Book Review

Violet – SJI Holliday

I have an absolute cracker of a book for you all today as I jump on board (pun intended) the blog tour for Violet by SJI Holliday. Many thanks to Susi and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of this tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.


When two strangers end up sharing a cabin on the Trans-Siberian Express, an intense relationship develops, one that can only have one ending…

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 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…

‘Holliday’s evocative writing is reminiscent of early James Herbert’ Fiona Cummins

‘One of the most gifted and entertaining psychological thriller writers in the business’
Steve Cavanagh

You can order your copy of Violet HERE

Violet Jacket


I try so hard not to judge a book by it’s cover, but, as I am sure you all do, I make plenty of assumptions based on the title and blurb. My mum is a fan of the saying, “When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me,” and she was not wrong there! For some reason, I was 100% certain that our narrator would be Carrie, so when I turned to chapter one to discover that it was in fact Violet herself, I found myself with absolutely no idea what direction the book was going to take. This was just the first of many unexpected twists and turns that were to take place, and I’m not just talking about the ones taken by the train.

Right from the stomach churning prologue, I was completely hooked by this book that just drips with tension and intrigue. I spent the whole time I was reading not knowing if I was coming or going . Who could I trust? What was true and what was a lie? Who was it we saw in the prologue? I tied myself up in some serious knots trying to work out just what was going to happen next (I couldn’t, not even right up near the end).

Although this book had the potential to be incredibly dark and intense, the inclusion of Carrie’s email communications to her friends and family provided a little light relief, and a moment to breath, before you were thrown back into the suspense.

Aside from the tension of the story, I loved reading about the girls’ experiences riding the Trans-Siberian Express, and their time in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) and Irkutsk (Siberia). I have never ventured that far from home, and probably never will, but Susi’s descriptions, aided by her own experiences, made me feel as though I was taking Carrie and Violet’s journey with them, and witnessing all the sights, sounds and smells that they did.

This is the first of Susi’s books that I have read (and I believe my first Orenda publication too) but it certainly won’t be my last. I am so happy to have discovered such an amazing author.


Susi author photoS.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.






There are a lot of amazing bloggers joining me on this tour, so make sure you check them out.

violet 2019

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