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Published Date: 26th November 2018

Available in


16 March 2019
16 May 2019



A pulsatingly tense, deeply moving psychological thriller from the Number One BESTSELLING Scottish author of Fault Lines


‘A cracking and highly original thriller. Johnstone never fails to deliver’ Mark Billingham


‘It’s as psychologically rich as it is harrowing. I’ve come to expect nothing less from Doug Johnstone, one of the genre’s premiere writers’ Megan Abbott


Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings, he’s also trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addict mum.
On a job, his brother Barry stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead, but that’s just the beginning of their nightmare, because the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt.
With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in devastating danger, Tyler meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house, and he thinks she may just be his salvation … unless he drags her down too.
A pulsatingly tense psychological thriller, Breakers is also a breathtakingly brutal, beautiful and deeply moving story of a good kid in the wrong family, from one of Scotland’s finest crime writers.


Not published till May but this may be Doug Johnstone’s best book yet. An unsparing yet sympathetic depiction of Edinburgh’s ignored underclass, with terrific characterisation. Tense, pacy, filmic’ Ian Rankin


‘Doug’s books are what the phrase ‘no filler, all thriller’ was invented for. His no-nonsense style is tight and taut but still carries emotional depth. A tough, gritty and effective ride into the dark side of Edinburgh’ Douglas Skelton


‘I absolutely loved Breakers, and not just because it was short! (I’m 3/4 of the way through a massive fantasy book that’s good but very long, and Breakers was a great, well, break from it!) Doug does characters so well, and this cast are perfectly drawn. The tale is both horrifying and uplifting, and one of those books I looked forward to picking up each time I had a moment to read … I’ve found of late that I’m not enjoying some books simply because I feel I’m reading them out of a sense of obligation, rather than because I’ve chosen them myself. Nothing quite sucks the joy out of reading than that – it’s a bit like being back at school and wading through the classics for A level English Lit. A book has to be very good indeed to break through my current malaise, and Breakers certainly did. I hope it does as well as it deserves to. I’ll be singing its praises come publication day’ James Oswald


‘Absolutely loved Breakers by @doug_johnstone. Pacy, harrowing and occasionally brutal, it’s a stunning thriller about poisonous families and one decent kid’s desperate attempt to do the right thing. Had me in tears at the end. Couldn’t recommend more. Oh god’

Paddy Magrane


‘I thought Fault Lines was good, but Breakers is off the scale amazing! Stayed up almost all night to finish it. Absolutely brilliant’

Louise Voss


‘Oh. My. God. This was sooo good. Read it in two days. Gripping, dark, fast, but still somehow full of heart’ Louise Beech




Doug Johnstone is an author, journalist and musician based in Edinburgh. He’s had eight novels published, most recently Fault Lines. His previous novel, The Jump, was a finalist for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Several of his other novels have been award winners and bestsellers, and he’s had short stories published in numerous anthologies and literary magazines. His work has been praised by the likes of Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Irvine Welsh. Several of his novels have been optioned for film and television. Doug is also a Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellow. He’s worked as an RLF Fellow at Queen Margaret University, taught creative writing at Strathclyde University and William Purves Funeral Directors. He mentors and assesses manuscripts for The Literary Consultancy and regularly tutors at Moniack Mhor writing retreat. Doug has released seven albums in various bands, and is the drummer for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He also reviews books for The Big Issue magazine, is player-manager for Scotland Writers Football Club and has a PhD in nuclear physics. Follow him on Twitter @doug_johnstone and visit his website:

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