Blackwood – Haddington/Banktoun – Scotland – SJI Holliday


Why a booktrail?

A small Scottish town wracked by a crime and riddled with secrets

Story in a nutshell

Black Wood, close to Banktoun nr Edinburgh – something happened to two young girls here leaving Claire paralysed and Jo with deep mental scars. Claire is no longer able to talk of the event due to her injuries and no one really believes Jo’s story.

23 years later, a man wanders into the bookshop where Jo now works…

At the same time, in the sleepy village of Banktoun, a man clad in a balaclava is attacking women near a disused railway.

Sergeant Davie Gray has to unravel a tangled web of past secrets, broken friendships and wake  up a sleepy village which has slumbered for too long…

Place and setting – Haddington (nr Edinburgh)

Haddington - is Banktoun The High St Market St -  Kesley's Bookshop Burnside and the railway walk  Black Wood - there is a Blackwood just a few miles out of Haddington
Haddington – is Banktoun
The High St
Market St – Kesley’s Bookshop
Burnside and the railway walk
Black Wood – there is a Blackwood just a few miles out of Haddington

Banktoun (fictional) is a sleepy village 15 miles or so from Edinburgh. Black Wood is the darkly named and even darker setting for the crime which changes the lives of two young girls for ever.

An event so shocking and chilling that Jo is left in a wheelchair traumatised. Blurred images are all they have left of the two boys who were spying on them. Flashbacks which they don’t know if they can trust.

He spots the two girls through the cracked screen of beech, sycamore and leg-scratching gorse: a flash of red skirt and a unison of giggles

Not somewhere you’d want to be and even less where you’d want to go back to. so when a man wanders into Banktoun books on the High street where Claire works

A small town, dark and claustrophobic where secrets are best kept buried and the darkest ones appear to have stayed buried in the wood. And in that house in Black Wood, the walls have ears and eyes it would seem –

The heavy wooden door swung open with a creak, and instantly the atmosphere changed. The fresh mulchy air of the surrounding wood was instantly replace with a cloud of stale, airless fog

With chapters named either ‘the Woods’ or ‘the boy’ the atmosphere evoked is one of dark deeds and even darker emotions such as resentment, hate and revenge.

As you dare to enter the wood, walking further and further, the twists come thick and fast, watch out for the branches that could take you off in another direction and watch out where you’re walking…

This is a  town where no one really knows each other, not really

Booktrail Review – Susan

Blimey just as well Banktoun is not really a place as you will not want to go there after reading this! It does capture perfectly however the small town thinking and the sense of isolation of a small Scottish town and look at the kinds of characters that might live here. Oddballs living in a small space is a great set up for a chilly thriller and with dark woods nearby, the whole sense is one of black moods, buried secrets and chilling revelations.

I really want to point out that the inspiration for Banktoun – ie Haddington is a lovely lovely place and the author’s home town. The inspiration for Blacktoun yes, but in reality, this place could not be more far removed in every way. A lovely place to visit – quiet, with the feel of a village in the countryside, perfect for children and with a gorgeous bookshop that even gets a mention.

Still a nice place to visit to get the feel of a nice small town just on the outskirts of Edinburgh!

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