Black Wood by SJI Holliday: Banktoun #1, Book Review

Black Wood by SJI Holliday, Black Wood by SJI Holliday: Banktoun #1, Book Review, The Travel Bug Bite

I finished Black Wood by SJI Holliday a few days ago and I am already reading the sequel. SJI or Susi Holliday has been one of my favorite authors ever since I read Violet. Since then I have bought all her books and have been reading the heck out of them. My second read by the author was The Lingering. Both books were completely different and Black Wood was also impossible to compare to the others. I love that this author brings something new and fresh to every book she writes!

Synopsis: Black Wood by SJI Holliday

“Something happened to Claire and Jo in Black Wood: something that left Claire paralyzed 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 Davie 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?”


What I Loved

Jo was a tough character for me to embrace. She was so different from me in her behavior, thoughts and actions. However I was so curious about her story and I couldn’t tear myself away. There were a lot of other characters introduced as well and they were all interesting and unique.

Since there are three books in the Banktoun series, it made sense that more characters were thoroughly introduced. But personally, I wish this happened more in one-off books too. It really adds to the story for me.

Although I ended up calling one of the bigger twists, there were so many other aspects that surprised me. There was so much that I wasn’t expecting at all! Also, it was great to see so many characters who are strong independent women, even if they are still in their teens. Susi Holliday never disappoints!

What I Didn’t Love

I normally don’t like when a series is mostly connected to one character in law enforcement. It is quite common but reminds me of binging police shows when I was younger. Here, however, I was a lot more interested in sargent Davie’s story than I expected to be. I like that he had a history with Jo, the protagonist, that gave them a stronger connection. But I’m here to say what I didn’t love about the book.

I did feel like more could have been done with Claire’s character. I was expecting to learn as much about her life as I did Jo’s and I was disappointed that she wasn’t as prominent. It seemed fitting as she didn’t want to talk about her past or be a burden. But I still wish that we knew more about her daily life and her thoughts on what was happening on the Track.

Summary: Black Wood by SJI Holliday

Black Wood by SJI Holliday was a great book and I am already deep into the sequel. I did have trouble finding this series on Amazon so I had to search on eBay instead. However, where there’s will there’s way and I ended up getting all three books from different used-book sellers. I’m sure these are easier to get in the UK.

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Black Wood by SJI Holliday, Black Wood by SJI Holliday: Banktoun #1, Book Review, The Travel Bug Bite


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