BLACK WOOD cover image

BLACK WOOD cover image

If you like psychological thrillers then this superb debut novel is going to be a real treat for you. I first had the chance to read it, pre publication, last autumn and have been bursting to talk about it ever since! So I’m delighted that the Crime Thriller Girl blog is today’s tour stop on the BLACK WOOD Blog Tour …

What the blurb says: “Something happened to Claire and Jo in Black Wood: something that left Claire paralysed and Jo with deep mental scars. But with Claire suffering memory loss and no evidence to be found, nobody believes Jo’s story.

Twenty-three years later, a familiar face walks into the bookshop where Jo works, dredging up painful memories and rekindling her desire for vengeance. And at the same time, Sergeant Davie Gray is investigating a balaclava-clad man who is attacking women on a disused railway, shocking the sleepy village of Banktoun.

But what is the connection between Jo’s visitor and the masked man? To catch the assailant, and to give Jo her long-awaited justice, Gray must unravel a tangled web of past secrets, broken friendship and tainted love. But can he crack the case before Jo finds herself with blood on her hands?”

Set in a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business (and past) this psychological thriller uses the claustrophobic setting to maximum effect. There’s a real sense of foreboding as the current and past timelines alternate back and forth, and the tension ratchets up notch-by-notch.

Banktoun might at first appear to be a small, quaint village with a low crime rate that leaves Sergeant Davie Gray wishing for a bit more police work, but scratch the surface and the secrets simmering just below the surface soon start to threaten the uneasy peace.

When a spate of attacks by a balaclava wearing man jolt the villagers from their usual calm, tensions start to rise and after a visitor from the past makes an appearance at the local bookstore where Jo works it’s not long before she begins to unravel. With the flood of memories and questions arising from that fateful day in the woods over twenty years ago threatening to overwhelm her, Jo decides to try and uncover what really happened all those years ago to her and Claire. She sets out to investigate, determined to get her own justice. Question is, can she discover the truth before her paranoia and fears get the better of her?

Jo is an unpredictable, and at times unreliable, narrator who makes for an interesting and flawed heroine. Sergeant Davie Gray is an altogether more solid and reliable narrator, and as such is the perfect counterbalance to Jo.

I was immediately hooked from the first page. From the small village location, to the cast of engaging and interesting characters, many of whom seemed to be hiding something, I found BLACK WOOD a really ‘moreish’ read. I loved the twists and turns, and – although I’m usually pretty good at figuring out who did it – this book had me guessing to the end. It also features some pretty creepy masks!

BLACK WOOD is an excellent debut. An atmospheric, pacey and darkly-suspenseful mystery, it’s perfect for fans of psychological thrillers.

Highly recommended.

[with thanks to Black & White Publishing for my copy of BLACK WOOD]

To find out more about SJI Holliday and BLACK WOOD hop on over to her website at: and follow her on Twitter @SJIHolliday

And don’t forget to check out the other stops on the fabulous BLACK WOOD BLOG TOUR …


2 thoughts on “BLACK WOOD BLOG TOUR: CTG reviews BLACK WOOD by SJI Holliday

  1. Annie Romero says:

    This is on my TBR too! I can’t wait to get to it. So many thrillers on my tbr list and so far all have been so very good. Right now I have Dennis Meredith’s The Cerulean’s Secret, is the site for it. I am a fan of medical thrillers and although this is not as mush medical as futuristic with genetics and all that. It’s been so good, if anyone is looking for a good read, this one will do for sure!


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