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Sunday, 12 June 2016

‘Willow Walk’ by SJI Holliday

Published by Black & White Publishing,
5 May 2016.
ISBN: 978-1-78530-021-9

On a lonely country road a woman is brutally attacked by a patient who has escaped from a psychiatric hospital. Sergeant Davie Gray must track the perpetrator down before he strikes again. But he has other things on his mind – he is already investigating a series of deaths linked to legal highs and a local fairground, as well as trying to understand why his girlfriend Marie keeps pushing him away. As Gray investigates the crimes, he begins to think there is a link between Marie and the man on the run. But he doesn’t want to confront her with his suspicions in case he loses everything.

For Marie, meanwhile, her horrific past is coming back to haunt her, threatening the new life she has made for herself. As past and present collides at a party at house on Willow Walk, can Davie Gray solve the puzzle before tragedy strikes the small Scottish town of Banktoun?

Willow Walk begins with a terrifying incident at a party that catapulted me straight into the plot, as the question I was asking myself all the way through was: ‘what had happened at that party?’

The book twists and turns to the end, dealing with a myriad of themes such as sibling love, legal highs and how you can never outrun your past. The characters are well-rounded and believable, the plot is well-worked out and the writing is precise.

This is the first novel of SJI Holliday I’ve read, though her debut, Black Wood has been on my TBR pile for some time – that has now gone to the top of that tottering pile.
Reviewer: Mary-Jane Riley

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.

Mary-Jane Riley  wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter. She was eight. It was about a gang of children who had adventures on mysterious islands, but she soon realised Enid Blyton had cornered that particular market. So she wrote about the Wild West instead. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades.
Then, in true journalistic style, she decided not to let the facts get in the way of a good story and got creative. She wrote for women's magazines and small presses. She formed WriteOutLoud with two writer friends to help charities get their message across using their life stories. Now she is writing psychological suspense, drawing on her experiences in journalism.
The Bad Things by Mary-Jane Riley was published by Harper Collins/Killer Reads. Her second book, After She Fell, also published by Killer Reads, is out on April 28th.
In her spare time Mary-Jane likes to walk the dog and eat a lot. Good job she likes walking.

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