Violet by SJI Holliday – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. I see many thrillers described as psychological and often I’m disappointed. I’m happy to say that I wasn’t with Violet, my new favourite novel by this author. It had it all. Violet was an unreliable, unsettling and at times creepy narrator, and Carrie her new friend and travel companion has just become her new obsession.

But Carrie also has issues, and not just the ones that involve heavy drinking and drug taking. Most of what you learn about her is through her emails home to family and the best friend who couldn’t be with her. It is these that also show what she really thinks about Violet and also what occurred back home.

Everything about this novel works. The setting in countries that are completely different to the UK. The descriptions of the customs, some of which were really eerie. And the increasingly bizarre behaviour of Violet that had me wondering what she would do next.

It is very clever with characters that scared me at times, but strangely ones I could also feel sympathy for. As the story progressed there was insight into why they behaved like they did, especially with Violet.

As I read this novel I also enjoyed seeing daily photographs on the author’s website of her trip that inspired the novel.

Violet by SJI Holliday – Review

About The Book

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. I see many thrillers described as psychological and often I’m disappointed. I’m happy to say that I wasn’t with Violet, my new favourite novel by this author. It had it all. Violet was an unreliable, unsettling and at times creepy narrator, and Carrie her new friend and travel companion has just become her new obsession.

But Carrie also has issues, and not just the ones that involve heavy drinking and drug taking. Most of what you learn about her is through her emails home to family and the best friend who couldn’t be with her. It is these that also show what she really thinks about Violet and also what occurred back home.

Everything about this novel works. The setting in countries that are completely different to the UK. The descriptions of the customs, some of which were really eerie. And the increasingly bizarre behaviour of Violet that had me wondering what she would do next.

It is very clever with characters that scared me at times, but strangely ones I could also feel sympathy for. As the story progressed there was insight into why they behaved like they did, especially with Violet.

As I read this novel I also enjoyed seeing daily photographs on the author’s website of her trip that inspired the novel.

The Lingering by Susi Holliday – Blog Tour Review.

 

The Lingering front FINAL

About The Book

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.
When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…
At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Lingering is a book that falls into two of my favourite genres, crime and ghost fiction.
When Ali and Jack arrive at Rosalind House they are understandably apprehensive. They have left everything behind so they could move into the commune. But things aren’t as they seem. Ali and Jack have a secret and there are others who live in the house, not just the ones who are part of the commune.
There are three different narrators, Ali, Angela, who is a ghost hunter and Smeaton the owner and leader of the commune. There are also excerpts from a diary that reveal what happened when the home used be an asylum.
Events that happened in the past, the witch trials, the treatments at the asylum and the lives of some of the inhabitants are revealed steadily. There is nothing that suddenly hits you. There are some very sinister occurrences, particularly involving water but the most shocking moments involved what was happening in modern-day. It was these that left me feeling more on edge and a little chilled.
I love Susi’s writing, her imagination and her willingness to prove that she can write amazing fiction in more than one genre. I first read a ghost story from her a few years before she was published so I was thrilled to read a full length ghostly novel. The setting in an old asylum is perfect, every time I have seen one, either in real life or in local newspaper reports about one near where I live, makes me think of the tales associated with them and what might be lingering. A brilliant novel which I read in one day. It also has a cover that sent me dizzy every time I looked at it.

Lingering blog poster 2018 (1) (1)

The Deaths of December by Susi Holliday – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

The hunt is on for a serial killer in this thrilling festive crime novel

It looks like a regular advent calendar.
Until DC Becky Greene starts opening doors…and discovers a crime scene behind almost every one.
The police hope it’s a prank. Because if it isn’t, a murderer has just surfaced – someone who’s been killing for twenty years.
But why now? And why has he sent it to this police station?
As the country relaxes into festive cheer, Greene and DS Eddie Carmine must race against time to catch the killer. Because there are four doors left, and four murders will fill them…
It’s shaping up to be a deadly little Christmas.

My Review

Having read Susi’s previous series, The Banktoun trilogy and a handful of short stories I was looking forward to reading her latest novel. I hope that this book will be the start of a new series because it has great potential.
The investigation starts when an advent calendar arrives by post to the police station. But this is a calender with a difference, behind each door is the photograph of a murder scene and previously unconnected cases now appear otherwise.
There are four narrators – Eddie,Becky, Carly and the photographer. Eddie is a cop with a conscience who still feels regret over a cold case from years ago. As soon as he sees one of the photos he initially feels remorse but then hopes that he can finally find closure. Becky is new to the team and eager to prove herself. There is indication of trouble in her past but no details are given. Carly has major issues, her marriage is on the rocks and she is a heavy drinker. The photographer is on a mission, clever but increasingly desperate.
This was a book that was very easy to read and impossible to put down. I could feel the desire to find who was responsible for the murders as quickly as possible. Preferably before the break for Christmas. At times intimidating, it made me think how dangerous certain everyday things could be. I’m not saying more about that but I am glad that my house number is what it is!
One of the more convincing parts of the novel were the visits to the parent of the cold case victim. The grief and anger felt by the parent as well as the police was how I imagine it to be.
It’s a very readable novel with a case that is different that has to be solved by a team that are hard-working, and have a good team spirit. There was no officer who didn’t belong or begrudge another’s success in the team. I found it very refreshing.

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