This is a rollicking and hugely enjoyable contemporary novel describing the outrageous mid-winter tour around Scotland of a group of musicians called 'The Ossians'. The band's driving force is twenty-four-year-old lead singer, Connor - intelligent but self-destructive, pretentious but charismatic, gloriously opinionated and with an extraordinary ability to get beaten up. The band is on the verge of signing a major record deal before setting off on a two-week tour of the cities and hinterland of Scotland, a tour expected to culminate triumphantly in a defining Glasgow gig.On their travels there is a seagull massacre, hapless drug deals, a mysterious stalker, a radioactive beach, a bomb-testing range, an epileptic fit, a town full of riotous Russian submariners, deadly snowstorms, epiphanies, regular beatings and random shootings. The "Ossians" is both hilariously readable and satirically astute, a story of rock'n'roll obsession as well as a search for identity and a sense of community, written with delicious insight, pace and brio.
Doug Johnstone is a writer, journalist and musician and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh's seaside, with his wife and son. His debut novel, Tombstoning, was published in 2006. He has a PhD in experimental nuclear physics and worked designing airborne radars before becoming a writer. He plays various instruments and sings in a band called Northern Alliance, which has released four albums to critical acclaim.