Blogtour – The Space Between Us – Doug Johnstone

When three people suffer strokes after seeing dazzling lights over Edinburgh, then awake completely recovered, they’re convinced their ordeal is connected to the alien creature discovered on a nearby beach… an adrenaline-soaked, deeply humane, life-affirming first-contact novel from one of Scotland’s most revered authors…

Connecting will change everything…

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…

Book Information: Print Length: 299 pages. Publisher: Orenda Books. Publication Date: 2 March 2023

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.

**Selected for BBC 2 Between the Covers 2023**

‘All the drive, curiosity and wonder of his crime and mystery novels … science fiction gains a new author’ Derek B Miller

‘If you read one life-affirming book this year, make sure it’s this one’ Nina Pottell, Prima

‘A sci-fi novel that is as moving as it is magical and mysterious. Doug Johnstone has hit it out of the park again’ Mark Billingham

‘A delicious, demanding departure from Doug Johnstone’ Val McDermid

‘A gloriously hopeful story and a perfect road trip movie just waiting to be made … I can’t recommend this highly enough’ James Oswald

‘An adrenaline-filled ride of a novel, laced with empathy and understanding for our instinctual need to connect’ Rachelle Atalla

‘Johnstone’s mesmeric story artfully puts Scotland centre stage in a sci-fi drama that is as much about the smallness of mankind and the importance of kinship as it is about ET needing to phone home. Pay attention, Steven Spielberg! This could be your next film’ Marnie Riches

‘A clever and unusual read … I was on a journey with these characters, and completely transfixed’ Susi Holliday

‘Doug Johnstone held me spellbound with this mesmerising tale of wonder and hope’ Marion Todd

‘A heart-warming, fast-paced, often tense look at friendships that surpass all boundaries, and an exploration of the very basic need for connection and a place to belong … divine’ Jen Med’s Book Reviews

What readers are saying


‘I wish I could adequately convey how much I loved this book’

‘A beautiful story … it brought me to tears’

‘A masterpiece … compassionate, full of love and hope’

‘An out-of-this-world, mesmerising first-contact story about the striking importance and impact of true connection’


‘High stakes, high adrenaline and somehow so gentle and moving. This is one of the most beautiful, extraordinary books I’ve ever read’

‘I don’t think I’ll ever forget these characters’

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