Psychological Suspense: The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly

A stunning suspense debut!

No one ever said growing up would be easy, but Karen Clarke never expected it to be quite so hard. Having spent the last few years dutifully pursuing a college degree and making all the sensible choices about her future, Karen has a chance encounter with a free-spirited and captivating drama student named Biba that throws her careful plans out the window. Intoxicated by Biba’s friendship, Karen finds herself caught up in a hedonistic world of drugs, sex and a total lack of responsibility. She is fiercely devoted to Biba and will do almost anything to protect her friend, until one night ends with two people dead. The resulting string of events will test Karen’s loyalty and call into question everything she has come to believe–including the lines she herself is willing to cross in order to keep from losing everything she holds dear.

The Poison Tree, Erin Kelly’s first novel, is a stunning debut. Perfectly paced, it starts with a bang and teems with twists that will keep you guessing right up until its thrilling and shocking conclusion. Kelly masterfully ratchets up the suspense, constantly causing readers to reappraise what is true as well as which dark and dirty secret will be unearthed next, all while nimbly maneuvering back and forth in time to keep tensions running high.

Veteran mystery fans looking for nail-biting thrills will find plenty that is fresh and surprising about The Poison Tree, and Kelly’s masterful plotting and intricately crafted story make the comparisons to Tana French and Donna Tartt well-deserved. Exhilarating and satisfying, this is a book that reminds us just how rewarding and flat-out fun a really good book can be. Take the phone off the hook and cancel your evening plans, because this is one book you’ll want to read from cover to cover in order to see how everything shakes out.

Check out this link to see Erin’s book -be prepared to be scared!

Book Review

From an incredible new voice in psychological suspense, a novel about the secrets that remain after a final bohemian summer of excess turns deadly.

This taut psychological thriller begins when Karen and her nine-year- old daughter, Alice, pick up Rex from a ten-year stint in prison for murder. Flash back to the sultry summer in 1990s London when Karen, a straight-A student on the verge of college graduation, first meets the exotic, flamboyant Biba and joins her louche life in a crumbling mansion in Highgate. She begins a relationship with Biba’s enigmatic and protective older brother, Rex, and falls into a blissful rhythm of sex, alcohol, and endless summer nights. Naïvely, Karen assumes her newfound happiness will last forever. But Biba and Rex have a complicated family history-one of abandonment, suicide, and crippling guilt-and Karen’s summer of freedom is about to end in blood. When old ghosts come back to destroy the life it has taken Karen a decade to build, she has everything to lose. She will do whatever it takes to protect her family and keep her secret. Alternating between the fragile present and the lingering past with a shocker of an ending, The Poison Tree is a brilliant suspense debut that will appeal to readers of Kate Atkinson, Donna Tartt, and Tana French.

An entertaining novel that continually keeps moving. The characters themselves are the highlight of this story, which is a bit unusual with a suspense storyline. Each of the main characters is charming and flawed, each in different ways. Knowing that there was a secret and murder involved didn’t lead me to guess the ending until the moment everything came together. The back story of the characters was not overdone or boring at any time.

The writing moves back and forth between the present and the past, but often with no warning, just a change in paragraph. This format had me reading bits and pieces over again in order to get reacclimated with what was going on. Had it been separated out more clearly this problem could have been omitted from the book. Despite that one flaw, once you can follow the rhythm of the book, it’s easily enjoyable.

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