Obsession, manipulation and toxic friendship all covered in one book by a brilliant author? Look no further than Violet by 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 traveling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is 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…
An all-round beauty of a psychological thriller
I’ve read quite a few thrillers recently focusing on friendship and obsession, but Violet is definitely the darkest. It’s a different vibe to another book I’ve read by Holliday, The Lingering, so make sure to check out that one too (my review here).
The way it’s been written draws your attention away from what’s really happening. I finished this and then left it a day before writing my review, and still wondered how Holliday had managed to manipulate me and I’m all for that.
It comes to an end quite abruptly and is over before you can even say ‘what on earth is going on here’. The whole way through I was saying how much I really enjoyed it, and when I closed the book, I still really enjoyed it. I just think for some of my followers who want that – oh my god – moment, you *might* not get it. Saying that, I read a lot in this genre, so I can imagine the ending being a shock to some.
There’s a lot of tension building throughout, so I can’t promise you’ll have any fingernails by the end of it because I actually made my cuticle bleed at one point. Thanks, Holliday (I’m not mad)!
I wouldn’t read this before you go away travelling, and if you’re considering making a new friend, you might want to reconsider after Violet too.
The writing style might not be for everyone but it’s a big yes from me – lots of short sentences, very contemporary and witty/funny comments, whilst still being dark. Imagine your typical backpacker stereotype – Holliday’s wrapped this up in a little dark bow for you.
The opening chapter is gross, and that sets the scene for the rest of the book. An all-round beauty of a psychological thriller.
A very quick read and one that you won’t want to put down. I’m looking forward to seeing more by this author, because she’s definitely on an automatic purchase.
Violet, SJI Holliday, RRP £8.99 (paperback); Book Depository
Genre: Psychological Thriller