Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Hit and Run by Doug Johnstone

Crime and Punishment?
review by Maryom


Billy Blackmore has been out for the night with his girlfriend Zoe and brother Charlie. Drunk and drugged up, he still decides to drive home but on the way the unthinkable happens and he hits and kills someone. Zoe and Charlie persuade him that reporting the accident won't help the man, so they hide the body and drive off.
Billy soon finds that it isn't that easy to walk away from the incident or his nagging conscience. When the body is discovered next day, he's expected, as a crime reporter, to investigate - especially when the dead man turns out to be a local crime lord with a family ready to track down the culprits and mete out their own brand of justice, and to have a grieving widow in need of consolation.

I 'discovered' Doug Johnstone last year through a Waterstones review copy of Smokeheads, a sort of Scottish island based Deliverance, and wondered what he'd come up with to follow it.
Smokeheads was a sort of action/comedy/thriller - great fun but not likely to happen . Hit and Run is different. While still fast-moving, and at times violent, it's ultimately more thought provoking and, most importantly, more believable. Billy is a good guy at heart - though I'm not too sure about his brother or girlfriend - caught in a situation that, without too big a stretch of imagination, readers can relate too. Any of us could be Billy, trying to avoid responsibility but finding that our conscience is not as malleable as we might imagine.

As in Smokeheads, there's a strong evocation of place - this time capital city, Edinburgh, and the brooding presence of Salisbury Crags, overlooking most of the action and serving as a constant reminder of what Billy has done.

Hit and Run is an unputdownable, action packed read but with plenty for those looking for something deeper to get their teeth into. If you haven't discovered Doug Johnstone, then it's time you did! I'm definitely looking forward to more from him.


Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Faber and Faber

Genre - adult action thriller

Buy Hit and Run from Amazon

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