Black Wood by SJI Holliday

Moving to the north, in fact, Scotland and Banktoun a small, close-knit community where everyone appears to know everyone else and this is fueled by the town gossip monger Bridie.

I read this having received a review copy of Willow Walk (my thanks to Laura at B&W) which I am now reading in earnest to follow the lives of the characters from Black Wood.  

I have to add this isn’t my normal reading as I tend to do police procedurals so approached it with some reticence but it had me gripped and my first session got me well past page 100 as I just couldn’t put it down and ended up on the settee into the early hours. 

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The Plot

There are a lot of mysteries in this excellent thriller that kept me gripped and reading – I completed it in less than a week which is a challenge sometimes with my other commitments. 

Why is Claire in a wheelchair?

Why is Jo on medication?

Who is Jake? Why is he so devoted to Claire?

Why does Scott split up with Jo which forces her to move out and into her friend Craig’s flat ?

Why does she then run off to her late grandmother’s cottage – Black Wood?

Who is the stranger that comes into the bookshop where Jo works?  

Why do the locals think a witch lived in Black Wood cottage?

Then there’s Pete who see’s things from his house but his father doesn’t want him to talk to Davie Gray. 

Davie Gray – the local police sergeant influenced by ‘mod’ culture who rides a motor scooter when he’s not in a panda car. He’s troubled by the threat of closure of his police station now that Police Scotland has been formed and there are rationalization plans all over. In addition to this someone is frightening girls down at ‘The Track’ a place where the teenagers go for illicit drinking, smoking weed and dalliances. 

Jo thinks she knows the stranger and is determined to find out who he is and what he is up to? 

We also see the story from Davie’s perspective too as he struggles to deal with the many facets of this excellent read. 

My thoughts

Susie’s (SJI) great novel is the first of the Banktoun trilogy and I think deals with people’s interpersonal relationships and feelings and fears in a sympathetic way.

I very much enjoyed this read and the way that the plot and mystery are maintained is refreshing!The events of the book are played out in a very clever way swapping backward to times when Jo and Claire were themselves teenagers and the strong narrative introduces a ‘boy’ in the past as we see the story from his perspective and also from Claire’s and Jo’s at different stages in the story. The main character, however, is Jo and we see most of  the current day events from her angle. It’s a very complex plot that weaves between different people and the past and present. It’ll keep you on your toes throughout.

I can’t recommend Black Wood enough as it sets the scene for the trilogy but it’s also an excellent stand-alone thriller.

Credits

SJI Holliday 

Black & White

Laura at B&W for my review copy of Willow Walk which started me on the Banktoun trail and introduced me to Susie’s work

watch out for the follow-up but in the meantime, there’s a Davie Gray short story available free from the following link Wrack Line

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Willow Walk – as I said in a recent post on social media “if it’s half as good as Black Wood we’re in for a treat”.

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watch out for the Blog Tour!

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Author: tonk5ey

watching and waving at the world with a wicked word sometimes a wise one!

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