Monday, 19 August 2013

Doug Johnstone - Smokeheads

Not content with selling whisky and drinking whisky I often fill the gaps with reading about whisky, or beer, or wine (you see what I'm getting at here). I tend to dip into the Malt Whisky Yearbook and 1001 whiskies in particular but by the end of the day I usually alternate between sticking my nose in some fiction and a glass. Well I combined the two this week. It's more of a cheeky quarter-bottle of Caol Ila 12 than a weighty Distiller's Edition of Lagavulin, but I still quite enjoyed this whisky-soaked literary trip to Islay from Doug Johnstone.

It's not the sort of book that I can see winning many awards, in the end it's quite a standard 'gritty' (read: graphically violent) thriller and the characters aren't exactly that three-dimensional, but the whisky references certainly got me hooked from the start. The pace is unrelenting too, and serves to keep you engrossed. It would make a good one for summer holiday reading when the constant references to Islay in the winter might not make you feel quite so chilly. I suspect if you're not into whisky then this one would seem a bit hammy and irritating - I'd say the tasting notes are written with more grace and precision than the 'plot twists.' However, if you are into whisky I'd give it a go. I think Smokeheads is one for smokeheads*.

* Islay slang for whisky tourists apparently.

Image from Amazon so apologies for the 'look inside' stuff, I forgot to take my own photo before I passed the book on to a colleague.