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...

**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

'The main characters, their lives and their struggles, are portrayed very vividly. I was straight into this, just like a thriller' Ivo Graham on Between the Covers


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...


'All the makings of a film... such relatable characters' Sunetra Sarker on Between the Covers

'So readable and accessible... I was really rooting for the characters' Alan Davies on Between the Covers

'A gateway book to SciFi... I loved it' Sara Cox on Between the Covers

'A 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

'Prioritising pace, tension and high stakes... a plea for empathy, compassion and perspective... shot through with vivid characters and a sense of wonder' Herald Scotland

'An entertaining, fast-paced story of first contact... an emotionally engaging read' Guardian

'A gloriously hopeful story and a perfect road trip movie just waiting to be made... ' James Oswald

'An adrenaline-filled ride of a novel, laced with empathy and understanding' Rachelle Atalla

'Pay attention, Steven Spielberg! This could be your next film' Marnie Riches

'Clever and unusual... I was on a journey with these characters, and completely transfixed' Susi Holliday

'A mesmerising tale of wonder and hope' Marion Todd

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'


'High stakes, high adrenaline and somehow so gentle and moving'

'I don't think I'll ever forget these characters'

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Additional Info

  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Disabled
  • Print Length: 322 Pages
  • File Size: 1,462 KB

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