Spotlight 2015: Black Wood by Susi Holliday.


Publication Date: March 2015 from Black and White Publishing.

Source: Author copy

Something happened to Claire and Jo in Black Wood: something that left Claire paralysed and Jo with deep mental scars. But with Claire suffering memory loss and no evidence to be found, nobody believes Jo’s story. Twenty-three years later, a familiar face walks into the bookshop where Jo works, dredging up painful memories and rekindling her desire for vengeance. And at the same time, Sergeant Davie Gray is investigating a balaclava-clad man who is attacking women on a disused railway, shocking the sleepy village of Banktoun. But what is the connection between Jo’s visitor and the masked man? To catch the assailant, and to give Jo her long-awaited justice, Gray must unravel a tangled web of past secrets, broken friendship and tainted love. But can he crack the case before Jo finds herself with blood on her hands?

So any fan of the psychological thriller definitely needs to keep an eye out for this next year – I was lucky enough to read it extremely early, so early in fact that as Susi herself pointed out to me, its probably completely changed by now. I am looking forward to reading the finished product to see how it has developed, but the heart of it will be there for sure, the story and the characters whilst possibly having had added to them a  bit of spit and polish were right there from the start.

What I found was a character driven story with a very haunting and expressive feel that pulled me in immediately. Jo is an intriguing character, dealing with some difficult issues stemming from a childhood trauma – but with no-one to believe her and a memory that is flaky, she feels very alone and that comes out in the way she interacts with those close to her. Not always sympathetic as a character  but ever fascinating, the mystery of what happened to her and Claire all those years ago is compelling and addictive.

Unless it has changed dramatically in the time since I read that early copy and now, this is not a book with those huge BAM out of nowhere twists and turns but is more an exploration of memory and emotion, how things from before can affect the after and is all the more powerful for it.  Thats not to say there are no surprises, there most certainly are and a fair few of them, and as Jo goes on her journey of discovery and possible revenge, you will be completely and utterly hooked. Beautifully paced, it is one of those novels you sink into completely and have to shake off when you emerge back into real life.

It really is deliciously written, capturing the essence of village life perfectly and delivering an eclectic cast of characters, an appealing and exquisitely drawn enigma both in character and plot and overall would defnitely come highly recommended from me. Oh and beautiful job on the cover – captures the whole thing perfectly right there.

I will be talking about this in more detail with a fuller review for you nearer publication – but for now I’m saying put it on that list. You know the one – all us readers have them!

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Happy Reading Folks!





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One Response to Spotlight 2015: Black Wood by Susi Holliday.

  1. SJI Holliday says:

    Thanks for the fantastic review, Liz – you’re right, in that the heart of the story hasn’t changed a bit… just a few tweaks here and there to keep you guessing (not that I could ever hope to catch you out in a twist!) 🙂

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