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The Damselfly: A gripping and unnerving crime thriller by [Holliday, SJI]
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The Damselfly: A gripping and unnerving crime thriller Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Length: 256 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product description

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. Her debut novel, Black Wood, was published in 2015. She is married and lives in London.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2135 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Black & White Publishing (2 Feb. 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01M7RBU7W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,418 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Damselfly, the third book in the Banktoun series is officially my favourite of the three. Although all three books can easily be read as stand-alone novels there is a definite reward for returning readers, Characters from earlier novels will cameo and the town seems to be evolving with each new book too – like in a videogame where deeper exploration into the story will open up new areas of the map to enjoy. In The Damselfly the local school becomes a key focus for events and the pupils will provide much of the drama. SJI Holliday has made Banktoun a great place for readers to visit – but I wouldn’t want to live there!

I cannot review one of Susi’s novels without commenting (again) on her skill at defining characters. Everyone in the story seems more vibrant and realistic than some authors can achieve with their main character. The realism is a problem in The Damselfly though as in this story we have the nasty problem of cyberbullies. The creeping menace of social media is being used to stir up tension and suspicion and it makes for very uncomfortable reading.

The story opens with Katie, she is a bright student and is seeking to improve her lot in life and hoping to get away from Banktoun and move to the bright lights. Sadly fate has a different idea for Katie and her life abruptly comes to an end leaving a mass of unanswered questions and plenty of candidates for the finger of suspicion to point at. A murder mystery means we get the police involved and in Banktoun that can only mean a welcome return for fan-favourite Davie Gray.

I totally lost myself in The Damselfly. From the early shocking murder of Katie Taylor we see how her death will impact on different characters in the town.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's a wonderful creepiness to the third book in SJI Holliday's Banktoun trilogy, a dark energy and unsettling atmosphere threaded through the writing. THE DAMSELFLY grips early, and doesn't let go. I started it thinking I'd read a few chapters on a lunch break, and ended up not putting it down until I'd finished the whole thing. It's that good. Dark, twisted, with a great balance between well-drawn characters, a wonderfully evocative small-town setting, and a propulsive storyline.

Back in the 1990s, groundbreaking New Zealand crime writer Paul Thomas wrote an award-winning trilogy of gritty crime novels that had a beloved recurring detective, Tito Ihaka, who was never actually the 'main character' in any of the novels. Similarly, Holliday has a Banktoun cop, Davie Gray (now promoted to being a Detective in this third book), who is in all the books, tying them together, and who investigates the crimes, but isn't in fact ever the main central character in any of the books.

Holliday creates an intriguing cast of characters beyond the investigating police, from Katie's troubled family to a teacher rightly or wrongly in the crosshairs to new school counselor Polly, who is returning to Banktoun after years away. There's a real feel of a small town, with connective tissue of varying strengths running between its citizens, but plenty of secrets behind twitching curtains.

There's a really strong narrative drive to THE DAMSELFLY, which hurtles along at great pace without feeling 'breezy' or 'thin' by skimping on character and setting. There's a lovely tension, while at the same time plenty of depth. A strong voice, even with the multiple viewpoints.

THE DAMSELFLY is a five-star level book from an exciting newer voice in British crime writing, the kind of book that makes you want to immediately go and grab another tale from SJI Holliday.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'd been seeing talk of SJI Holliday's The Damselfly long before I was finally able to begin reading my own copy. My TBR pile is huge and out-of-control (still is and probably will remain that way for another 53957 years), and so I usually have to work my way towards a book. Thankfully, there weren't too many ahead of me before I could dive into The Damselfly which is GREAT because once I started this I could NOT put it down.

The Damselfly is based in the small town of Banktoun (found out today that this is pronounced as Bank-TIN rather than my presumption of Bank-TOON with a Scottish twang, so there you go. You really do learn something new everyday, and I like to try and get pronunciation of place names right when reading). I love anything that's set in a tight-knit community like Banktoun. It's a place where everybody knows everybody, including everybody's business, and it just feels easier to capture the characters that the author provides you with in such a tight setting like this one. I think it helps to bring it more to life also. Rather than taking the reader here, there and everywhere, you're able to build up the place in your mind as the author peppers the book with small descriptions throughout, adding to the overall image that you hold in your head which is exactly what Holliday did. Banktoun is also the setting of the previous books in SJI Holliday's Banktoun series, which includes 'Black Wood' and 'Willow Walk', both of which are already nestled nicely on my Kindle waiting for me to indulge in their stories too. I have to say, after enjoying 'The Damselfly' as much as I did, I really can't wait to see what's in store for me with the author's previous books. Anyway, onto the book itself...
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