Stuart Johnstone

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Stuart Johnstone
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Johnstone in January 2019
Born (1977-08-16) 16 August 1977 (age 46)
Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland
GenreCrime fiction
Notable worksSergeant Don Colyear crime series: Out in the cold [1]. Six Scary Stories, a horror anthology edited by Stephen King [2].

Stuart Johnstone (born 16 August 1977) is a Scottish crime writer and author of the Sergeant Don Colyear crime series [3] . He is based in Edinburgh. In addition to crime fiction, Stuart also writes young adult, dystopian and horror stories.

Early Life

Johnstone was born in Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. He spent his early years in Dalmally, a small Scottish village in Argyle and Bute. After losing his father in a tragic car accident, Stuart moved with his family to Glasgow before later settling in Livingston, West Lothian. He was educated at St Andrews primary school and Inveralmond Community High School. Stuart Johnstone returned to Glasgow, briefly in 1997 and has been living in Edinburgh since 2010.


After a short period working in banking, Stuart Johnstone joined the then Strathclyde Police, posted to N Division  - North Lanarkshire, just outside of Glasgow. After 10 years as a police officer, he left the force and completed a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature degree at The Open University while running a little shop for dogs in Stockbridge, Edinburgh. During this time and based on his experiences as a police officer, Johnstone wrote The Gospel According to John, a short story published by Freight Books in Gutter Magazine [4]. For this work, Johnstone was selected as an 'Emerging Edinburgh Writer' by the UNESCO City of Literature Trust in 2015 and appeared at the Edinburgh International Book Festival that year [5] [6]. After earning a 1st class honour’s BA degree, Johnstone continued his education at The Open University, completing a Master of Arts in Creative Writing in 2020.

Johnstone's big break came after being short-listed in a competition run by The Guardian newspaper in collaboration with Hodder and Stoughton publishing [7] [8], which saw more than 900+ entries. The selected stories resulted in the publication of Six Scary Stories, a horror anthology curated and introduced by Stephen King and published by Hodder and Stoughton in the UK and by Cemetery Dance Publications in the US on August 25, 2016 [9] [10].

Stuart Johnstone's debut novel Out in the cold, published by Allison & Busby in 2020, was inspired by a disturbing incident from his time in the police [1]. Out in the cold is the first part of Johnstone’s crime novel series and is set in the remote Scottish Highlands and features Sergeant Don Colyear, where he investigates a string of teenage disappearances and a mysterious murder [11].

In the media


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Out in the cold, the first book of Sergeant Don Colyear's crime series".
  2. "Six Scary Stories, selected and presented by Stephen King".
  3. "Stuart Johnstone's book on Amazon".
  4. "The Gospel According to John published in Gutter Magazine #14".
  5. "Tweet from the City of Literature featuring Stuart Johnstone at the Edinburgh International Book Festival's Story Shop".
  6. "Stuart Johnstone reading an extract The Gospel According to John at the Edinburgh International Book Festival".
  7. "The Guardian article on Stephen King's short story competition".
  8. "Stephen King picks winner of Guardian short story contest".
  9. "Six Scary Stories selected and introduced by Stephen King".
  10. "Goodreads's readers review of La Mort De L'Amant ( Stephen King's Six Scary Stories)".
  11. "Out in the cold synopsis at Allison & Busby Publisher's website".

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