Thursday, 25 October 2012

DOUG JOHNSTONE - SMOKEHEADS


Blurb........

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.

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