***** 5 STARS
Meet Martha. It’s the first day of her new job as intern at Edinburgh’s The Standard. But all’s not well at the ailing newspaper, and Martha is carrying some serious baggage of her own. Put straight onto the obituary page, she takes a call from a former employee who seems to commit suicide while on the phone, something which echoes with her own troubled past. Setting in motion a frantic race around modern-day Edinburgh,The Dead Beat traces Martha’s desperate search for answers to the dark mystery of her parents’ past. Soundtracked by and interspersed with a series of gigs from the alternative music scene of her parents’ generation in the early ’90s, Doug Johnstone’s latest page-turner is a wild ride of a thriller.
Calling The Dead Beat a wild ride of a thriller is definitely a understatement, as this the new novel by Doug Johnstone is far more that that. It is one of those novels that grabs your attention from the first few pages and then takes you on a journey that will leave your emotions all over the place, have your heart racing like a marathon runner, leave you without sleep and rest and leave you with the goosebumps for days on end. You the reader will also become a wreak as you leave everything else in your life to fall apart as your soul purpose becomes reading this novel to the end. And when you have finished you will be inclined to just go back to the first page and start reading it again, as it was the damm good.
And what I hear you say makes the book so good, well to start with its the main character, this time Martha who is put through the ringer and seems to find themselves facing the worst kind of situations that can be thrown at you. Another reason is the way in which the characters interacted with each other and add to the overall story line especially in The Dead Beat as it see the reappearance of Billy Blackmore, last seen in Hit and Run who becomes a romantic interest for Martha. I personally love the way in which Doug Johnstone brings the character back stories to life and makes you feel very much a part of the action that is taking part in his novels and I also like that he incorporates real life problems that can affect people like family issues, depression. It just leaves me to say carry on the Good work Doug Johnstone, can’t wait to see what you will come up with next.
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Faber & Faber (1 May 2014)