Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce Wildfire Books February 21st 2019
An utterly addictive, spectacularly dark psychological thriller that explores
the power of desire, jealousy and betrayal. Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems . . . Just one more night. Then I’ll end it. Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle. I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up. Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself. I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing. But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything . . .
The scene was set, the cigarette smoke trailed into the air and the orange with a knife was ready, according to the prologue of Harriet Tyce’s hotly anticipated debut Blood Orange. The question that I asked myself was, was I ready and just what did Tyce have in store for me? The simple answer was a lot, and Tyce gave me no opportunity to catch my breath, as events got a little bit weird and twisted.
But first of all what about the characters? Don’t expect to like them because I didn’t, I found them all quite self absorbed and in some cases frustrating. In no way did this spoil the story, in fact it very definitely added to it, it gave the narrative its tense, nervous and sharp feel.
At the beginning I really didn’t like our main protagonist, Alison, an up and coming barrister embroiled in an affair, who drank too much and appeared to be putting her whole family at risk. There was no doubting that she loved her daughter, but you had to feel sorry for her stay at home husband, forced to pick up the pieces of her drunken escapades and seemingly oblivious to her affair. There was no questioning her skill as a barrister and her handling of her client’s murder charge, but you did wonder if she would be able to get it together to not only save her client but also herself.
Her husband Carl, on the other hand seemed in control, capable and efficient but as the novel progressed I sensed something that wasn’t quite right, a bit like an itch that you cannot get rid of no matter how hard you try.
As the two navigated their way through their marriage, so Tyce took us on a roller coaster ride that you knew you did not want to get off until you discovered the whole truth. Tyce took us one way and then another, and I never knew who was telling the truth and who was lying and I have to admit to being absolutely hooked as I was drawn deeper and deeper into Tyce’s compelling plot.
It was Tyce’s ability to run almost two separate storylines side by side, the edges blurred at times, that made it so compelling. She never confused the reader, the legal jargon was minimal, used only when needed and easy to understand, testament to Tyce’s own background as a criminal barrister. It gave the novel an element of realism and I wouldn’t have been surprised if what she wrote about had actually or would at sometime happen in the future.
Blood Orange was one of those novels that demanded to be read in one sitting, it was compulsive, compelling and pretty damn good, so forget those plans you had this weekend, get comfy and enjoy!
I would like to thank Wildfire Books for a copy of Blood Orange to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Harriet Tyce grew up in Edinburgh and studied English at Oxford University before
doing a law conversion course at City University. She practised as a criminal barrister in London for nearly a decade. She is currently doing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.
She lives in north London. Blood Orange is her debut novel.
Find Harriet on Twitter on @harriet_tyce