The Space Between
By Doug Johnstone
The Space Between Us by Doug Johnstone (author of the much-loved series – The Skelfs) featured recently on BBC Between The Covers, presented By Sara Cox and I am delighted to be part of the blog tour with the blurb and review, thanks to Orenda Books and Random T. Tours. Today, I have the pleasure of closing the blog tour with a review.
Lennox is a troubled teenager with no family.
Ava is eight months pregnant and fleeing her abusive husband.
Heather is a grieving mother and cancer sufferer. They don’t know each other, but when a meteor streaks over Edinburgh, all three suffer instant, catastrophic strokes …
…only to wake up the following day in hospital, miraculously recovered.
When news reaches them of an octopus-like creature washed up on the shore near where the meteor came to earth, Lennox senses that some extra-terrestrial force is at play.
With the help of Ava, Heather and a journalist, Ewan, he rescues the creature they call ‘Sandy’ and goes on the run.
But they aren’t the only ones with an interest in the alien … close behind are Ava’s husband, the police and a government unit who wants to capture the creature, at all costs. And Sandy’s arrival may have implications beyond anything anyone could imagine…
The Space Between Us is rather different from The Skelf’s series, where my reading of Doug Johnstone’s books began. This is a bit sci-fi, rather than crime, which The Skelfs is. I have to say though, for someone, like me, who only dips in and out of sci-fi, like me, this is a very good and compelling book. It is more than just sci-fi. It is more about what connects people and their lives.
The Space Between Us is set in Edinburgh and what links 3 people is that that they suffer some strange after effects after a meteor hits and an odd creature emerges. There is Lennox, a troubled teenager with no family. He is 16 and of mixed-race and is being brought up in a home. You find him around Portobello. Ava is in Longniddrey, is pregnant and trying to escape an abusive husband and Heather is grieving and has cancer. Strange streaks occur in the sky and everyone is affected and then the next day, it is as though the strokes they suffered from didn’t happen.
It is an intriguing tale that also has readers sweeping across Scotland, around and out of Edinburgh and the city centre’s surrounding areas.
It also seems to be a premise of bringing “Sandy” the alien to earth and creating compassion to those who arrive in your country, wherever they come from seems to be one of the overarching messages. It becomes a story about community and an idea that there are perhaps bigger things than humans and bigger things that you’re living through right now. It seems that in the space between us is connections and that need for connections, however they are made and communicated, as well as place that is safe and to have a sense of belonging. Each character is seems to be desiring and needing this in what is a book full of different emotions. So, as much as it is sci-fi, there is also a human story running through it.
Having read The Space Between Us for review, thanks to Orenda Books and Random T. Tours who invited me to and provided a book, I was pleasantly surprised at how good this was, even though it is not my usual genre, more a genre I dip in and out of here and there. So, ultimately it is a book I recommend to both sci-fi fans and non-sci-fi fans alike.
About the Author
Doug Johnstone is the author of fourteen previous novels, most recently Black Hearts (2022). The Big Chill (2020) was longlisted for the Theakston Crime Novel of the Year and three of his books, A Dark Matter (2020), Breakers (2019) and The Jump (2015), have been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions over the last decade, and has been an arts journalist for over twenty years.
Doug is a songwriter and musician with six albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of writers. He’s also co-founder of the Scotland Writers Football Club, and has a PhD in nuclear physics.