Opening sentence: “First, you light a cigarette, the smoke curling in on itself and up towards the ceiling.”
When a two hour plane journey feels like five minutes, you know you have a great read on your hands. Blood Orange kept me company to and from Venice (which is a beyond amazing place, by the way) and even made me secretly pleased the plane was delayed: more time for me to read this!
So, why did I love it so much? Well, it pretty much ticks all the thriller-boxes without being cliched or predictive. Enticing dual plots run side by side: Alison is a busy lawyer who is about to take on her first murder trial. She has a young daughter, husband and on paper her life seems pretty enviable. But, she also has a problem with drinking too much and is having an affair with a colleague. Trying to juggle these two very different sides to her life lead Alison down a dangerous path… Interestingly, I’ve read a few Blood Orange reviews where people took a big dislike to Alison – they did not approve of her at all – but I liked her flawed realism. Striking that life/work balance is a stressful element for many people and – this being a thriller – it explores that theme to the extreme. For me, Alison isn’t a bad character, she’s complex and layered, it’s just she sometimes makes frustrating decisions!
Our second story line involves the characters in Alison’s murder case. Alison’s client is accused of stabbing her husband. Something she doesn’t deny, but Alison feels she’s not being told everything about what happened and makes it her mission (as it is literally her job) to find out the truth. The two stories blend perfectly, while having their own distinct pace and that’s the key to this book’s box-ticking qualities.
What was also great was that the further you go into it, the more the perceptions you have of a majority of the characters are spun on their head, thanks to clever writing and a tight plot that reveals itself at exactly the right moments. I just DID NOT see this ending coming and when you’re reading a thriller, that’s the best feeling. Blood Orange is Harriet Tyce’s debut novel – it’s always exciting to discover a great new author and I’m already hoping book two is in the works!
/ Published by Wildfire February 2019
/ 336 pages
/ Rating: 5/5