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Fault Lines

Published by Orenda Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

When volcanologist Surtsey finds her married lover dead, she pockets his phone and makes the fatal decision to keep her discovery secret … but someone has been watching…

‘A cracking and highly original thriller’ Mark Billingham

‘You don’t read Fault Lines so much as you white-knuckle your way through its twists and turns’ Megan Abbott

‘A superb, highly original psychological chiller’ Steve Cavanagh


In a reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, where 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 new volcanic island The Inch, to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body, and makes the fatal decision to keep their affair, and her discovery, a secret.

Desperate to know how he died, but also terrified she’ll be exposed, Surtsey’s life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact – someone who claims to know what she’s done…


‘An explosive thriller’ Daily Record

‘A cracking-good thriller with some seriously good writing and some beautifully designed characters … Here’s a writer pushing the thriller envelope, giving the reader not just a good novel, but also a unique one’ David Pitt, Booklist

‘Novel and elegant … it is the book’s thought-provoking and heart-breaking moments that carry the reader through the story and which resonate most at the end’ Scotsman

‘Both a meditation on the volatility of human nature and a gripping thriller with plenty of twists and turns … An original and addictive thriller, as intelligent as it is shocking’ Foreword Reviews

‘Richly characterised, beautifully crafted, this is a book that you truly inhabit’ Emma Kavanagh

‘Scotland’s truest exponent of noir’ Chris Brookmyre

'A subtly off-kilter speculative thriller that builds to a truly explosive ending’ Eva Dolan

‘A pacey, gripping read’ Louise Voss

‘Sexy, fearless and addictive’ Helen FitzGerald

‘Johnstone weaves his compelling and original tale with great skill and elegance from the gripping beginning to a tense and explosive ending' Amanda Jennings

‘Brilliantly unputdownable’ Martyn Waites

‘Superb’ Luca Veste

‘Blending powerful imagination and plotting, this is the work of a writer at the top of his game’ Stuart Neville

‘Plays with every single emotion’ Susi Holliday

‘This had me hooked from the first page’ Cass Green

‘Poignant, gripping and packed with seismic shocks’ Paddy Magrane

‘Incisive, intelligent and imaginative’ Michael J. Malone

‘I was completely swept away’ Caroline Mitchell

‘Hits you lie a seismic shock’ Douglas Skelton

‘Grabs you by the throat in the first chapter’ Neil Broadfoot

Doug Johnstone is the author of eleven novels, most recently The Big Chill, the second in the Skelfs series, which has just been optioned for TV. In 2020, A Dark Matter, the first in the series, was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and the Capital Crime Amazon Publishing Independent Voice Book of the Year award. In 2019, his thriller Breakers was also shortlisted for the prize. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions, and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.

  • Publisher: Orenda Books (May 22, 2018)
  • Length: 224 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781912374151

More books from this author: Doug Johnstone