November 11

Crash Land – Doug Johnstone

crash-landSitting in the departure lounge of Kirkwall Airport, Finn Sullivan just wants to get off Orkney. But then he meets the mysterious and dangerous Maddie Pierce, stepping in to save her from some unwanted attention, and his life is changed forever.

Set against the brutal, unforgiving landscape of Orkney, CRASH LAND is a psychological thriller steeped in guilt, shame, lust, deception and murder.


My thanks to Laura at Faber & Faber for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour.


I love reading books set in Scotland, mainly down to the fact that I have lived, or spent time, in virtually every corner of my homeland and the locations I know so well can really lift a story. But despite having heard so many wonderful things about the Orkney Isles I have not yet ventured that far North. Now that I have read Crash Land I really want to make that journey. Doug Johnstone has made the islands sound so remote, beautiful, secluded and packed full of historical intrigue that I need to experience the place for myself…

But it is not just the location which makes Crash Land such a wonderful read – the story of Finn Sullivan’s chance encounter with Maddie Pierce (and all the consequences thereafter) is a thumpingly good and surprisingly dark page-turner.

Finn is leaving Orkney to return to his home on the Scottish mainland. He is killing time in the bar of the airport departure lounge when he spots Maddie – she is hard to miss.  Maddie is travelling alone and attracting the unwanted attention of four boorish oil workers so she moves to join Finn who she perceives to be less of a threat. The typically inclement weather delays their flight so the two get chatting and we see that Finn has become quite enamoured with Ms Pierce. However, Finn has done most of the talking and soon realises that he knows very little about Maddie.

The two board their plane and set off on a journey which will change their lives forever. What follows is a delightfully tightly plotted story where you will never quite be sure where the truth lies. Trusts will be broken, many lies told and friendships (both new and old) will be tested to their limits.

Doug Johnstone has taken a very small cast of characters and built a gripping story around them. Finn is caught up in the centre of all the troubles and will need to decide where his loyalties lie. His mental and emotional limits will be tested and he will face predicaments from his worst nightmares. Reading Finn’s story and watching him try to continue to do what he believes is the right thing was a treat – though often I got frustrated with the decisions he was making!

Maddie, was a mystery. I was never quite sure where she was going or what was driving her…Doug Johnstone dripped her story out with expert pacing and I cheered for her and booed her in equal measure.

Crash Land is a cracking read – I thoroughly enjoyed it and have no hesitation in recommending that you read it too.


Crash Land is published by Faber & Faber and is available in paperback and digital  format. You can order a copy here:


Catch the previous legs of the Tour:


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Posted November 11, 2016 by Gordon in category "Blog Tours", "From The Bookshelf