It was a dreich Dunedin evening.  Very typical, although surprising after a dry year.  I’m no reader of Tartan Noir, or crime fiction at all.  However an invitation from Irish and Scottish Studies was enough for me to go.  I note our resident Scottish professor, Liam MacIlvanney pronounced the author’s name with a long ‘oo’ sound, Doog Johnstone, not Dug Johnstone as Doug is commonly pronounced.  It must be a Scottish thing.

His latest book crosses crime fiction into unknown territory, doing the school run after one of the parents goes missing.  It’s about people who have to be at-home parents because the recession means two incomes have to survive on one.  Everyday life becomes part of the mystery.  The domestic parent has to become a the gumshoe.  What would it be like the other way, where the detective also has to raise a family and hold it together?

Johnstone also knows the difference between creating empathy for an arsehole, and not sympathy.  His narrator does things that might shock a reader.  This story could be stretch some readers.  Mainstream literature bordering on New Weird Fiction perhaps?

The author has to be obsessed with a subject.  This may suggest why I haven’t tried to write.  No motive, as much as I would love to write.

He finished with a couple of his own songs accompanied on guitar.  I liked them.  They’re on the internet but I haven’t found the link.  If he was selling CDs as well as books I would have been tempted by the CD, especially if it had songs like Björk from the wreckage and The End of the Set.

Doug Johnstone , the jacket also made it to New Zealand too.

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