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 them 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 whos is attacking women on a disused railway, shocking the sleept 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?
Published: 19th March 2015
Format: Paperback 198x129mm
Extent: 352 pages
SJI Holliday grew up in East Lothian. A life-long fan of crime and horror, her short stories have been published in various places, and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham competition. She is married and lives in London.
"A deliciously dark thriller with a shocking secret at its heart."
Fergus McNeill, author of Eye Contact
"A dark, chilling read that moves fast and builds to a brilliant climax. Superb."
Steve Cavanagh, author of The 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 of Where 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 of From The Cradle
"Darkly atmospheric and utterly absorbing."
Jane Isaac, author of The 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 of Dodger
"A deeply unsettling story of bad deeds, complex loyalties and secrets better left buried, Black Wood is a thrilling debut which grips from the very first page and doesn't let go."
Eva Dolan, author of Long Way Home
"Holliday has a knack for creating fascinating, well-observed, and sometimes quirky characters. Black Wood is 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 of The Judas Scar
"Hugely satisfying twists and great characterisation, creepy and astute."
Sarah Hilary, author of Someone Else's Skin
"A chilling exploration of the darkness that can hide in even the smallest of communities. A superb debut."
David Jackson, author of The Helper
"I was drawn into Black 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 of Watching Over You