Substitute by Susi Holliday – Review.

About The Book

Three people live. Three people die. You make the choice.

Like any mother, Chrissie wants to protect her family. She would do anything to keep them safe. So when a mysterious stranger turns up at her door, offering to prevent the deaths of the people she loves, it sounds too good to be true. The only problem: she must choose someone to die in their place. A substitute.

When her daughter Holly has a terrible accident, Chrissie has no option but to enter the programme. In that horrifying moment, she would do anything to save her. But even after Holly makes a miraculous recovery, Chrissie is convinced it’s just a coincidence. After all, who can really control the laws of life and death?

But as the dangers to her family escalate and her chosen substitutes begin to disappear, Chrissie finds herself in an underworld of hidden laboratories and secretive doctors. And the consequences of playing by their rules are far deadlier than she ever imagined…

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. I can always rely on Susi Holliday to entertain me with one of her novels. They are original with a storyline that I know will always have me reading one more chapter.

A dual time framed novel, in the 1980s we have two scientists who have differing views on how their work should be handled. Excited and fearful but maybe not fearful enough. These two are completely out of their depth despite their differing passion for wealth and knowledge. And in modern day there is Chrissie, young mother who struggles with loneliness but is devoted to her young daughter Holly and insists on family time where her and her husband Nathan take Holly to the park and just spend time together without their phones. Sounds ideal, but you just know that nothing is as it seems. It doesn’t take long for this seemingly happy family unit to be torn apart by the work of the scientists years earlier.

How do you handle knowing that you have the option of choosing who has to die to protect the ones you love? And then realising that you may have chosen incorrectly. Both to live or die! It is a feeling that made me slightly uncomfortable. And despite feeling relief at being able to take advantage of the offer Chrissie also felt a lot of guilt.

Whenever I read a novel there are always characters I dislike but it was different in this book. There were ones I wasn’t keen on initially but the more I read and realised what happened to them I was more inclined to feel sympathetic. Mistakes made mainly due to the thrill of wealth and power, but which had catastrophic results. And there was also a character whose actions I misunderstood throughout most of the novel and then saw that person completely differently towards the end. 

I found Substitute a great read, I really hope that none of the fictional discoveries become reality.

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

When Amelia is invited to an all-expenses-paid retreat on a private island, the mysterious offer is too good to refuse. Along with six other strangers, she’s told they’re here to test a brand-new product for Timeo Technologies. But the guests’ excitement soon turns to terror when the real reason for their summons becomes clear.

Each guest has a guilty secret. And when they’re all forced to wear a memory-tracking device that reveals their dark and shameful deeds to their fellow guests, there’s no hiding from the past. This is no luxury retreat—it’s a trap they can’t get out of.

As the clock counts down to the lavish end-of-day party they’ve been promised, injuries and in-fighting split the group. But with no escape from the island—or the other guests’ most shocking secrets—Amelia begins to suspect that her only hope for survival is to be the last one standing. Can she confront her own dark past to uncover the truth—before it’s too late to get out?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Amelia is part of a group of people who have been invited to an event. None of them have any idea where they are going or what they will be doing. They also don’t know anything about any of their travel companions. Most of them have the public image that they want to glorify and they all have something that they want to try and keep hidden. The most exciting part of this novel for me was when and how their secret would be revealed. And all of their secrets made me think about each of them differently. Some with pity and some with revulsion. The rivalries and friendships made in the small group were perfect. I could really sense the tension between them, especially the women.

It’s an unusual novel that I struggle to assign to just one genre. There is a crime element, but also Sci- fi, tech, and suspense. The tech was just enough for me. It didn’t go over my head and was just about the right amount to make me wary. 

When I read a book by this author I know that it will always be a little different. No two books have been the same. What I didn’t expect was to find some thoroughly unlikeable characters or rediscovering my childhood with the references to The Famous Five. But you have no need to be concerned if you are not familiar with that series. This novel is completely original and I think it will be a long time before I read anything like it again.

Susi will be one of the authors who is taking part in December First Monday Crime. Alongside her will be Sam Carrington, Deborah Massey and A. K. Turner. Join in the fun at 7.30pm on Monday 7th December on Facebook.

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday – Review.

About The Book

When Amelia is invited to an all-expenses-paid retreat on a private island, the mysterious offer is too good to refuse. Along with six other strangers, she’s told they’re here to test a brand-new product for Timeo Technologies. But the guests’ excitement soon turns to terror when the real reason for their summons becomes clear.

Each guest has a guilty secret. And when they’re all forced to wear a memory-tracking device that reveals their dark and shameful deeds to their fellow guests, there’s no hiding from the past. This is no luxury retreat—it’s a trap they can’t get out of.

As the clock counts down to the lavish end-of-day party they’ve been promised, injuries and in-fighting split the group. But with no escape from the island—or the other guests’ most shocking secrets—Amelia begins to suspect that her only hope for survival is to be the last one standing. Can she confront her own dark past to uncover the truth—before it’s too late to get out?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Amelia is part of a group of people who have been invited to an event. None of them have any idea where they are going or what they will be doing. They also don’t know anything about any of their travel companions. Most of them have the public image that they want to glorify and they all have something that they want to try and keep hidden. The most exciting part of this novel for me was when and how their secret would be revealed. And all of their secrets made me think about each of them differently. Some with pity and some with revulsion. The rivalries and friendships made in the small group were perfect. I could really sense the tension between them, especially the women.

It’s an unusual novel that I struggle to assign to just one genre. There is a crime element, but also Sci- fi, tech, and suspense. The tech was just enough for me. It didn’t go over my head and was just about the right amount to make me wary. 

When I read a book by this author I know that it will always be a little different. No two books have been the same. What I didn’t expect was to find some thoroughly unlikeable characters or rediscovering my childhood with the references to The Famous Five. But you have no need to be concerned if you are not familiar with that series. This novel is completely original and I think it will be a long time before I read anything like it again.

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.