Friday 8 April 2011

Smokeheads by Doug Johnstone

Deliverance with a Scottish Twist
review by Maryom

"Four friends. One Weekend. Gallons of whisky. What could go wrong?" - well, just about everything it seems.

4 late-thirties, ex-university friends with a serious passion for malt whisky set off to Islay for a weekend of sampling the products from the island's many distilleries. Within minutes of leaving the ferry terminal they, or more specifically the loud-mouthed Roddy, get on the wrong side of the local police and from there everything goes downhill - rapidly! Instead of the jolly weekend they'd planned, arguments lead to an accident, the accident leads to them falling into the sort of nightmare scenario usually reserved for Hollywood movies - think of Deliverance with a Scottish twist. Will anyone survive to tell the tale?

Not everyone is going to take to these four whisky nerds or sympathise much when they land in trouble, but it's a fast paced, action-packed, roller-coaster-ride thriller which I found to be quite enjoyable, though you might be forgiven for thinking it's a "man's" book. There's not a lot of deep characterisation unless the characters are talking about the subtleties of malt whisky and then they could go on for ever! It's VERY violent and full of strong language, drug and alcohol abuse but bizarrely I find myself thinking of it as a lighthearted, enjoyable little book - perhaps I'm perverse.

I'd just like to add that I've been to Islay - and it was nothing like this!

Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Faber and Faber

Genre - action thriller

Buy Smokeheads from Amazon

Other reviews; I Meant To Read That

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