The Damselfly – SJI Holliday
Katie Taylor is the perfect student. She s bright and funny, she has a boyfriend who adores her and there are only a few months left of school before she can swap Banktoun for the bright lights of London. Life gets even better when she has an unexpected win on a scratch card. But then Katie’s luck runs out.
Her tragic death instead becomes the latest in a series of dark mysteries blighting the small town. The new school counsellor Polly McAllister, who has recently returned to Banktoun to make amends in her own personal life, is thrown in at the deep end as the pupils and staff come to terms with Katie s death. And it s not long before she uncovers a multitude of murky secrets. Did Katie have enemies? Is her boyfriend really so squeaky clean? And who is her brothers mysterious friend?
With Banktouns insular community inflamed by gossip and a baying mob stirring itself into a frenzy on social media, DS Davie Gray and DC Louise Jennings must work out who really murdered Katie before someone takes matters into their own hands.
My thanks to Thomas at Black & White Publishing for my review copy
The Damselfly, the third book in the Banktoun series is officially my favourite of the three. Although all three books can easily be read as stand-alone novels there is a definite reward for returning readers, Characters from earlier novels will cameo and the town seems to be evolving with each new book too – like in a videogame where deeper exploration into the story will open up new areas of the map to enjoy. In The Damselfly the local school becomes a key focus for events and the pupils will provide much of the drama. SJI Holliday has made Banktoun a great place for readers to visit – but I wouldn’t want to live there!
I cannot review one of Susi’s novels without commenting (again) on her skill at defining characters. Everyone in the story seems more vibrant and realistic than some authors can achieve with their main character. The realism is a problem in The Damselfly though as in this story we have the nasty problem of cyberbullies. The creeping menace of social media is being used to stir up tension and suspicion and it makes for very uncomfortable reading.
The story opens with Katie, she is a bright student and is seeking to improve her lot in life and hoping to get away from Banktoun and move to the bright lights. Sadly fate has a different idea for Katie and her life abruptly comes to an end leaving a mass of unanswered questions and plenty of candidates for the finger of suspicion to point at. A murder mystery means we get the police involved and in Banktoun that can only mean a welcome return for fan-favourite Davie Gray.
I totally lost myself in The Damselfly. From the early shocking murder of Katie Taylor we see how her death will impact on different characters in the town. Her family torn apart by the tragedy, her classmates believing they know who must be involved and trying to take the law into their own hands, her teachers coping with the shock and trying to support Katie’s former classmates. And, of course, the police who need to unpick Katie’s secrets when nobody seems to want to help them.
The Damselfly is a murder mystery which leaves you wondering who you should trust…A five-star page-turner, I loved it.
The Damselfly is published by Black & White Publishing and is available now in paperback and digital format. Order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Damselfly-gripping-unnerving-crime-thriller-ebook/dp/B01M7RBU7W/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8