Breakers by Doug Johnstone – Book Review

Breakers by Doug Johnstone – Book Review




Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Whilst trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addicted mother, he’s also coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings.

One night whilst on a job, his brother Barry stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead. And that’s just the beginning of their nightmare, because they soon discover the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt.

With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in terrible danger, Tyler is running out of options, until he meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house. Could she be his salvation? Or will he end up dragging her down with him?


Set in Edinburgh and Tyler lives in one of the most deprived areas of the city. He lives in a tower block, with his mother, Angela and young sister Bean….

His half-brother Barry lives in a flat on the same floor, with Tyler’s half-Sister, Kelly and two vicious bull terriers.

One night the three of them go on a burglary rampage, but during one the home owner comes home…..and things get out of hand. What they didn’t know at the time was the home belonged to Deke Holts of the largest crime family in Edinburgh.

Tyler is guilt ridden, he was only there as his brother made him…but he did call an ambulance for the stricken Monica…

For a little peace, he breaks into an empty house, and then meets Flick, who had done the same for a quite different reason. From so very different backgrounds, they become friends….

What follows is a heart rending tale of violence and fear…..with a little hope…Tyler, while he thinks nothing of stealing, it’s either under duress or for sheer necessity due to his circumstances…..A home with nothing, a heroin addicted mother and violent siblings…..and looking after his 7 year old sister. My heart broke for him.

Will Detective Inspector Pearce find the burglars, the attempted murderer?…..or will Deke find them first? Stunningly bleak and realistic this thriller will highlight the pressures young people are under when they have so little, just surviving shouldn’t be the norm. Marvellous creative writing by Doug Johnstone and I can thoroughly recommend this. A must read and one of my favourites this year.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here (click on the image)



Doug Johnstone is an author, journalist and musician based in Edinburgh.
He’s had nine novels published, most recently Fault Lines. His previous
novel, The Jump, was a finalist for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime
Novel of the Year. Several of his other novels have been award winners and
bestsellers, and he’s had short stories published in numerous anthologies
and literary magazines. His work has been praised by the likes of Ian Rankin,
Val McDermid and Irvine Welsh. Several of his novels have been optioned
for film and television. Doug is also a Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellow.
He’s worked as an RLF Fellow at Queen Margaret University, taught creative
writing at Strathclyde University and William Purves Funeral Directors.
He mentors and assesses manuscripts for The Literary Consultancy and
regularly tutors at Moniack Mhor writing retreat. Doug has released seven albums in various bands, and is drummer, vocalist and occasional guitarist for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He also reviews books for The Big Issue magazine, is player-manager for Scotland Writers Football Club and has a PhD in nuclear physics.

‘A cracking and highly original thriller. Johnstone never fails to deliver’ Mark Billingham

‘As psychologically rich as it is harrowing. I’ve come to expect nothing less from Doug Johnstone, one of the genre’s premiere writers’ Megan Abbott

‘Doug Johnstone is Scotland’s truest exponent of noir. He writes novels that are punchy, fast-paced and sometimes gruellingly dark; unflinchingly challenging his readers by taking them to places that are emotionally and ideologically uncomfortable’ Chris Brookmyre
 ‘Thought-provoking and heartbreaking’ Scotsman

Orenda Books is a small independent publishing company specialising in literary fiction with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, and approximately half the list in translation. They’ve been twice shortlisted for the Nick Robinson Best Newcomer Award at the IPG awards, and publisher and owner Karen Sullivan was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016. In 2018, they were awarded a prestigious Creative Europe grant for their translated books programme. Three authors, including Agnes Ravatn, Matt Wesolowski and Amanda Jennings have been WHSmith Fresh Talent picks, and Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal was shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, won an English PEN Translation Award, and adapted for BBC Radio Four’s Book at Bedtime. Six titles have been short- or long-listed for the CWA Daggers. Launched in 2014 with a mission to bring more international literature to the UK market, Orenda Books publishes a host of debuts, many of which have gone on to sell millions worldwide, and looks for fresh, exciting new voices that push the genre in new directions. Bestselling authors include Ragnar Jonasson, Antti Tuomainen, Gunnar Staalesen, Michael J. Malone, Kjell Ola Dahl, Louise Beech, Johana Gustawsson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir and Sarah Stovell. @OrendaBooks

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