Willow Walk – SJI Holliday
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?
My thanks to SJI Holliday and Black & White Publishing for my treasured review copy.
I don’t normally mention book covers, however, before I start talking about Willow Walk I just need to say – I LOVE THE COVER. Your eyes will be drawn to Willow Walk when you see it in the wild – get closer to it and pick up the book. Once it is in your hand treat yourself and buy a copy, it is a brilliantly dark story. A chilling read.
In Black Wood SJI Holliday introduced us to Banktoun, a sleepy Scottish town with its fair share of secrets. Willow Walk sees us returning to Banktoun and there is also a welcome return for the popular character Sergeant Davie Gray. Both Black Wood and Willow Walk can be read as stand alone novels, Davie features in both but is not the lead character in either. For returning readers there are some familiar faces but these are treats to reward you on your second visit to Banktoun, Willow Walk is a brand new adventure.
The story opens in the most disturbing of circumstances – the aftermath of a party and our main character, Marie, wakes to find herself surrounded by very still (too still) partygoers. Something has happened and she has to get away. But for Marie getting away in a small town like Banktoun is going to be a problem because someone is watching. Someone that knows her better than anyone else. Someone that isn’t meant to be here any longer so how can he possibly be back? She would know. Wouldn’t she?
Marie’s boyfriend, Davie Gray, is caught up in an investigation involving deaths from legal highs. He is consulting with police from Edinburgh and his time is stretched. He also has to contend with the problems that come from having the fairground in town. Davie is struggling to keep on top of his job and it doesn’t help that Marie is acting strangely.
Marie is struggling to keep up the pretence that all is well. She stumbles from home to work and is on constant alert. Someone is sending her letters – a voice from the past. Someone that should not be able to speak with her. The problem is that the letters are arriving with alarming frequency, but how does the sender even know her address? Marie’s story is the darkest of love stories and the author spins the tale magnificently. It is creepy and it is tense. I got so caught up in it that I only looked up to check that there was no one lurking in the dark corners of the room.
I love the Banktoun books. Susi Holliday captures the essence of characters so well that everyone seems real to me. Even the regulars sitting at the bar in the pub carry more authenticity than some of the key characters in other stories I have read. The realism of the people and the town make Willow Walk sing, it becomes a story you can immerse yourself in.
Willow Walk is a 5* read. It’s the middle book of the Banktoun Trilogy and I cannot wait for the final instalment.
Willow Walk is published by Black & White Publishing and is available in paperback and digital formats. You can order copies here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Willow-Walk-Banktoun-Trilogy-Holliday/dp/1785300210/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466036508&sr=8-1&keywords=willow+walk