Blood Orange | Harriet Tyce | BOOK REVIEW
Domestic Noir at its Most Delicious!!!
You know when you’re reading a book so much you look forward to going to bed because you can’t wait for the next instalment? This is one of those books. Admittedly, hardcore crime fiction isn’t the right genre for bedtime reading but what can I say, I’m an addict?
When I opened Blood Orange and read through the three pages of ‘Praise for the Book’ prelims I knew I was in for late nights (my one more page syndrome in overdrive) and potentially disturbed sleep but what the hell, which bookworm doesn’t live life on the edge?! And I’m happy to say that all those post-11pm investments were worth it. Blood Orange is a first-class piece of psychological domestic crime fiction and given that it’s Tyce’s debut, I cannot wait for her next offering. Her combination of intriguing characters, a wholly reliable setting, top-notch storytelling skills and drawing on her experiences as a London criminal barrister culminate seamlessly into an unforgettable read.
There are many haunting scenes which will stay with me: the drunk karaoke, that train toilet episode, hide-and-seek with Tilly, turning up at the school gates to collect a child who has already been picked up, and of course the dark, atmospheric denouement which was so completely unexpected. Tyce has the ability to draw you in, paint a vivid picture, get under your skin, provoke a reaction, pile on the pressure, and then leave you to make your own judgements about characters, situations, events and what-ifs. She is a talented crime writer who handles everything with seasoned precision: from the reader to her characters and the intricate plot layers to the expertly depicted milieu. It’s definitely a 5*-read and I can’t recommend it enough if this is your preferred genre.
A well-deserved addition to the Richard & Judy Book Club!
Let me set the scene and give you a brief insight into the Blood Orange plot.
Observing Alison’s life from the outside, she appears to have everything.
Her barrister career is about to hit the big time – she’s been assigned her first murder case in the heart of London – and although she admits to feeling nervous, her close-knit team keep her grounded. At home, she has a loving family – a homemaker husband (and part-time men’s addiction therapist) and their five-year-old daughter, Tilly.
But beneath the veneer lies a different story. Alison’s penchant for alcohol, colleague Patrick, and late nights in chambers is a potentially deadly mix. Furthermore, husband Carl is not as honest and wholesome as he presents at the school gates. It doesn’t take long before his mask slips and you start to read between the lines, wondering if your interpretation of his actions/words are simply because you’re a cynic. As the cracks deepen, however, there are times when you literally want to grab Alison by the shoulders, give her a shake and shout, “Alison, what the hell are you doing? Get a grip. Sort him out. Stop boozing. Look after your baby. You’re a smart woman.”
When Patrick and Alison meet Madeleine, their client who is charged with stabbing her husband to death, something doesn’t quite sit right. But that niggling feeling has to wait until the end before you can enjoy that satisfying, ‘I knew she was hiding something!’. As more red flags emerge in Alison’s personal and professional life, it seems she is rooted at rock bottom with no way back. But then everything descends to a whole new level of Oh. My. God. It’s a heart-stopping, totally unpredictable and anxiety-fuelling rollercoaster of twists and turns. The plot unravels at the perfect pace and you simply don’t know what’s going to happen next. And when the anonymous, scathing messages start messing with her head … and she gets that phone call and discovers the truth about Patrick … and she sees that phone video … and Madeleine breaks down … there is absolutely no way out of this mess. Or is there?
Obviously, I won’t spoil the plot but what I must say is that if ‘A damaged marriage. A toxic affair. A dark obsession.’ tick all your must-read boxes, then you simply have to get your eyeballs on this one!
What a way to start 2021 and feed my crime fiction addiction.
You can buy your copy of Blood Orange from Amazon here:
Keep up the incredible writing, Harriet Tyce, I am waiting for your follow-up along with millions of others!
Watch out for my next 2021 Book Review!