Author: SJI Holliday
Publication Date: November 14th 2019
Publisher: Orenda Books
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…
Many thanks to Anne Cater @Random Things Tours and Orenda Books for my spot on the blog tour and a copy of the book. My review is unbiased and completely honest.
Violet, Violet Violet. This girl projects are real problem. Can the worst parts of us hide in plain sight? We can deal with most situations and conform and fit in the box when we need to but how many people are watching our small nuisances, those little tells that give off the impression that something isn’t as it seems. We try hard to hide our inner psycho, what happens when that just isn’t enough anymore?
SJI Holliday puts the psycho in psychological thriller, seriously. Violet is so hauntingly relevant and completely and utterly compulsive. Never has a name held such a convincing portrayal of hell.
As always, I know an Orenda Books title is going to be a winner, so I didn’t hesitate on signing up for this blog tour. I didn’t fully know what to expect as this was my first Holliday novel but exceeded everything I dared to hope for and more. Holliday is a complete master at dragging the reader in immediately and keeping them there and giving them a good old slap if they for a moment dare to take their eye off the ball. She has explored the theme of trust so exquisitely. Trust is a five-letter word and just how much can you possibly know about someone you have just had a chance encounter with? It’s a frightening premise of obsession and travelling.
Violet is travelling. Her relationship has dissolved with her boyfriend whilst in China. He apparently prefers the company of his German mates and some hot babes. She takes the decision to grab the bull by the horns and continue on her adventure without him. Who needs that kind of negativity in your life, right? She tries to get a ticket on the trans-Siberia line, so she can continue onwards to Russia. Guess what? Its full. Another brit is having an equally difficult time. She can’t get a refund for a second ticket but apparently can transfer it to someone else. You know what’s on Violets mind, don’t you? They meet in a bar and immediately hit it off. They have similar life experiences, young and looking to have the time of their lives. Carrie offers her spare ticket to Violet and they begin their journey through Mongolia to Russia. Grab a seat and prepare yourself for the imminent disaster. I enjoyed Hollidays storytelling and the narrative of Violet. It was disturbing and twisted. We also got an interesting glimpse into Carrie’s head through the format of emails home to friends and family. The anxiety builds as the train journey progressed. Could you trust Violet, was her narrative wholly accurate or was she just a walking red herring? On the other hand, was Carrie all she seemed? Imagine looking through a cracked mirror. This was how violet really was whilst trying to constantly repair the cracks. Violets narrative completely messes with your head. She juggles several personalities and the mask of course slips. Both Violet and Carrie in my opinion are two sides of the same coin – Ying and Yang, Dark and Light, Good and Evil. Carrie, however carries her own darkness and her mask slips also.
Violet is a chilling tale. The trap door opens up and drops you down with no regard to life. The twists will snap your neck and in a lot of ways I wasn’t rooting for either of them. Violet is clearly twisted and has pretty deranged thoughts floating her around her delusional brain, and again Carrie isn’t the sweet, easy going girl she would have you believe either. Holliday had me doubting my own thoughts, the processes that got me there. It made me think twice about interacting with any stranger, quite frankly it freaked me out, but the journey and the actions of the characters were completely addictive. I wanted to know what got the girls to this point in their lives, I just need to know everything, and I needed to know it at every given moment.
Holliday definitely wrote a story that resonated deeply with me. I didn’t really root for one character over another, but I was completely engrossed at where this was going. Trepidation had my nerves jumping. Just like the train journey the story gained speed at an alarming rate and I was completely here for it.
Violet is a tale of Obsession and Destruction. A story that you will inhale with little time to breathe. It left me deeply uncomfortable but needing more. This has cemented Hollidays position at the top.
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.