Willow Walk (Banktoun Trilogy) By SJI Holliday ***Blog Tour***

I am delighted to be the next stop on the blog tour for the wonderful Willow Walk. Today you can see my thoughts as well as being able to share an excerpt with you.

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Book Description:

When the past catches up, do you run and hide or stand and fight?

When a woman is brutally attacked on a lonely country road by an escaped inmate from a nearby psychiatric hospital, Sergeant Davie Gray must track him down before he strikes again. But Gray is already facing a series of deaths connected to legal highs and a local fairground, as well as dealing with his girlfriend Marie’s bizarre behaviour. As Gray investigates the crimes, he suspects a horrifying link between Marie and the man on the run – but how can he confront her when she’s pushing him away? As a terrified Marie is pulled back into a violent past she thought she’d escaped, she makes an irrevocable decision. And when events come to a head at a house party on Willow Walk, can Gray piece together the puzzle in time to stop the sleepy town of Banktoun being rocked by tragedy once more?

My Thoughts:

Willow Walk is the second novel in the Banktoun trilogy, Black Wood being the first.

Black Wood was a really enjoyable novel that was dark and steeped with lies and secrets. Well I am pleased to say we get all that again in Willow Walk but there is also an added creepiness about this book which I loved.

The story tends to alternate between the story itself and letters sent from Graeme to his sister. These letters really creeped me out. You can tell who ever this Graeme is, has some serious issues and the letters really don’t make for pleasant reading at all!

It was great to meet back up with Davie again as he was one of my favourite characters from the first novel. He certainly seems to have his plate full with a dead body turning up, escaped inmate and illegal highs, it wouldn’t be so bad if things were good in his personal life, but unfortunately they don’t seem to be going great either.

Even though I love a good old detective crime series, what I love about this trilogy is that the police work tends to be more in the back ground. It very much focuses on the residents of Banktoun instead. I think this makes it more engaging to the reader as I very much could feel what Laura and Marie especially were going through.

The main storyline of Graeme and his sister really grabs you by the throat. It’s hard to say to much without giving some of the story away but what I will say was that it takes a lot to shock me but shock me it did. It certainly left me with chills going up and down my spine.

Even though this is the second novel in a trilogy, I think it works very well as a stand alone novel though it is great getting to know Davie especially in Black Wood.

Willow Walk is a dark and shocking read that will chill you to the bone. Highly recommended.

Many thanks to Black & White Publishing for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads rating 4/5 stars.

Willow Walk: A creepy and compelling psychological thriller (Banktoun Trilogy) is out now and available to purchase from Amazon.

 

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Excerpt:

PROLOGUE

Four bodies. Vague shapes.

A stale, sticky smell. Spilled beer and vomit. Cigarette smoke. Weed. A sudden flash from the night before: a couple behind the sofa, bangs and thrusts. An audience looking on. The girl riding and bucking. Big grin on her face, eyes closed. Oblivious.

She walks slowly towards the sofa, crouches down. Peers around the back. They’re still there, arms wrapped around each other. Totally out of it. A mist of sex lingers. Something else. Something stronger.

That makes six.

Her head spins as she stands up. Her eyes sting. She has a vague memory of waking up in darkness, peeling contact lenses off her parched eyes, tugging at dry eyeballs. She can barely see without them, everything fuzzy-edged and hard to decipher. She squints, stumbles against the sofa. A head lolls against her.

‘Shh, sorry,’ she says, low, under her breath. No response. A girl is draped at an awkward angle, long dark hair trailing on the floor. A man sits, head leaning off one side of the sofa; his soft hair tickles her hand. She nudges him gently and his head rolls back onto his chest as she moves carefully away.

Try not to wake them.

On the other side of the room, a skinny figure lies splayed across an armchair, head hanging off one side, legs off the other. Under the window, a girl is curled up and facing the wall. Her fair hair is matted and spread out around her like the head of an old mop.
The room shifts. Tilts.

She feels sick. Brings up bile and swallows it back. The syrupy taste of Red Bull burns the back of her throat. Memories of vodka and cheap fizzy wine whirl around her head and her stomach like an aspirin fizzing in water.

All around, there are shadows. Dark patches and pools. Spilled things. Dirty things. She squints, trying to work out who is who, what is what. But her eyes hurt too much. Her head thrums, and the smell is getting worse. Body odour. Piss. Carnage and decay. Bottles and cans everywhere. Discarded bits of clothing. Upended ashtrays. Her stomach lurches again. She has to get out. Now.

It’s too quiet. Too claustrophobic.
She lifts the latch. The door opens with a squeak, and she flinches. Hears a soft thud from somewhere behind her. She turns back. Sees that the girl from the sofa’s hand has slid off from where it had been resting on her stomach, and it now flops uselessly on the laminate flooring. But she hasn’t woken up.

There’s a faint banging sound. Tap. Tap. Tap. A draught.

Someone has left the back door open. Maybe someone is out there now, having a fag, or a morning sup from one of the cans of warm beer she imagines to be littering the kitchen worktops. She hesitates. Should she go through? Offer to help clear up? Sort out the drunken mess of bodies scattered across the lounge like a pile of coats?

She squeezes her eyes shut and sparks flip and leap across her vision. No. She has to get out. She needs air, water and sleep. She needs a wash too. A long hot bath, to get rid of the stink that seems to be seeping into her pores from the toxic air. She needs to shake off the memories of the night before, threatening and bothering at her like tiny pinpricks jabbing at her skull.

Something happened. Something went wrong.

She walks out into the early morning sun, shielding her eyes. She takes a gulp of fresh air and feels the nausea subside – for now, at least. A chorus of blackbirds twitters in the trees. Will she manage to walk home without bumping into someone, or something . . . or getting knocked down by a car as she stumbles, half-blind, down the road?

She bangs the door shut. Hard. Starts walking. Fast.

Something pings at her. Get away from here. You need to get away.

Behind her in the house, no one flinches. No one stirs.

 

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