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4.2 out of 5 stars71
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 24 April 2012
Which was a little awkward as I found myself on a very crowded tube with 2 large bags unwilling to put this book away despite imminent danger of falling over.

I'm usually addicted to police procedural crime novels so to tackle something more psychological, especially a book as accomplished as this, was a real pleasure.

I think this is a stunning second novel. To me, the places and people were even more authentic than those in the poison tree, the moving between time periods was seamless and utterly compelling.

And the twist at the end got me. Cannot recommend this highly enough.
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on 22 June 2012
This is my first novel by this author and I can't wait to read The Poison Tree now. There is a dark, mysterious quality to her writing that pulls you in and makes it hard to put the book down. I completely believed in her main characters Louisa and Paul, and the tragedies that happened to them and brought them together. She writes as convincingly about life on a tough estate as she does about life on the King's Road in London, and I particularly felt for Paul and the way he is stopped from following his dream by people who don't want him to have dreams. Brilliant.
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on 4 January 2012
I'd read Kelly's first novel The Poison Tree and thoroughly enjoyed it but The Sick Rose is in a different league.
It grips from the start, transporting you back in time to Kensington Market in the 1980s - a vivid, very real portrayal for anyone who remembers the dingy old place.
But it's the characters and storyline that really grip. Sympathetic, yet interesting leads and an engaging, well researched story that slowly but very cleverly winds two very different tales into one. And the ending is utterly unexpected and shocking.
I read it in one go and immediately went online to find out if there was another Erin Kelly novel I'd missed. Sadly there are only two but if she continues to improve at her current rate, I really can't wait for her third book. Surely, given the quality of this one, there must be one on the way.
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on 9 June 2012
As a long time fan of psychological thrillers, I am really starting to like Erin Kelly's work. This book charts the relationship between social misfit Louisa and Paul - 20 years her junior and on a work placement with a witness protection scheme where Louisa is working restoring a Tudor garden. We are flicked back into both of their pasts, Louisa's world in 1989 and her love affair with a singer in a band and Paul to his growing up and involvement with petty criminal Daniel.

An enjoyable page turning read. EK excels at the creation of atmospheres and scene setting - the recreation of 1989 London was extremely well done along with life in an Essex estuary town and I actually felt a touch of Ruth Rendell coming on here. In her last book I thought her characters were stereotypical but she has proved me wrong in this one. My type of book and I am certainly looking forward to more.
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on 13 June 2011
For me, this is the sort of story that you really need to call in some favours, bunk off, shirk your responsiblities... do what it takes to give it your full attention until you've read it from start to finish. Within a couple of pages, everything else (including sleep) was an irrelevance and irritation, getting in the way of finishing the next chapter.. and the next...
A really satisfying read, gorgeously described, and the characters will stay with me for a long time. I can't wait for Erin Kelly's next book.
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Having read and enjoyed Erin Kellys previous novel The Poison Tree i was looking forward to reading this after seeing a review in a Sunday supplement. Thankfully I read it while I was away on holiday so I was able to spend long periods of time with the characters of Louisa and Paul because when you start reading this book you will not want to stop! The story is told in the present day and also with flashbacks to the past of both characters-Louisa as a teenager falling obsessively in love with a wannabe rock star and the more recent problems of Paul and how he gets himself in trouble due to his friend Daniel. This would have got 5 stars but I felt the ending twist was a little bit disappointing and weak.
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on 21 June 2012
I saw this book reviewed in a magazine a few weeks ago. It sounded interesting so I bought it. What a great read! I couldn't put it down, the experiences of Paul and Louisas youth were so different, yet in their own way played the central part in bringing them together.
At first the way that the book jumps from one time to another could have been distracting, however it was very clever in the way that it was achieved, because you got the back ground as the story progressed.
Definitely recommend this book, I have now bought "The Poison Tree", and look forward to reading it! Would be a great holiday read.
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on 22 April 2012
Erin Kelly has written yet another interesting and quirky thriller. I did not like it quite as much as I liked her previous book, The Poison Tree, but I must admit, I found it hard to put down. Kelly is excellent on atmosphere and characters, and this story about two misfit people of very differing age, was compelling. They are both rather gullable and from the beginning, you can sense that there will be tears before bedtime - and there are.
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on 29 March 2012
I enjoyed The Poison Tree when it was published a few years ago, so I was keen to get my hands on a copy of this, the second murder thriller from Erin Kelly. In a nutshell, this is a story of unequal love and unequal friendship and their fatal consequences - played out in the late 1980s and the present in London, the Thames Estuary, and a historic garden near Leamington Spa. The sense of time and place are accurate, nostalgic and compelling; it's become a bit of a trademark forte for this author. The pace is slow enough to let the book breathe and fast enough to ensure that you will continue reading until the bitter end. This is really far too fun to be classed 'literaray' (thank God), but actually - it's pretty classy stuff. Kelly has been compared to de Maurier, which is unfair - she's much better. And if she's good enough for Stephen King for chrissakes ("I wish I'd written it") - she's good enough for the rest of us. A great read. Highly recommended.

S
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on 9 June 2012
I loved The Poison Tree, and couldn't wait to read The Sick Rose. Just like the author's debut novel, this one was compelling and well plotted. The structure of the novel - flashbacks - add to the rising tension and suspense and it is exciting and comforting to know there's a killer twist waiting for you at the end!
I wasn't as drawn in by the characters as I was by Biba et al in The Poison Tree, but this is just my preference. The characterization was spot on and I was equally as desperate to know what would happen next. I really liked the Gothic feel of the novel, which is acknowledged at the end in a detailed and interesting reading guide.
Overall, I'd call this a must-read thriller by an exciting new author - bring on the next book!
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