The Damselfly by S.J.I. Holliday #BookReview #TBConFB

About this book…

An unsolved murder. A community turned against each other. A killer close to home…

Katie Taylor is the perfect student. She’s bright and funny, she has a boyfriend who adores her and there are only a few months left of school before she can swap Banktoun for the bright lights of London. Life gets even better when she has an unexpected win on a scratch card. But then Katie’s luck runs out.

Her tragic death instead becomes the latest in a series of dark mysteries blighting the small town. The new school counsellor Polly McAllister, who has recently returned to Banktoun to make amends in her own personal life, is thrown in at the deep end as the pupils and staff come to terms with Katie’s death. And it’s not long before she uncovers a multitude of murky secrets. Did Katie have enemies? Is her boyfriend really so squeaky clean? And who is her brother’s mysterious friend?

With Banktoun’s insular community inflamed by gossip and a baying mob stirring itself into a frenzy on social media, DS Davie Gray and DC Louise Jennings must work out who really murdered Katie before someone takes matters into their own hands…

The Damselfly is the latest novel from the bestselling author of Black Wood and Willow Walk set in the small Scottish town of Banktoun. Fans of Rachel Abbott, Angela Marsonsand Peter James will love this rivetting psychological crime thriller as DS Davie Gray tries to hold together a community once again rocked by tragedy.

My review…

This is the third book (and as its a trilogy supposedly the last!?) in the Banktoun series by S.J.I.Holliday and I have to admit that it’s actually the best one so far. I liked Black Wood, I really liked Willow Walk but I loved The Damselfly! All of these books can be read as standalone novels but there are little threads running throughout this which may mean more to you if you’ve read the previous books. And if you haven’t, WHY NOT?

But I ended up feeling quite bereft after the first few pages, as I really liked Katie Taylor, with her hopes and dreams for a better life for herself. She is about to escape her unsupportive family and make a fresh start in London until she is discovered dead in her bedroom. Honestly, I would have been far happier for her awful sister Brooke or her apathetic mother Mandy to have met a sticky end! Before her death Katie won enough money on a scratch card to facilitate her on her journey to a new life but did this contribute towards her sudden demise? Back to Banktoun comes Davie Gray, fresh from his detective training, to work with Louise Jennings on this new case. But there’s also another familiar face returning to the scene of the crime. Just what secrets are the inhabitants of Banktoun hiding?

What I love about this series is that it seems so realistic! Banktoun could really exist with its vividly described surroundings and local townsfolk. Policeman Davie quickly slips back into his role of community protector as he carefully works his way through the evidence presented. I loved his enigmatic, calm demeanour and quiet determination to solve the case which was complimented by Louise, a compassionate sidekick, still not quite hardened to the rippling effects of violent crime.

The use of various social media gave this addition to the series a particularly current feel. There are regular posts published on the ThreeWiseMonkeys blog, author unknown, and a secret vigilante group on Facebook determined to name and shame the suspect they are convinced murdered Katie. These, alongside the short and intense chapters told by Polly, Louise and Neil kept me engaged in the highly addictive storyline right up to the breathtakingly dramatic finale.

S.J.I. Holliday has taken her dark and compelling Scottish crime novels and built a series that will be sadly missed if it stops here! I don’t think I have ever been as devastated as I was when I read the final few pages of The Damselfly, thinking that it could be my last vist to Banktoun! I’m hoping it is lying asleep somewhere like a modern day Brigadoon just waiting to be reawakened by a few taps on the authors keyboard. This has been a brilliant series which has concluded with the best book so far in my opinion and so it comes highly recommended by me.

My thanks to TBConFB for my review copy of The Damselfly.

The Damselfly: A gripping and unnerving crime thriller is published on 2nd February 2017 by B&W publishing.

Meet the author…

SJI Holliday
S.J.I. (Susi) 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 prize. She has written three crime novels, a mix of police procedural and psychological thriller, set in the fictional Scottish town of Banktoun. They are: Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly – all featuring the much loved character, Davie Gray. Susi also works as a pharmaceutical statistician. She is married and lives in London, and you will find her at crime fiction events in the UK and abroad. 
You can find out more at her website: and on Facebook and Twitter @SJIHolliday.

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

5 thoughts on “The Damselfly by S.J.I. Holliday #BookReview #TBConFB”

  1. Love the sound of this book, and the cover is just the sort of thing that would catch my eye. The damselfly on the cover is called a beautiful demoiselle, and is absolutely gorgeous (sorry, couldn’t resist getting my geek on, there 🙂 )

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is beautiful isn’t it!!?? I must admit to never hearing about them before but apparently they make regular appearances by a shallow pool on our regular dog walk so going to keep a look out from now on.


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