Sunday, 13 October 2019

Violet by SJI Holliday @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks #Violet




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…

A tense and twisted psychological thriller about obsession, manipulation and toxic friendships, Violet also reminds us that there's a reason why mother told us not to talk to strangers...





Violet by SJI Holliday was published by Orenda Books as an ebook on 14 September 2019 and will be released in paperback on 14 November 2019.

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of SJI Holliday's writing. I've been reading her for years and the quality of her writing is always incredible.
Her books published by Orenda are a little different to her earlier works, and I adored the first Orenda book; The Lingering. I've been looking forward to Violet for a long time.

I practically inhaled this book in one sitting. I've had a  miserable couple of weeks suffering with a nasty chest infection and Violet has really helped me through. The startling and compelling story kept my mind from my cough and swept me off along the Trans-Siberian Express.

This is the story of toxic relationships. Not just the female friendship either; as the story progresses, the reader discovers that both of our main characters are so much more than they appear, and bringing them together in this fast paced and clever story really was a touch of genius.

When Carrie and Violet first meet, in a Bejing hotel, it appears just meant to be. Carrie's friend Laura broke her ankle before their planned trip and Violet has been dumped by her boyfriend Sam. Carrie has a spare ticket for the Trans-Siberian Express; Violet needs a ticket.
Perfect! They can travel together. Two young women, a similar age, out for some fun.What could possibly go wrong?

The reader accompanies the two girls as they set out on their adventure. It's not an easy journey and there were times when I, as a fifty-something woman, wanted to scream at them to STOP! Stop talking to strangers, and drinking so much. Stop smoking strange pipes and taking risks. Their total neglect of self care and their risk-taking is incredible and adds a tension to the story that is palpable.

The story is told, in the main, by Violet. However, we can never be quite sure just how truthful Violet is; is she even actually called Violet? As she lets little things slip about her past, we begin to realise that Carrie really could be in a lot of danger ....... but ...... do we trust Carrie either?
Nestled in amongst Violet's narration, the author include snippets from email conversations that Carrie has with her friend Laura. Whilst on first glance, these messages don't appear to say much, on closer inspection, they reveal so much more than expected.

I realise that I've not said much about the actual plot of Violet.
It's the story of a meeting, a journey and a explosive and unexpected relationship. It's dark and sometimes a little bit grimy; I felt as though I needed a wash after days of train travel, drugs, alcohol and dirty sex!  It's an exploration into the damaged mind, obsession and manipulation and will shock, and possibly horrify the reader at times.

The setting is glorious, the pace is exquisite. Violet is original, chilling and quite quite perfect.



S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a pharmaceutical statistician by day and a crime and horror fan by night. Her short stories have been published in many places and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize with her story ‘Home from Home’, which was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in spring 2017. 

She is the bestselling author of the creepy and claustrophobic Banktoun trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly) featuring the much-loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and has dabbled in festive crime with the critically acclaimed The Deaths of December
Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, which she loved writing due to her fascination and fear of ghosts. She is proud to be one of The Slice Girls has been described by David Mark as 'Dark as a smoker's lung.' 

She divides her time between Edinburgh and London and you will find her at crime-fiction events in the UK and abroad.

Follow Susi on Twitter @SJIHolliday or visit her website sjiholliday.com





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