stories about ordinary people thrown into extraordinary situations, so Fargo is just about perfect in that regard. And for tightness of plotting and wonderful dialogue, Reservoir Dogs is hard to beat. 

I was totally blown away recently by the new Netflix adaptation of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. It was a very loose adaptation, but all the better for that, crazy from start to finish, with brilliant plotting and terrific performances. 

Anton Chigurh, the relentless hitman in Cormac McCarthy’s No Country For Old Men. Just terrifying. 

Claire DeWitt, written by the utterly brilliant Sara Gran. She’s only produced two books featuring this fucked up detective, The City of the Dead and The Bohemian Highway, but there’s a third one, The Infinite Blacktop, coming this year. DeWitt is a genius creation, damaged in all sorts of ways but also utterly brilliant, these books are existential noir of the highest order. 

Not quite a murder weapon, but in Michel Faber’s Under the Skin, the main character Isserley picks up male hitchhikers in the Scottish Highlands, then drugs them via a hypodermic syringe embedded in the passenger seat of her car activated by a button. To be honest, that’s the best thing that happens to her victims. 

Carlito’s death at the end of Carlito’s Way gets me every time. Proper old-school tragedy right there. 

I absolutely love The Island Review, since I’m totally obsessed with islands, and it fits in nicely with my latest book Fault Lines. At the moment I’m researching a lot about the death industry, so The Order of the Good Death run by mortician Caitlin Doughty is a brilliant resource. 

Just get your arse in the seat and write. I mean, it’s utterly banal advice, but it’s really easy to procrastinate forever and do nothing. Don’t worry about getting it right first time, Hemmingway said the first draft of anything is shit, so just get it on the page, and you can sort it out in the many redrafts.  

I’m not much of a snacker, I’m afraid. I tend to keep pretty regular hours, writing throughout the day, and it’s mostly gallons of black coffee and the occasional banana. 

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 McIllvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year.

Find Doug Johnstone on his website and on Twitter - @doug_johnstone


Publisher's description
In a reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, in which 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 The Inch - the new volcanic island - to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body. Surtsey's life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact - someone who claims to know what she's done...

Read a snippet of my review
'I predict that Fault Lines is going to be huge - with its great writing, bold plotting, exceptional characterisation and fascinating background.'

To read the rest of my review, click here.

Fault lines is being published in paperback by Orenda Books on 22 May 2018.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

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