I was delighted when Susi Holliday and Rosie Stephen at #HodderAndStoughton asked me to be a part of the Blog Tour for #TheDeathsOfDecember as I was a huge fan of Susi’s Banktoun series (written as SJI Holliday) and was intrigued to see what Susi had in store for us next! So thank you to the author and publisher for the ARC which I chose to read and provide my honest review.
So today I’m over the moon buzzing to be kicking off this #BlogTour for #TheDeathsOfDecember
What the blurb says:
The hunt is on for a serial killer in a thrilling festive crime novel.
It looks like a regular advent calendar.
Until DC Becky Greene starts opening doors…and discovers a crime scene behind almost every one.
The police hope it’s a prank. Because if it isn’t, a murderer has just surfaced – someone who’s been killing for twenty years.
But why now? And why has he sent it to this police station?
As the country relaxes into festive cheer, Greene and DS Eddie Carmine must race against time to catch the killer. Because there are four doors left, and four murders will fill them…
It’s shaping up to be a deadly little Christmas.
Well, let’s just say this, there ain’t going to be any advent calendars adorning my house this year! What a macabre countdown to the festive period “The Deaths of December” provided when a homemade calendar lands on the desks of DC Becky Greene and DS Eddie Carmine. This isn’t any ordinary calendar and there are no cute wee Christmas scenes awaiting behind the doors! Rather each door opens up to reveal a grisly crime scene, the thing is, these are not paintings, these are photographs of the real thing. Will Becky and Eddie be in time to save the last four potential victims and just who has the killer really got in their sights!
I always approach a new series by a favourite author with a sense of nervous anticipation, will it live up to my expectations, will I connect with this new cast of characters and will the narrative provide me enough of the heart-stopping moments that I look for? Well, have no fear, “The Deaths of December” certainly gave me it all in abundance! With a narrative cleverly divided up into an almost childlike “9 more sleeps” ’til Christmas countdown, the chilling scene is set immediately. This is not going to be a cosy Christmas feel-good read, that’s for sure! Perfect for the crime lovers amongst us who prefer a little more grisly than cuddles and chestnuts by a log fire!
The story is narrated from the point of view of Becky, Eddie, Carly and The Photographer and once again Susi Holliday has created a cast of absolutely plausible characters. There is an ordinariness, a kind of “person next door” feel about them, I read them as though I knew them, I could see them all in my head which really helps me connect and engage with them all. We know from the beginning who is narrating from the killer’s point of view and it was a brilliantly twisted approach to the book. I love getting to know new characters in a book and learning about them as each page turns and this book certainly gave me this experience and best of all it left me wanting more of them! (so I am hoping that Susi Holliday is currently penning another in the series!). Short, sharp chapters from each character’s perspective kept me engaged and engrossed throughout the book.
A twisted and deceptive plot provided me with enough clues and red herrings to keep my twisted imagination happy! The tension built as each chapter finished and by the end of the book I was wound up tighter than a corkscrew and having a few palpitations as I kept holding my breath! “The Deaths of December” is the perfect Christmas read for those amongst us who prefer our countdowns to be a little more terrifying than tinsley; those who prefer Krampus to Father Christmas! Why not pop this in your favourite crime thriller lover’s stocking this year and give them the horror they crave!
Don’t open the door and have yourselves a Merry Little Christmas!
#TheDeathsOfDecember is available to purchase:
Susi (S.J.I) 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 next book, a festive serial killer thriller “The Deaths of December”, featuring Detective Sergeant Eddie Carmine and Detective Constable Becky Greene will be published in November 2017.
Susi also works as a pharmaceutical statistician. She is married and lives in London, and you will find her at crime fiction events in the UK and abroad.
You can find out more at her website: http://www.sjiholliday.com and on Facebook and Twitter @SJIHolliday.
Don’t forget to check out what the other bloggers have to say!