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Smokeheads Kindle Edition
Four friends, one weekend, gallons of whisky. What could go wrong?
Driven by amateur whisky-nut Adam, four late-thirties ex-university mates are heading to Islay - the remote Scottish island world famous for its single malts - with a wallet full of cash, a stash of coke and a serious thirst.
Over a weekend soaked in the finest cask strength spirit, they meet young divorcee Molly, who Adam has a soft spot for, her little sister Ash who has all sorts of problems and Molly's ex-husband Joe, a control freak who also happens to be the local police. As events spiral out of control, they are all thrown into a nightmare that gets worse at every turn.
A wild trip to the Scottish Highlands, Doug Johnstone's debut on the Faber crime list is a classic violent thriller, doused with black humour.
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About the Author
- ASIN : B004G5Z1KO
- Publisher : Faber & Faber; Main edition (3 March 2011)
- Language : English
- File size : 914 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 304 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 538,658 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top review from Australia
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Smokeheads is a pacy story - perhaps not entirely credible - but is an amusing short read. It is quite violent and that may not be apparent from the cover blurb but it is really nothing that fans of tartan noir can't cope with. There's plenty of atmospheric scenery - peat bogs, rugged coastline, Bowmore's round church, abandoned villages and all. This makes up a little for the lack of deep characterization. The Edinburgh hedge fund manager, the whisky shop assistant, the tour guide, the bar maid and the dodgy policemen are just a little bit hackneyed.
Where Smokeheads scores is the understanding of the psyche of a Scottish island. It's a community where people don't necessarily like one another; they don't always help one another but they will go to any length to avoid interference from outside. Hence, the end of the action is not the end of the novel - fully one third of it is dedicated to trying to find a face saving way out for all concerned.
Where Smokeheads is less successful is that it wears its research quite heavily. There are repeated references to whisky tasting notes, almost all dredged up from Jim Murray's Whisky Bible. There is a geography lesson to teach us where the different distilleries are and some of the favourite distillery tour guide phrases are trotted out. There's even a detailed explanation of Laphroaig Distillery's "Friends" loyalty programme. Even for a whisky nerd like myself, it left the dialogue sounding stilted and pretentious.
Oh, and for future reference, a whisky barrel's bung is in the middle, not the end. If you want to remove the end of a barrel, the only way to do it is to take off the metal hoops so the staves come apart. The end won't just pop out if you pull it.
Top reviews from other countries
The book is gritty and unfiltered. The language and attitudes between the four friends who are on a distillery visit is coarse, but conveys very well the intense levels of rudeness than bloke friends operate at. The female characters offer their own strength to the story, and represent more than just window-dressing. The only characters I wasn't too keen on were the "bampot villains". I felt they were a little over-egged, although their extreme villainy does impart a good note of tension to the tale.
I really enjoyed reading it. So much so that when it ended I wished it had been longer.
I also hoped the final pair would do the decent thing, returning from Port Ellen.
My grandmother was born and brought up in Cragabus in the Oa and I have visited many, many times over the years.
I wasn't too impressed with the storyline around the Ardview pub in Port Ellen - it's never been a favourite haunt of mine.
Story-wise, there's plenty of action, sometimes a bit unbelievable. I finished the book which is a good sign.
Well worth a read if you like Islay and the taste of malt Whisky!