“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?”
Willow Walk is book 2 in the Banktoun Trilogy written by the very talented SJI Holliday. I read Black Wood, the first in the trilogy last year and enjoyed it. Willow Walk is however, in my opinion, the superior book. I’m very much looking forward to the third instalment to discover if ill-fated Banktoun can take much more!
Sergeant Davie Gray is called to the ICU following the brutal attack of an unknown woman. He doesn’t understand why he’s called but he begrudgingly goes. Only when he arrives at the hospital does he realise that the victim bears a staggering resemblance to his girlfriend, Marie. He’s not there to assist in the case as he first thought, he’s there for identification purposes. Thankfully it’s not Marie but she is acting strangely; pushing him away and drinking more than usual. What secrets is Marie hiding and why is she so cagey about the letters hidden in her kitchen cupboard? Can Davie work out what implications Marie’s past has on their future and the lives of their friends…?
I was drawn in to this book straight away by the incredibly creepy prologue. I had to find out more! Who was this woman and how had she ended up here, surrounded by total devastation at a drink and drug fuelled party? From there the story builds filling in the gaps so that events start to make more sense. I felt at times that there was a lot going on but it was still easy to follow and everything is beautifully tied up at the end.
Some of the themes are quite upsetting but SJI Holliday has done a terrific job of setting the scene without going too far. It is quite an uncomfortable and unsettling read in places so be warned. I had a sense of foreboding (introduced by that creepy prologue) from the start, which didn’t leave me until I closed the back cover and took a deep calming breath.
Would I recommend this book? If you’re looking for a character driven psychological thriller then I most certainly would. It’s a cracking read, very compelling and cleverly written by Susi Holliday.
Four out of five stars.
Many thanks to THE Book Club on Facebook (TBC), the author and the publisher for providing me with a copy of Willow Walk in exchange for an honest review.
S.J.I. Holliday grew up in Haddington, East Lothian – a small town near Edinburgh, Scotland. She spent many years working in her family’s newsagent and pub before going off to study microbiology and statistics at university. She has worked as a statistician in the pharmaceutical industry for over sixteen years, but it was on a six-month round-the-world-trip that she took with her husband ten years ago that she rediscovered her passion for writing. Her first novel, BLACK WOOD was published in 2015, the second, WILLOW WALK is out in June 2016.