It is my great pleasure to appear as this stop on the blog tour for Willow Walk by SJI Holliday because it’s also publication day for the paperback edition today as well! I read Black Wood, which is the first part of the Banktoun trilogy whilst on holiday last year, so I was very excited to be involved in the launch of book 2.
About this book…
When the past catches up, do you run and hide or stand and fight?
When a woman is brutally attacked on a lonely country road by an escaped inmate from a nearby psychiatric hospital, Sergeant Davie Gray must track him down before he strikes again. But Gray is already facing a series of deaths connected to legal highs and a local fairground, as well as dealing with his girlfriend Marie’s bizarre behaviour. As Gray investigates the crimes, he suspects a horrifying link between Marie and the man on the run – but how can he confront her when she’s pushing him away?
As a terrified Marie is pulled back into a violent past she thought she’d escaped, she makes an irrevocable decision. And when events come to a head at a house party on Willow Walk, can Gray piece together the puzzle in time to stop the sleepy town of Banktoun being rocked by tragedy once more?
I enjoyed Black Wood and was keen to get back to Banktoun for Willow Walk. I will just say that this can be read as a standalone novel although there are little references to what happened previously, it isn’t something you feel in the dark about. Although if you haven’t read Black Wood….why not??!! These books aren’t just police procedural, they are suspenseful domestic noirs that feel like they are happening right in our own doorsteps.
The start of this book throws us right in at the deep end with someone waking up after a house party and walking through the silence of bodies crashed out on the floors and sofas to go home. But they don’t seem to realise that maybe these partygoers are a little bit too still and that the smell of vomit and booze may be masking another more sinister smell.
We’re back in Scotland again with Sergeant Davie Gray. He really isn’t having much luck with the ladies at the moment as his girlfriend Marie seems to be acting rather strangely and is unusually distant. But this may be more to do with a case he is investigating rather than his charms, well he hopes so anyway! Or does he? In the small town of Banktoun, once again things are happening a little too close to home. But this is what I really love about these books, they come with normal characters that could very well be your brother or your friend or your Aunties cousin twice removed! Davie is the perfect example of this, he knows everyone in the small town of Banktoun and everyone knows him. He is there for advice if needed and runs the small police station whilst dealing with the constant worry about closure.
I particularly liked the way that letters were used throughout the book to show us the frame of mind of Graeme. I started to dread reading each letter when it appeared as it gradually formed a picture of what had happened in Marie’s past. It was a great way of building up an insight into one of the creepiest characters I have read about in a while. He literally made my skin crawl!
SJI Holliday has created a town full of dark secrets and lies that could be any town in the UK today highlighting problems with drugs, drinking and bored teenagers. I love that the small town attitude is used to a great effect here and is a very realistic portrayal of a small Scottish community (I should know…I grew up in one!) where relationships, both work and personal, constantly collide. This is a dark, creepy story of murder and obsession that grabbed me from the very first page and has left me wanting more! This really has to be optioned for a tv series, Scotland needs a new police hero on the small screen and I think Davie Gray fits the bill perfectly!
Many thanks Black and White Publishing for my review copy which was provided in return for an unbiased review.
Publication date for paperback copy is 10th June 2016
Willow Walk: A creepy and compelling psychological thriller (Banktoun Trilogy) is available to buy at Amazon UK