Published by Wildfire
Available in ebook and hardback (21 February 2019)
Source: Copy received from publisher for review
My thanks to Georgina of Headline for the review copy and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the blog tour invitation. I was fortunate to be able to attend the recent NewVoices2019 event featuring Harriet. Listening to her talking about the book made me even more keen to read it. My review is below but first the about the book bit…
About the Book
AN ELECTRIFYING DEBUT THRILLER FOR FANS OF APPLE TREE YARD AND ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL – INTRODUCING A STUNNING NEW VOICE IN PSYCHOLOGICAL SUSPENSE
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….
Alison is a successful criminal law barrister who seems hell-bent on pressing that self-destruct button. Outwardly she has a home life to envy with an adorable young daughter, a husband who takes care of the house and childcare whilst she works and she has just been given her first murder case, a big step up the ladder in her career. She also has a drink problem and a lack of self-control – one drink is never enough and inevitably she ends up making a fool of herself in front of friends and colleagues and worse, making decisions that she would regret. In this category, falls her continuing affair with a colleague. She knows that she should stop it but she just can’t bring herself to actually do it …and mean it.
When I first started reading this I really struggled to feel any empathy for Alison because of her reckless behaviour. Even though her drunken binges didn’t seem to adversely affect the way she did her job, I didn’t like the way she neglected her family when she didn’t have to and whilst her love for her daughter was never in doubt, she was too easily side-tracked by the thought of another drink or another illicit meeting with the sometimes charming but rather quite odious Patrick. However as the story went on, with more tantalising disclosures together with reading between the lines, my opinion of her slowly changed and the more I began to understand, the more I was on her side.
The story is not just about Alison although she is the main character and the story is told from her perspective. The client she has been asked to defend has been accused of murdering her husband. At first sight it looks a straightforward case but as the defence case is prepared, it becomes clear that there are unsettling parallels between the lives of Alison and her client Madeleine.
It’s really difficult to review this in detail without giving away spoilers. Blood Orange is a both a domestic and legal thriller, with adult content, and a dark and disturbing storyline involving control and manipulation. Just when you think you know which way the story is heading, the author throws a curveball and you’re left blindsided. There were one or two aspects that I had guessed, but nothing could prepare me for the conclusion.
Blood Orange is the author’s debut novel and it is an absolute cracker. Tyce was a barrister herself for 10 years so the legal aspects are totally realistic. It is so cleverly structured and the characterisations are superbly done – any author who can bring their characters to life and make you feel such strong emotion, whether it be dislike or sympathy, has done their job well.
This is another sure-fire contender for my top books of the year. I loved it and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. It makes for very uncomfortable reading at times and there are parts that may shock but its actually a very topical read and just so compelling.
I was delighted when Harriet signed my proof copy at the above mentioned New Voices event in London but I enjoyed the book so much, I had to buy a finished hardback to keep it company. That’s why there’s a different book picture – actually it’s because of the daffodils. Who doesn’t love them!
It has just been announced that Blood Orange has been optioned for a TV series by World Productions. This is excellent news but no surprise – it would make an excellent TV drama and I can’t wait.
About the Author
Harriet Tyce was born and grew up in Edinburgh. She graduated from the University of Oxford in 1994 with a degree in English Literature before gaining legal qualifications. She worked as a criminal barrister for ten years, leaving after the birth of her first child. She completed an MA in Creative Writing – Crime Fiction at UEA where she wrote Blood Orange, which is her first novel.