Book Title: The Jump
Author: Doug Johnstone
Genres: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, British Literature
Date Read: 07/20/16
Pub Date: 08/09/16 (US publication)
Struggling to come to terms with the suicide of her teenage son, Ellie lives in the shadows of the Forth Road Bridge, lingering on its footpaths and swimming in the waters below. One day she talks down another suicidal teenager, Sam, and sees for herself a shot at redemption, the chance to atone for her son’s death. But even with the best intentions, she can’t foresee the situation she’s falling headlong into — a troubled family, with some very dark secrets of their own.
The Jump is a hugely moving contemporary thriller, and a stunning portrait of an unlikely heroine.
Doug Johnstone is a new-to-me author, and after reading The Jump I’m intrigued to check out the rest of his work! This was a quick read (only 268 pages with short chapters), which made it possible to read this entire book in one sitting. I see where the blurbs get the thought of this being a “genre bending” story, as it seems to morph from one thing to another as the book progresses. This is the perfect read for lovers of domestic suspense with a hint of crime fiction.
“A salute at the threshold of the North Sea of my mind,
And a nod to the boredom that drove me here to face the tide,
And I swim.”
– ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’ Frightened Rabbit
As I stated above, this was an interesting little read. Part character study, part light mystery (I say light not in content but in the unfolding), it made for a surprisingly satisfying tale. In regards to the mystery, this isn’t really a “whodunnit” or one you are reading to solve; it unfolds quickly and leaves no red herrings as to the who and why. Usually I’m picky with my shorter books, as it can feel rushed and unfinished, but this one did a fine job of packing in enough content to feel full. I enjoyed how the story would sway between the mystery at hand and Ellie’s personal struggles at home with her unrelenting grief. I wouldn’t call the ending tidy, which for me was a strong point, as there are a couple of aspects left without closure, but again, a satisfying ending.
My one concern (and completely a personal one with no criticism toward the author and his writing) was of Ellie and Sam’s relationship. I’ll preface by stating I have never mothered a boy of any age; I have 2 girls who’s drama is still limited to “She licked me oreo”. That being said, I felt slightly uncomfortable while reading the scenes between the two when they are in private. Do mother’s act this way toward teenage boys? I mistakenly assumed this relationship would turn to something inappropriate, but it never did. I can appreciate this part of the story though; it drew me in and made me think a little harder and deeper at something I likely never would have noticed otherwise.
Overall, this was a great, suspenseful little read! I’ve heard great things about the author’s other books and cannot wait to get my hands on them. This is a release for the US, as its already been published in the UK. I’ll be a stop on Doug’s blog tour August 5 and have a very unique post for you all that I cannot wait to share! 🙂
*Many thanks to the author and Faber&Faber for my copy in exchange for an honest and fair review.