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Smokeheads Paperback – August 1, 2011
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About the Author
Doug Johnstone is a freelance journalist and the author of two previous novels, Tombstoning and The Ossians, described by Irvine Welsh as 'a drug-fuelled, counter-clockwise state-of-the-nation rock 'n' roll tour' and by Ian Rankin as 'a powerful and moving commentary on the country and its defining myths'.
Top customer reviews
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Another problem I have with Doug Johnstone is the filthy language. I worked construction for 30 years and didn't hear is much cussing as I did from just Roddy himself in this book. I'm no saint but give it a rest.
So all in all, the story was good, just wish it was written by a decent author who doesn't have to use the F and C word 25 times per page considering each page only consists of 50 or so words. To bad, the best authors can tell a story with barely a fowl word, and at the same time fill pages with actual words. MY LAST BOOK BY D.J.
Question: On the ferry ride home at the end, why were Roddy's clothes blood-soaked? He had just been discharged from the hospital.
Four long-time Scottish friends--Adam, Roddy, Ethan and Luke--visit the Scottish isle of Islay via ferry to tour various distilleries and sample the goods. The lead character, Adam--from whose perspective the story is told in the third-person--is a balding scotch expert lacking in success but with plans to make it big if only his rich, coke-snorting friend Roddy will pony up some investment dough. These two are offset by the mild-mannered Ethan and laid-back Luke.
I won't ruin the story for you, but I will say that "Smokeheads" is not a dramatic "buddy" story, but more of a horror-crime-buddy adventure tale.
Doug Johnstone's writing style is impressive. He's an author I'm going to keep on my reading radar.
Four friends, one weekend, gallons of whisky. What could go wrong?
Driven by amateur whisky-nut Adam, four late-thirties ex-university mates are heading to Islay - the remote Scottish island world famous for its single malts - with a wallet full of cash, a stash of coke and a serious thirst.
Over a weekend soaked in the finest cask strength spirit, they meet young divorcee Molly, who Adam has a soft spot for, her little sister Ash who has all sorts of problems and Molly's ex-husband Joe, a control freak who also happens to be the local police. As events spiral out of control, they are all thrown into a nightmare that gets worse at every turn.
Once started it was a decent read, some likeable characters and some less so. There's plenty of drug taking, alcohol consumption and a bit of an education in the production of Scottish malt. There were humorous moments and a fair measure of violence throughout. Roddy, the hard-nosed, coke-snorting trader mate of Adam's and Joe the island bully-cum-policeman cross swords early on and then the lad's weekend takes a turn for the worse.
I did find the plot or the premise for Adam's dream a tad implausible, but that could have been the author's intention.....Adam the dreamer, Adam the fantasist, Adam the loser.
Overall it was better than average, whilst I wasn't totally invested emotionally in the outcome, I was keen to reach the journey's end. Probably a 3 from 5, maybe 3.5,
This was my first encounter with Doug Johnstone's writing..... reminded me a bit of Scottish Deliverance, without the banjo playing and pig-squealing! I have another book of Johnstone's on mount TBR - Tombstoning which I will get to at some point. I wouldn't put anyone off reading this, but neither would I be urging them to pick it up either.
The copy I read came from my local library.