- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Black and White Publishing (19 Mar. 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1845029534
- ISBN-13: 978-1845029531
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.8 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 437 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 421,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Black Wood Paperback – 19 Mar 2015
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In Black Wood, S J I Holliday has created a small town whose inhabitants are full of dark secrets, rumour, betrayal and murder. A touch of humour, a twist-filled plot and the writer's obvious skill in creating an unsettling and yet all too familiar backdrop, make this a hugely enjoyable page-turner. A must-read for crime fans. --Steve Cavanagh
A fast-paced and chilling psychological thriller from an exciting new talent. If you liked Broadchurch, you'll love this. --Mark Edwards and Louise Voss
A deeply unsettling story of bad deeds, complex loyalties and secrets better left buried, Black Wood is a thrilling debut which grips from the very first page and doesn't let go. --Eva Dolan
About the Author
SJI Holliday grew up in East Lothian. 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 competition. She is married and lives in London.
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Wow, this was a pretty impressive debut book. It started off with a bang and then follows the usual pacing as we flitted between past and present as the characters try to figure out what happened twenty odd years ago as well as what is happening now. There are an awful lot of characters in the book, each playing their part but I have to admit getting a little confused at times especially with similar names. I especially struggled between Laura and Lorna occasionally. I also found it to be a little busy at times, something very bravely tackled by this debut author, and I felt at times that it was a tad over done in places and I did have to flick back a couple of times cos I got a bit lost. There were quite a few secrets lies and red herrings to get to grips with and I really had to concentrate and pay attention throughout.
That said, I really loved the author's style. The way she oozed atmosphere into the small village. So much that it became a character in its own right. She also dropped enough hints and clues to keep me interested throughout the story. Sometimes it was easy to cut through the noise and make certain educated guesses at who and what and why but there were some reveals at the end that had me a tad gobsmacked.
The majority of the characters were pretty unlikable. Apart from Davie the policeman who was trying to solve the current crime spree as well as trying to keep an eye on Jo and what happened in the past. As already mentioned, there were a whole cast of extras in this story and I know that it is part of a trilogy and I am wondering if they will come forward in the other books. I hope so as I would definitely like to hear more from some of them. Especially as there were still outstanding questions, for me anyway, at the end of this book.
All in all, a pretty decent debut offering. I already have book two queued up on my Kindle to start next.
Something frightening and abhorrent happened in Banktoun many years ago. Jo and Claire’s lives have been defined by events which happened in the past. Claire has fought hard to move on but Jo has struggled and when a man turns up in the town out of the blue, it brings all the memories flooding back. Is this man responsible for what happened to Jo and Claire all those years ago, and when similar attacks begin to happen in the present, is there anything that Jo can do to stop them?
I had heard so many great things about SJI Holliday’s books so I was really excited when I got round to reading the first book in her Banktoun trilogy. I wasn’t disappointed. SJI Holliday has created a gripping mystery which hooks you from the first page. I wanted to find out what had happened to Jo and Claire all those years ago and if it was linked to the events going on in the present. The atmosphere in this book is brilliant; I thought the setting of the town was perfect for this type of crime as I never could be sure about any of the characters in the book.
A really excellent debut. I’m definitely going to be reading more from SJI Holliday.
The good- the picture of small town life in the Edinburgh commuter town of Banktoun. Everyone knows each other, they all gossip over the supermarket cut price full breakfast.You might run a mile, but there is a believable community here.
The less good: the story centres around the narrator and her friend Claire, both damaged by an incident in their past where Claire ended up with a broken back, and the narrator- well let's just say she's got issues.While a lot is hinted at, the plot and its denouement are pretty incoherent. Far too many characters are introduced and it's hard to maintain sympathy with the damaged narrator. For god's sake someone give that woman a course of tranquillisers. She'd be a lot happier.
So - worth it? There's certainly a mystery here - just not a 'deliciously dark thriller'.
The pace was bitty and some parts felt extraneous. Rather than acting to build a picture, some of the viewpoints simply let the author add some more action without adding to the story. Various female characters were added only in order to describe their attacks to the reader.
I don't want to be too harsh a critic because this is an interesting thriller. I think the author is one to keep an eye on.
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Most recent customer reviews
Gripping, unpredictable, well-written.
Wish characters were more detailed as most lack of depth.