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Monday 8 February 2016

'The Jump' by Doug Johnstone

Published by Faber & Faber,
6 August 2015.
ISBN: 978-0-571-32157-5

Ellie and her husband are struggling to come to terms with the suicide of their teenage son. When Ellie sees another teenager poised on the Forth Bridge, she sees it as a second chance, but events quickly spiral out of control.

We’re drawn into Ellie’s world straight away: the collapsing world of a forty-something woman who has lost her only son in an unforseen suicide. Logan’s death has driven Ellie and her husband, Ben, into different spirals. Ellie is swimming in the Forth, beneath the bridge, walking up to the point her son jumped from, watching the CCTV footage of his death over and over again. Ben has become a conspiracy theorist, continually posting leaflets on what ‘They’ are doing through the neighbours’ doors. When Ellie rescues Sam, in the tense opening chapter, we see him through her eyes as another lost teenager who can’t articulate his emotions, and it’s only as the book goes on that we realise the dark heart of his story. Ellie is a particularly sympathetic character, and it says much for Johnstone’s creation of her that the reader continues to feel for her as her actions become increasingly bizarre. The storyline is compelling, with twist following twist, and the scenery and feel of the Forth well-evoked.

A strong psychological thriller with characters whose emotions haunt you long after you’ve finished reading.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh. His sixth novel, The Dead Beat, was published by Faber and Faber in May 2014. Gone Again (2013) was an Amazon bestseller and Hit & Run (2012) and was an Amazon #1 as well as being selected as a prestigious Fiction Uncovered winner. Smokeheads (2011) was nominated for the Crimefest Last Laugh Award. Before that Doug published two novels with Penguin, Tombstoning (2006) and The Ossians (2008). His work has received praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin, William McIlvanney, Megan Abbott and Christopher Brookmyre.
Doug is a singer, musician and songwriter in several bands, including Northern Alliance, who have released four albums to critical acclaim, as well as recording an album as a fictional band called The Ossians. Doug released his debut solo EP, 'Keep It Afloat', in 2011.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.





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