Sunday 10 November 2019

BLOG TOUR: Violet - SJI Holliday

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 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…

What did I think?

I first heard of Susi Holliday when she appeared on a panel at Newcastle Noir 2019; I immediately added her to my list of authors I wanted to read and Violet is the first SJI Holliday book that I have read.  It's not a creepy ghosty book of the style that made me sit up and take notice of this author, but it's spine-tingly chilling in its own very different way.

What a multi-faceted character Susi Holliday has created in Violet.  Violet is like a spark in a firework factory; you really don't want to encounter one!  There's a definite dark undercurrent and an air of mystery about what her endgame is but it's clear that there's something not quite right about her.  I really feared for Carrie's safety when Violet tagged along on Carrie's spare train ticket and couldn't help but feel that Violet was a bad influence on Carrie.  I had no idea how this would all turn out, but I suspected it would turn out badly for Carrie.

I loved the inclusion of email exchanges between Carrie and her friend Laura, who would have travelled with her if she hadn't broken her leg just before they were due to set off.  It really gives an insight into Carrie's thoughts and feelings and it's also interesting to read how we often put a positive spin on things and choose what we tell people.

What a blindingly good page-turner Violet is!  I was totally hooked by Violet's story and the darkness within her; I think if you cut her she'd be black inside.  Of course, things are never what they seem and SJI Holliday has quite a few surprises in store for the reader.  Is Violet deluded, psychotic, dangerous or all of the above?  You'll just have to read the book to find out.

Violet is a dark and disturbing page-turner that had me on the edge of my seat; it's not just a cracker of a book it's a real firecracker!  It's an unusual and outstanding book and I'm off to shop for more SJI Holliday books right now!

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:
S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a scientist, writing coach and the bestselling author of five crime novels, including the Banktoun Trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly), the festive chiller The Deaths of December and her creepy Gothic psychological thriller The Lingering. Her short story ‘Home From Home’ was published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and shortlisted for the CWA Margery Allingham Prize. Encapsulating her love of travel and claustrophobic settings, her latest novel, Violet, explores toxic friendships and the perils of talking to strangers, as well as drawing on her own journey on the Trans-Siberian Express over 10 years ago. All of her novels have been UK ebook number-one bestsellers. Susi was born and raised in Scotland and now divides her time between Edinburgh, London and as many other exciting places that she can fit in. 

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