YAY! You’re going to love this one! One helluva page-turner and perhaps one of the best psychological thrillers released this year. I’m privileged to be part of the blog tour for Violet by SJI Holliday. With such a thrilling setting and great characters, who wouldn’t be excited by this fabulous book and its cover? Quotes from Ian Rankin, Liz Nugent and the Guardian make it a must read for 2019.
When two young women – strangers – end up sharing a cabin on the Trans-Siberian Express, a strange friendship develops, one that can only have one ending … a nerve-shattering psychological thriller from bestselling author SJI Holliday
When Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, 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, nerve-shattering 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…
What a nail-biter of a novel! The prologue is terrifying, definitely my idea of a nightmare, and sets the mood for the rest of the ride.
‘Looks can be deceiving’ but there is nothing is curious as two girls on a backpacking trip, both with their own secrets. The book opens with a young woman sitting outside the Beijing train station, abandoned by her boyfriend and missing her rucksack. Things are looking grim. Alone, she needs a friend, and the Beijing International Hotel offers one such possibility in the bar. Over the clink of glasses and laughter, Carrie and Violet appear to have much in common. Having parted ways with best friends and boyfriends, they are free to enjoy each other’s company. One has a ticket the other wants and with a little maneuvering, they are both traveling on the Trans Siberia Express. What makes this book intriguing is not only the setting but the unique agendas each girl has.
Even though the haze of alcohol and drugs, and bad decisions, things happen when you least expect it. Tiny cracks start to appear in their relationship as they journey from China to Moscow. There are so many twists and turns, and as hangovers kick in when the buzz wears off, there is jealousy, unrest, secrecy and murder. All of which make up an excellent thriller with a pace that hurtles along at break-neck speed. I can’t give away too much detail about the plot, you’ll just have to read the book!
The writing is addictive and so are the characters. Having traveled so much myself, I could relate to two young women forging a friendship and the impulsive decisions that follow. But a dark sense of menace lurks in the background as their relationship gravitates from crush to toxic, and you know things will spiral out of control. You just don’t know when.
The author has clearly done a ton of research to write this book as evidenced by her blog. Exotic settings where two exceptional characters take extraordinary risks. The chapters take you through Beijing to Ulaanbaater, Irkutsk to Moscow and then to Berlin. You can see, taste and smell the backdrop which is the sign of excellent writing. The story gains depth and complexity as it evolves and terminates each chapter with a mini-cliffhanger.
One helluva page-turner and a denouement I didn’t see coming. It’s hard not to give this book a solid five stars as so many other readers have. It’s a keeper, one of those memorable coffee table classics, because it kept my mind spinning in several different directions at once.
Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour, to author SJI Holliday for writing such an entertaining read, and to Karen from Orenda Books for my copy of this book.
Paperback: 276 pages
Publisher: Orenda Books (November 14, 2019)
What others are saying about SJI Holliday’s books
‘Such a brilliantly dark compelling story set against such a fantastically exotic backdrop. I don’t think I read the book as much as inhaled it. Compelling, gripping and horrifically entertaining, fasten your seatbelts, this is going to be a bumpy read! I loved it’ Liz Nugent
‘Twisted, gripping and totally addictive’ Paddy Magrane
‘Echoes of a Killing Eve vibe. Fabulously awful women you will love’ Sarah Pinborough
‘Utterly beguiling and darkly sinister, this superb Gothic ghost tale is a brilliantly crafted rug puller’ Lisa Howells, Heat Magazine
‘A wonderful cross-over novel that ranges from taut psychological chiller to supernatural suspense … Nail-biting stuff, superbly executed’ Sunday Times Crime Club
‘Readers will find this contemporary gothic tale hard to put down’ Publishers Weekly
‘A thrilling, chilling, shocking tale, perfect if you take delight in an icy shiver scuttling down your spine’ LoveReading
About the Author
S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday grew up in East Lothian, Scotland. A life-long fan of crime and horror, her short stories have been published in various places, and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize.
She has written three crime novels set in the fictional Scottish town of Banktoun, which are a mix of police procedural and psychological thriller. They are: “Black Wood”, “Willow Walk” and “The Damselfly” – all featuring the much loved character, Sergeant Davie Gray.
Her serial killer thriller “The Deaths of December” (written as Susi Holliday), featuring Detective Sergeant Eddie Carmine and Detective Constable Becky Greene was a festive hit in 2017.
Her spooky mystery “The Lingering” was released in late 2018.
Other books by SJI Holliday