Title: Blood Orange
Author: Harriet Tyce
Publisher: Wildfire Books
Format reviewed: paperback
Source: bought it
Publication date: January 2020
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….
Blood Orange, or one of those books that make you feel everything so intensely than by the time you reach the end, you feel as if you’ve run a marathon! Without the actual sweat, but with all the fabulous endorphins.
Alison is the perfect character for a study. On the surface, she has it all. A great career as a solicitor, a nice house, a loving husband and a cute child. Picture perfect. Then Harriet Tyce adds the reality filter. Scrap the perfect. What is left is a struggling woman. A protagonist drowning in muddy waters. I love grey areas and characters who make me think ‘what would I do?’ or ‘what the hell is wrong with you???’ I asked myself those questions A LOT while I was reading Blood Orange.
Alison drinks a lot. She is having an affair with someone from work, a terrible idea when you get handed your first big case, a murder! Also, our woman is torn by the infamous dilemma so many have to face every day; work or family? You can’t be a two places at once, and often, you end up thinking about work when you’re home, or thinking how you are missing your daughter’s days by staying late in the office. Impossible choices, right?
Well, it depends! Now let’s dissect Alison. No, not literally, silly reader.
The drinking issue. You see, I had been sitting on my review for days when I attended a fantastic crime evening in London, where I was able to meet Harriet Tyce. I remember the alcohol being discussed and the reaction it triggered in some readers. Personally, I was shocked by the amount of non-soft drinks she gulps down (Alison, not Harriet!) I don’t drink at all, otherwise I turn into a sopping mess (and I don’t like the taste of it anyway) but I do know I’m not the norm. Still, she could open a liquor store with all those liters!! Harriet mentioned American readers feeling the same way as I did, whereas most British reviewers had not even considered the question. Ha! I love it when the culture you were born into gets in the way and make you stop and think (not saying French people don’t drink, hey, wine country!) I found this aspect fascinating, but most of all, it was the way the author had inserted those flaws and details into her character’s life that really blew my mind.
Being busy and over-stressed is one of the big problems of today’s society. You can feel Alison being on the edge in every single sentence. Her bad judgments could sometimes be blamed on it, but I will be honest, I really wanted to slap her at times. In fact, I don’t think I liked her very much. This being said, I was totally engrossed in the spiral she found herself in, both personally and professionally, so the author did a great job. It is easier to find a read gripping when you relate to the characters, but the task becomes much harder when you want to shake her to death!!!!
Patrick – the love affair. Oh, dear Alison, if you want to make time for your neglected family, stop messing around!!! Yes, I am judging, yes, I am totally rolling my eyes at her, but hey, see how she makes me jump and want to make things right? Sitting on my chair, it seems so easy to make the right decisions and put an end to a toxic relationship. I said I didn’t like Alison much, but I did want her to get better, to sort things out, and for me, this is the sign of a fantastically written character, one of those who keep you involved throughout a full book.
If you think your hands are full with Alison, you are wrong! Blood Orange mixes an explosive cast with an intense and complex murder case. A woman is found near the body of her dead husband. She doesn’t deny killing him. Straight case? Hahahaha, you wish! Harriet Tyce brings her expertise into this dark file, dropping hints, probing the reader until they push and push to get the right answers… and the right questions.
This novel is packed with good intentions, bad decisions, and twists which make you think you’ve drunk a full bottle of tequila! It’s addictive, it’s powerful, and it’s simply delicious.
You can find the book here!