I’m absolutely buzzing to be sharing my review of Violet for SJI Holliday and to be taking part in the blog tour to talk about this work of genius! Thanks to Anne over at Randomthingstours for the invite and to the author and publisher for the ARC
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
When two strangers end up sharing a cabin on the Trans-Siberian Express, an intense friendship develops, one that can only have one ending … a nerve-shattering psychological thriller from bestselling author 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 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…
Orenda books, your authors are killing me! How on earth can I write reviews that will do justice to the masterpieces you all produce!
I do have to say as a massive fan of SJI Holliday, Violet, is easily my favourite of all her books so far. I read it in almost one sitting and it is easily a book you can lose a day to, or one to read way past your bedtime!
Oh Violet, who are you and just what are you up to? And Carrie, just what secrets are you hiding? When these two women hook up in Beijing and end up as travelling companions on the Trans-Siberian Express you just know that things are not going to be plain sailing and boy are you right! And that is all I’m telling you about the plot! This is one book you just need to pick up and find out for yourself!
But those characters…they crept right under my skin from the outset! Cleverly told from Violet’s point of view, with snippets of Carrie’s story via emails to her friends and family, it soon becomes clear that neither girl is squeaky clean. The issue is, working out which one of them, if any, is to be trusted a little more than the other!
The author has also created a perfect sense of place from the Tran- Siberia express and the inherent danger of travelling across the world to the colourful world of Mongolia to the edge tension of Eastern Europe, she placed me at the heart of it all. I heard, tasted and felt every experience and let me tell you, some of that was quite disturbing!
Atmospheric, claustrophobic, intense and totally compelling are the only words I can think of to use without giving away any spoilers. At times I felt like a voyeur such was the effect the author created. All my senses were on high alert throughout the book as I experienced the journey of both women. At times I gawped, at others I recoiled but mainly I was just glued to the whole experience.
My head was turned full circle by each of the twisty little twists she created, she left me with no clue as to who or what to trust. Obsession, jealousy, lies and manipulation were all wrapped up in what was one of the strongest and darkest psychological thrillers I’ve read this year.
If you are thinking of inter-railing this year then maybe you might want to leave this book until after your travels. And if you are reading it in the midst of your travels, then perhaps you might want to take just a closer look at that young woman who has just asked if she can take a seat at your table…
Don’t forget to check out what the other bloggers are saying:
You can buy Violet via the links below:
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 September 2018.
Her latest book “Violet” – a psychological thriller set on the Trans-Siberian Express is out in September 2019.