March 5, 2021

Breakers – Doug Johnstone

It’s my turn on the Breakers Blog Tour!  Thanks to Orenda Books, Doug Johnstone and Anne Cater for having me along!

Set in and around Edinburgh, Breakers is about Tyler and his family.  Living in a Niddrie high-rise flat with his little sister Bean (or Bethany ) and his addict mother, he is living a very sad existence.  Forced into housebreaking by his older half-brother Barry and half-sister Kelly, Tyler longs for an easier life.  When Barry kills a homeowner on a job (who turns out to be the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest hardman, Derek Holt), Tyler and his family are plunged into even more turmoil.  A chance meeting with privately educated schoolgirl, Flick and her bright red beetle is a tiny positive in Tyler’s life.

Breakers is a really easy book to get sucked into and it’s not too hard or long a read, I managed to finish it in about 4 hours over 3 evenings.  I do have a little niggle though – I found one idea, which is central to the whole story, a little hard to believe – I’m pretty sure all Edinburgh criminals will know where the biggest baddie of them all lives and avoid that house as a target for burglary?? 

I really felt for Tyler as the central character, he’s been completely failed by the system and has fallen through the net that was supposed to catch him and Bean.  His reason to exist is his little sister; he feeds her, takes her to school, baths her, reads her bedtime story and generally keeps her going.  His mother is an alcoholic and heroin addict, living for her next score and essentially Tyler keeps her going as well.  He makes sure she’s safe when she’s high and cleans up after her when she’s on a come down.  Barry and Kelly are also victims of their circumstances.  Barry appears to have turned to a life of crime following in his fathers (now deceased) footsteps and Kelly, seeing the path her mother has chosen appears to think a life on the thieve is better.  And (slight spoiler)… sleeping with your sibling is not cool, no matter what Game of Thrones tells you.  That’s right, Barry and Kelly are lovers as well as brother and sister… the whole family is, pardon the pun, fucked.

I really enjoyed Breakers, it’s a great wee read – highly recommended.

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