SJI Holliday

Black Wood

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He spots the two girls through the cracked screen of beech, sycamore and leg-scratching gorse: a flash of red skirt and a unison of giggles … The smaller girl sees him first and she lets out a strange little squeak and jumps back, grabbing onto the other girl’s T-shirt, revealing a flash of milky white shoulder.
He grins.

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 David 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?
REVIEWS
‘A deliciously dark thriller with a shocking secret at its heart’
Fergus McNeill, author ofEye Contact
‘A dark, chilling read that moves fast and builds to a brilliant climax. Superb.’
Steve Cavanagh, author ofThe Defence
‘In her atmospheric debut, Holliday effectively and spookily evokes small-town claustrophobia and backbiting. An edgy and authentic new voice in crime fiction.’
Anya Lipska, author ofWhere the Devil Can’t Go
‘A fast-paced and chilling psychological thriller from an exciting new talent. If you liked Broadchurch, you’ll love this.’
Mark Edwards and Louise Voss, authors ofFrom The Cradle
‘Darkly atmospheric and utterly absorbing.’
Jane Isaac, author ofThe Truth Will Out
‘A plot which weaves and twists its way around a tight-knit community… [where] old sins return to haunt some damaged people and the atmosphere is thick with unspoken dread… You won’t read a more shocking, or satisfying, thriller this year.’
James Benmore, author ofDodger
‘A deeply unsettling story of bad deeds, complex loyalties and secrets better left buried,Black Woodis a thrilling debut which grips from the very first page and doesn’t let go.’
Eva Dolan, author ofLong Way Home
‘Holliday has a knack for creating fascinating, well-observed, and sometimes quirky characters.Black Woodis dark and twisty with a creepy atmosphere that pervades this compelling tale from first page to last. I was gripped. A fantastic new voice on the block.’
Amanda Jennings, author ofThe Judas Scar
‘Hugely satisfying twists and great characterisation, creepy and astute.’
Sarah Hilary, author ofSomeone Else’s Skin
‘A chilling exploration of the darkness that can hide in even the smallest of communities. A superb debut.’
David Jackson, author ofThe Helper
‘I was drawn intoBlack Wood— drip-fed with intrigue, mystery and menace. It has an absorbing storyline with interesting and engaging characters. An exciting debut novel.’
Mel Sherratt, author ofWatching Over You
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299 printed pages
Original publication
2015

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