Violet by @SJIHolliday #review @OrendaBooks

Isn’t that cover more a little unsettling? it really throws your mind as you try to make sense of the picture and that’s exactly what happens as you read the book too.

It all starts off so well. Carrie’s travelling companion has broken her leg and can’t join her on their grand adventure travelling on the Trans-Siberian Express. Violet has split up from her boyfriend so she too is travelling alone. I realise, on re-reading that, that it doesn’t sound like things are starting well! However, when the women meet in a hotel in Beijing and compare stories over a few drinks, the decision is made to travel together. A perfect solution for both of them as surely it’s safer for them to travel together than as two single women? Well…

Almost from the off, Susi Holliday sowed seeds of doubt in my mind that all was not what it seemed. There was just something about Violet that gave me niggling feelings of doubt that she was not to be trusted. With her constant checking of her ex’s Facebook page, it was clear to see her obsessive behaviour and I could see her start to transfer that obsession to Carrie. But then, could I trust Carrie? Through emails sent home, I began to wonder about her as well. I began to doubt that either of them was reliable at all.

With sex and drugs and alcohol fuelled wild nights as the women travel from Beijing to Moscow before the action moves to Berlin, the sense of danger is always lurking. Violet is a darkly atmospheric story of obsessive behaviour. It is one of those addictive tales that you just can’t put down. A salutary lesson in being careful who you trust.

Any thoughts I may have had of enjoying an Orient Express type holiday at some point have been put firmly on hold…

My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for sending me a review copy of the book. Violet is available now in all formats and you will find buying options on the publisher’s website here: Violet

From the back of the book

When two strangers end up sharing a cabin on the Trans-Siberian Express, an intense friendship develops, one that can only have one ending … a nerve-shattering psychological thriller from bestselling author SJI Holliday

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

A tense and twisted psychological thriller about obsession, manipulation and toxic friendships, Violet also reminds us that there’s a reason why mother told us not to talk to strangers…

About the author

S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a scientist, writing coach and the bestselling author of five crime novels, including the Banktoun Trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly), the festive chiller The Deaths of December and her creepy Gothic psychological thriller The Lingering. Her short story ‘Home From Home’ was published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and shortlisted for the CWA Margery Allingham Prize. Encapsulating her love of travel and claustrophobic settings, her latest novel, Violet, explores toxic friendships and the perils of talking to strangers, as well as drawing on her own journey on the Trans-Siberian Express over 10 years ago. All of her novels have been UK ebook number-one bestsellers. Susi was born and raised in Scotland and now divides her time between Edinburgh, London and as many other exciting places that she can fit in.

You can find out more at, or on Twitter and Facebook @SJIHolliday. 

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