Thursday 19 May 2016

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

When the past catches up, do you run and hide or stand and fight?
When a woman is brutally attacked by an escaped inmate from a nearby psychiatric hospital, Sergeant Davie Gray must track him down before he strikes again. But Gray is already facing a series of deaths connected to legal highs and a local fairground, as well as dealing with his girlfriend Marie's increasingly bizarre behaviour.
As Gray investigates the crimes, he comes to realise that there has to be a link between Marie and the man on the run. It's the only thing that makes any sense. But he also knows that if he confronts her with the truth, he risks losing everything.
As a terrified Marie is pulled back into a violent past she though she'd escaped, she makes a life-changing decision. And when events come to a head at a house party on Willow Walk, can Gray piece together the puzzle in time to stop the sleepy town of Banktoun being rocked by tragedy once again? 

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday was published by Black & White Publishing as an ebook on 5 May 2016, the paperback is released on 10 June 2016. Willow Walk is the second in the Banktoun trilogy, the first, Black Wood was published in March 2015, and I reviewed it here on Random Things in August last year.

Susi Holliday takes her readers back to the small Scottish town of Banktoun, the setting for her first novel Black Wood which I thought was incredibly clever and very well written, I've been looking forward to my return visit for some time.

Don't expect a gentle entrance to this story, the prologue is shocking, hard hitting and so so dark. It leaves you gasping for breath and desperate to know what has led to these shocking events - an inventive and clever way of hooking in the reader from the very first paragraph.

Marie has lived in Banktoun for many years, she arrived as a young girl with a background that she's never told anyone about. She's been fairly happy over the years, she has friends and is in the very
early stages of a relationship with local policeman Sergeant Davie Gray. Something is bothering Marie though, she's been feeling uneasy lately, as though someone is watching her. Is someone watching her?

Davie has been called out to view the body of a young woman found murdered. He is dreading what he may see when he arrives. Thankfully, it's not Marie, but some other unfortunate woman. Now, Davie has a murder to deal with, as well as trying to get to the bottom of a spate of recent deaths caused by legal highs ... and a psychiatric patient has escaped from a nearby hospital.

Susi Holliday's writing is so so dark, there is an air of unease and foreboding that almost seeps through the pages and into the air around as you read. She has very cleverly interwoven all the threads to create a sinister, but incredibly compelling story that is truly gripping.

Characters with problems and flaws star alongside characters who are downright evil and warped and together they play out an absolute cracker of a thriller. The tension is almost painful at times, the themes and issues are serious and relevant and the small town setting perfectly hosts the excellent plot.

Prepared to be creeped out by some fantastic writing and some surprising twists. Willow Walk is a fabulous follow up to Black Wood, I'm really looking forward to finding out what is in store for Banktoun and its residents in the next book.

My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

SJI Holliday grew up in Haddington, East Lothian. She spent many years working in her family's newsagent and pub before going off to study microbiology and statistics at university. She has worked as a statistician in the pharmaceutical industry for over sixteen years, but it was on a six-month round-the-world trip that she took with her husband ten years ago that she rediscovered her passion for writing.
Her first novel, Black Wood, was published in 2015.

You can find out more at
Find her Author page on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter @SJIHolliday


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