I’m a big fan of local author Doug Johnstone’s books and heard him mention this book briefly last year at the book launch for his previous novel The Jump (read my review of that here). I am not a fan of flying, however, and this book did little to dispel my fears! It begins with Finn Sullivan meeting and having a few drinks with stranger Maddie Pierce at Kirkwall airport after their flight is delayed due to bad weather. Once in the air, in the tiny plane, Finn becomes involved in a fight with an oil worker who is harrassing Maddie – a bit of a nightmare scenario for me! I don’t think, given the title and cover of the book, that it’s giving much away to say that the plane then crashes.
This is a book which will make you think about the consequences of your actions. Although not directly responsible for the plane crash, Finn’s decision to defend Maddie leads to the crash and to him making a whole lot of other bad decisions. At least, I felt they were bad. One lie just seemed to lead to another and I was wondering what on earth he was thinking! It is also a book about who you can or should trust. Although he didn’t really know her at all, Finn felt he could trust Maddie rather than people he had known for years. Because of his decisions, he put himself in such danger.
Doug Johnstone has created the perfect ratio of tension, drama, excitement and danger throughout the book. With all the action taking place against the beautiful though rugged Orcadian landscape, I felt this was a book which would lend itself well to a film version. I particularly liked how the ending was a bit ambiguous, leaving me wondering just what had happened to Maddie – and what decision Finn would make next! A taut thriller, Crash Land is another excellent read from Doug Johnstone.
Thanks to the publishers Faber & Faber for my copy of the book via Netgalley. Crash Land will be published in paperback and as an e-book on 3rd November. You can order a copy online here: Crash Land
From the back of the book
Sitting in the departure lounge of Kirkwall Airport, Finn Sullivan just wants to get off Orkney. But then he meets the mysterious and dangerous Maddie Pierce, stepping in to save her from some unwanted attention, and his life is changed forever.
Set against the brutal, unforgiving landscape of Orkney, CRASH LAND is a psychological thriller steeped in guilt, shame, lust, deception and murder.