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Book Review – Violet | Susi Holliday

‘Violet’ by Susi Holliday

Genre: Psychological Thriller/ Mystery

Published: September 2019, Orenda Books

Swathi’s Rating: 5/5

Verdict: Fast-paced, erotic and terrifying journey!

October has been so kind to me so far as I’ve been reading some brilliant 5 star books back to back and loving the time spent! This weekend, I picked to read Violet; intrigued and impressed by the exotic experience the premise promised to offer. And I’m proud to say that I’ve added another 5 star book to my collection!!

If you’re a reader looking for the most original plot for a sinister and suspenseful thriller, set in the far-flung, foreign locations then you must be adding Orenda Books to your list. This publisher picks THE best titles from some of the brilliant authors from across the globe with such passion that every single one of their books are a treat to read and to look at! (You must check out their cover jackets!!)

Go ahead, read the plot. Guess a little and get ready to be baffled away!

About the Book:

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…

My Thoughts:

The plot of this book is just that. Two strangers Carrie and Violet, both in their 30s, backpacking alone, meet while waiting for the Trans-Siberian Express. Both of them are looking for company for their long journey ahead, and hope to God that they’re right for each other. The journey begins, and so does the tension between the ladies until everything shatters and true colors are revealed.

Now let’s talk about the psychological elements that makes this book tense and terrifying as it is.

The Setting:
The girls travel throughout the book. So if you’re someone who loves reading about train journeys, camel safaris, meeting people from across the world, and exploring various cultures, then you’re in for a treat!

PS: As much exotic as it sounds, it’s also equally terrifying when the picturesque journey is described through the eyes of a murderous psychopath.

The Characters:
It’s so tough to create a psychological thriller with little characters without causing redundancy or letting the pace sag in between. You wouldn’t believe it when I say, there are literally only two main characters here! TWO!!! for crying out loud. How Susi managed to achieve such level of exceptionally exciting, highly original premise is beyond my imagination. These characters are equally intense, and unreliable making them the most dangerous pair.

The Narration:
The narration is where I fell hard. Susi Holliday manipulates her readers to such extent that it’s almost as if she has hypnotised you to follow her blindly through this terrifying journey, not knowing what is real and what’s not!

After reading this review, one might think I’ve gone mental. But that’s the psychological effect the book has on me and it’s completely, utterly compelling! It’s something every reader who is a fan of crime thriller fiction must to read in their lifetime and I’m just so glad I chose to read this one!

PPS: Susi says she was on a trip-the-world trip taking the Trans-Siberian express which inspired her for the story. This gives me more creeps as I wonder Who on Earth did she meet on that trip! 😁😯🤔

Meet the Author:

Susi (S.J.I.) Holliday grew up near Edinburgh and spent many years working in her family’s newsagent and pub before studying microbiology and statistics at university. She has worked as a statistician in the pharmaceutical industry for over 16 years, but it was on a 6-month round-the-world-trip that she took with her husband 10 years ago that she rediscovered her passion for writing. Her first novel, BLACK WOOD was published in 2015, the second, WILLOW WALK in June 2016, and the third, THE DAMSELFLY in February 2017. Her most recent novel THE DEATHS OF DECEMBER (as Susi Holliday) came out in Nov 2017. Her next book, THE LINGERING, was released in November 2018. You can find out more at, or on Twitter and Facebook @SJIHolliday.


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