I have read and enjoyed quite a few of Doug Johnstone’s novels, many of which are set in Edinburgh so are very local to me. This one moves just outside of town to South Queensferry, in the shadow of the bridges, specifically the Forth Road Bridge of the title. Ben and Ellie’s son has committed suicide by jumping from the bridge leaving no clues as to why. Haunted by the bridge, Ellie cannot stay away and walks it or swims under it every day. I cannot imagine the grief felt by a parent in this situation, especially with such a huge reminder of what has happened so visible every day. Perhaps because of this grief, Ellie involves herself in another family’s troubles in a way which might seem unlikely. She has persuaded another teenage boy, Sam, not to jump from the bridge and becomes embroiled in an ever more difficult situation. Grief can make people react in strange ways and do unexpected things. I can’t really say more without giving it away but there are some very dark issues at the heart of the other family. The situation just seems to get worse and worse and there are many twists to the story. As with previous Doug Johnstone novels, I found this a real page turner and recommend it if you like a gripping thriller.
I was given a review copy by the publishers Faber and Faber via Netgalley. The Jump will be published on 4th August. You can pre-order a copy here: The Jump
What the book is about:
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.