Cover Image: Blood Orange

Blood Orange

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Member Reviews

Wow! Just wow! Blood Orange was really good! Harriet Tyce builds a slow burn with this book, but once the poo hits the ceiling wow does it ever! The murder trail kept me glued to my kindle and sadly skimming the parts of Allison’s marriage falling apart.... at her hands of course. 
I look forward to reading more from Harriet!
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Alison has a great life - a loving husband, a charming daughter, and a rising law career - she’s even been given her first murder case. 
However her life is hanging on by a thread - she drinks too much, neglects her family, and is having an affair with a colleague. 

Alison struggles to council her client who claims to have killed her husband and she realizes that there may be more to the case than she realized. However someone is watching Alison and knows she has her own secrets and wants to make her pay for what she’s done. 
.

So this was an almost DNF for me.. I kept wanting to put it down and leave it but I hate to not finish a book. The beginning was insanely slow and boring for me. It wasn’t until I was almost 40% into the book that I got invested into what was going on and my interest was peaked. I’m glad I pushed thru because the ending of this book was just WOW. Insane. 

Rating: ✰ ✰ ✰ 1/2
The reason I’m giving this rating is because while the first part of the book was slow, once I got invested it really saved the book for me. 

Thank you @netgalley for this free copy.
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This was good! I'd been looking forward to reading it. Didnt really have an idea how it would end so it was a litle shocking.
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I have been eyeing Blood Orange for some time so when I saw it was on Netgalley for review, I jumped on it. After finishing it, I'm not sure why it hasn't gotten more attention. The story borders somewhere between a legal thriller and a domestic thriller and suited my tastes much better than any of the recent buzzy thrillers from Ruth Ware, Riley Sager or Tarryn Fisher.

Alison is a lawyer whose life, from the outside seems picture perfect, she's got the perfect little family and a career on the rise. But it turns out that behind closed doors, things are messier than ever. Her marriage is strained, she's embroiled in an affair and has a bit of a drinking problem. She is not even slightly a likable character but that doesn't keep you from wondering just what is really going on, both in her new murder case and in her family life.

Tyce weaves breadcrumbs throughout the story that lead you to the solution of both mysteries in a masterful way. The story and its twists kept me up two nights in a row not wanting to go to bed without knowing exactly how things were going to go. Be forewarned there are lots of violent scenes and it can be a bit of a slow burn at times but it's so worth it. There are quite a few shocking reveals and the story wraps up in a really satisfying way.

Thanks to Grand Central Publishing and Netgalley for a review copy in exchange for an honest opinion.
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Journalist Joan Harken never really had a home when she was a child. Now pregnant, she travels with her fiancee to his hometown in Lillydale, Minnesota. It will be nice, she believes to have her child in a real home with a community of supportive locals. But the locals are a little too friendly, barging in whenever they want, asking intrusive questions, and, Joan believes, watching her every move. And what about the little boy who vanished from this “perfect” town? It turns out that small towns can be just as deadly as any big city, maybe more so…..
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2.5 stars

I really really tried to love this book. The writing was good and it was a page turner for sure. BUT the way the protagonist kept going back and forth about what she was going to do about her husband and the guy she is having the affair with...it drove me nuts. Pick a damn guy...make a decision and stick with it. She came off as needy and weak and drank like a fish. 

The sub-plot with the murderess was a bit better and I liked the court room and law office dramatics. But I figured out all three of the reveals before the first hundred pages. Harriet Tyce can write, that is not in question, I just didn't like the back and forth and indecisions of the drunken lawyer, nothing was surprising and there was a lot going on.
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I set this aside without finishing it because the character of the husband was just so unbelievable.
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Alison Wood is burning the candle at both ends in both her personal and professional life. She works long hours as a busy barrister in London and has just landed her first ever murder case. Unfortunately, the advising solicitor on the case is the man with whom she has been having a sordid affair with over the past months.

She drinks to excess whenever the slightest opportunity arises. The pressures of work, a rocky marriage, and being the principal bread-winner for the family is taking its toll.

The drinking and the long hours in the city are putting her marriage in jeopardy – and her husband Carl doesn’t even know about her affair. Alison doesn’t play a large part in her daughter’s life, and the whole family dynamic is suffering as a result.

Then, amidst all this turmoil, Alison begins to receive threatening text messages. Someone doesn’t like what she has been doing…

Alison begins to compare her life to that of the woman she is defending in a murder case. Perhaps they have more in common than Alison would like…

MY THOUGHTS

I have to say that for most of the book, Alison is NOT a very likable protagonist. Yet despite this, I found I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I guess it is the old ‘train wreck‘ psychology. You just know that something bad has happened and you are compelled to view it for yourself despite the sure fact it will be disturbing.

Alison was a hard person to empathize with. She was a clever, attractive barrister with a career on the up. She was married to a psychotherapist, and is the mother of a darling six-year old daughter. Yet still she jeopardized it all for an affair. And not an affair for love. An affair that was demeaning, degrading, and sordid. Why, we wonder?

Gradually we realize that Alison’s marriage has been in jeopardy for over two years. Around about the time that her husband Carl was made redundant.

Well folks, at about the 3/4 mark I started to empathize with Alison more. It was at about that point that this novel – which had already gripped me – turned into a true page-turner. I literally couldn’t bear to put the book down.

Domestic thriller/Psychological thriller/Legal thriller, this novel will be appreciated by all those readers who like any of these genres.

It is impossible to discern while reading that this is a debut novel. The writing is polished and compelling. I’m sure that the author will be one whom readers of this novel will follow throughout her career. I know for certain that I will be.  Highly recommended.
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Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra 

Blood Orange is the first novel by Harriet Tyce. I must say…what a first. From the get go, I was engulfed in the story. This psychological thriller had me on the edge of my seat – sometimes shaking my head with the antics of the main protagonist (Alison) and at other times hoping Alison would get through unscathed.

The story begins with Alison, a barrister, is happily married (or is she?) with a young child, wonderful husband (Carl) and a promising career. Alison is also having an affair with a co-worker (Peter) and drinks to excess. What is she running from… and why? And she is handed her first murder case. Being on the path to self destruction (it sure seems that way), how can Alison manage her clients defense. The client (Madeleine Smith) wants to plead guilty as she did stab and kill her husband (Edwin), but all does not seem as it should. As Alison digs deeper, the road gets murkier. 

Okay…having an affair with a co-worker was not kosher behavior, especially when Patrick (the lover) comes to Alison and Carl’s home – that was just weird. However, we quickly learn that Carl is not as nice as he lets on. In fact, by the end, I did not like Carl at all. I certainly felt sorry for Matilda (Alison and Carl’s daughter) … a drunk for a mother and a “???” for a father. Obviously I can’t fill in the “???” – that is for the reader to discover. Some of Carl’s actions were reprehensible. It is too bad that Alison was so focused on her career to notice Carl and his inappropriate actions.

I suppose what was a surprise was that while Alison was drinking in excess and cavorting with a colleague, she still maintained a successful career. How does one really do that?  Though of course, the career did get affected by all of the inappropriate behavior.

There are many intriguing story lines that flow along side the main story line and keep you just distracted enough so that this reader was entertained and engrossed in reading until the very end. Surprisingly, or not, I did not figure out all the story lines until very near the end. Certainly the way I like my mysteries and thrillers.

One aspect that did bother me was Alison’s drinking to excess, especially since she is a mother to a young child. But the family dynamics are such, I suppose it is not surprising. The family story-line was a bit dark and at times I just shook my head in dismay at the behaviour of both Alison and her husband. 

I am most certainly going to be on the lookout for more novels by Harriet Tyce in the future. This psychological thriller captured my attention and never let me go until the end. 

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
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(Extract of my interview with Harriet Tyce, for The Palm Beach Post. Posting the part pertaining to the review)
Alison, Tyce’s protagonist, is the perfect picture of someone who keeps hitting rock bottom, yet manages to present a tidy facade at work. A barrister in London, Alison drinks to cope with her unhappiness in having an affair with her colleague Patrick, an attractive and charismatic manipulator who often instigates Alison’s bad behavior by enticing her to do things she doesn’t really want to do.

While Alison and Patrick work together on a complicated criminal case, she begins receiving threatening messages from an anonymous source, who seems hell-bent on destroying not only her life, but also her sanity.
The book is not a light or fluffy read.  Alison is most definitely an appalling character, but is in the end a good person despite her reckless choices.

"Blood Orange” has a staggering finale that is guaranteed to leave readers shocked.
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As I have said a few times here on this blog, I am starting to steer away from books with cheating spouses - I just don't like to read books with this as the subject matter anymore.  So beyond the main storyline with Alison cheating on her spouse there was another one that kept me entertained and reading til the last page - Alison worked in the chambers in London and her first murder gets on to her desk and maybe because of her relationship with a Patrick.  At the same time that this murder is taking over her life, her marriage is falling apart and the two just may be connected.

I loved the few bits where she was interviewing the wife of the murdered man and she was getting to the bottom of the murder - the who what where when and why.  I was usually one step ahead of the main character Allison, but was glad for the confirmation when I was correct.  

The writing was good, so I would definitely try another one from this author, just hope it doesn't have cheaters in it.  The pacing was fine since I had to consider that the entire plot did not revolve around Allison's murder trial - although I wish it did!

I just couldn't enjoy the affair and its affects, especially since in this book there is a young child involved.  There was a little redemption at the end, but don't want to completely spoil it and give it all away.  If books with affairs don't bother you then I would completely recommend it.
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Gosh, I disliked the main character. I spent the first 40% of this book visualising different ways I could track this barrister down and scream at her. I mean for god sakes woman step away from the drink and be a mother and PLEASE do not get me started on her patronising ‘everybody feel sorry for me’ husband. I DID feel sorry for him – until he said something and then I wanted to scream at him too for being so harsh with his wife! 
I did feel like this – until 40% in and then the whole narrative started to shift slightly. You begin rooting for the MC and then it hits you like a bus that it was all intentional. Harriet Tyce wanted you to think negatively of her leading lady because when she starts to spin the story and gives you deeper snippets into her life you begin rooting for her. It was quite clever actually the way the book started and the way it ended. The way your attitude changes with every chapter you read, it makes you realises that you should never judge a book (ha!) but its cover. 
It was in the end a compelling, disturbingly toxic, hot mess of a psychological thriller that for me just got better and better with every chapter I read. The last few chapters I raced through because I had a strong NEED to know WTF is actually going on and that revelation when it came was just dynamite. 
Trust me when I say take your time with this. Don’t just DNF it because the actual thrill comes gradually as you read. It is story building at its best and you won’t see that ending coming. Great debut by @harriet_tyce ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Zubs 💛💋
Thank you to Morgan and Grand Central Publishing for the free ebook.
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This book really fell flat for me. The characters are all rather despicable, making poor choices and honestly deserving all the bad that comes their way. I couldn’t find anything likable about any of them to hold on to as I read. I found the plot to be depressing and kept hoping for someone to have an aha “OMG I need to change my ways and stop being a complete tool” moment. The plot points were predictable to me, with only one unforeseen twist at the end (and it was a dark horrifying one that made me glad the book was over). 
So, not my cup of tea, I gave this one 2 stars, but that’s the beauty of reading- everyone gets to have their own opinion!
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Allison is a young lawyer who, by all outward appearances, is leading a happy life. But she drinks too much. She has landed her first murder trial, defending a woman accused of stabbing her husband to death when he was passed out drunk, but is having a tumultuous affair with Patrick, her supervising attorney. Her husband, Carl, a therapist who specializes in sex addiction, is at his wits' end and not mincing words about it. He increasingly expresses dismay about Allison's ability and desire to parent their six-year-old daughter, Mathilda. 

As the story opens, Allison attempts to break off her extramarital relationship with Patrick. She's out with him and group of colleagues, drinks too much, and they end up in her office where she later passes out. Carl and Mathilda arrive the next morning and find her disheveled, still asleep in a chair. Lunch with friends only makes things worse. Allison drinks too much yet again and insists upon karaoke -- but she's the only one participating and her performance is humiliating.

Madeleine, Allison's new client, insists that she did, in fact, murder her husband as he slept and is determined to plead guilty. But Allison advises her to plead not guilty and wait until the prosecution turns over its evidence. Allison suspects that there is a reason for Madeleine's insistence that she is not revealing to her counsel.

When Allison begins receiving threatening anonymous text messages, she becomes frightened and concerned about who might be aware of her affair with Patrick, an unrepentant ladies' man.

Harriet Tyce's debut psychological thriller is a character study populated with intriguing, darkly disturbed characters and surprising twists. At the heart of the story is Allison, who has lost confidence in herself and her ability to manage her life. Although she and Carl were happy once, they have grown increasingly distant over the course of the past two years, and that distance propelled Allison into an affair with the attractive but dangerous Patrick. Both Carl and Patrick are abusive in their own right. Carl constantly criticizes Allison for her shortcomings as a wife and mother, complaining about the hours she works even though she is the primary breadwinner and Carl works only part time. Patrick manipulates Allison for his own satisfaction, insulting and ignoring her with the knowledge that when he wants to have rough sex with her she will make herself available because she is lonely and seeking comfort. Allison is determined to get her drinking under control and dismayed when she is seemingly unable to do so, even though she feels confident that she has not consumed alcohol to the point of blacking out. And as all of these various complications exist in her life, Allison is tasked with defending a woman who claims that her dead husband was horrifically abusive him to her, as well as their 14-year-old son.

Tyce keepers readers in suspense, relating the events that happen in Allison's life at a steady pace until one day the unthinkable happens. Mathilda is in danger and Carl blames Allison. From that point, the action speeds up considerably and, as Allison's live begins fully unraveling, Tyce reveals what has actually been transpiring. The result is an intricately plotted, deftly executed story about a woman whose life seems to be out of control as a result of her own actions when, in reality, there is much more to the story. And machinations by those around her, some of which are quite sordid and shocking.

Ultimately, Blood Orange is a reminder that it is never possible to fully know another human being, particularly in the 21st century when technology makes keeping secrets a dicey proposition. It is an exploration of the kind of treatment of women and behavior by men that woman all-too-often accept as normal, blaming themselves for not being nurturing enough, chastising themselves for finding it challenging to successfully balance home and family, and internalizing problems rather than recognizing that the responsibility for child-rearing and maintaining a relationship should be mutual. It is a story about how one woman, depressed and lacking self-esteem, allows herself to be manipulated and abused. It is also a story about surviving abuse, deception, and betrayal, and becoming empowered. 

Blood Orange is a disturbing, insightful, and compelling story. and an impressive debut novel.
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From my blog: Always With a Book:

I was so excited to have this book in my hands...it is definitely going down as one of my favorites of the year, no question about it! I am in disbelief that this is a debut novel - this psychological thriller is smart, obsessive and voyeuristic in nature and will have you frantically flipping those pages trying to put everything together before the shocking ending!

I think what I loved most about this book is that none of the characters are particularly likeable, yet you just cannot seem to walk away once you start reading this book. It is utterly compelling and Alison, our main protagonist, is deeply flawed and I think that is what makes her so attractive. You just need to see where this book takes her. Is she a reliable narrator or not? I constantly asked myself this question over and over again throughout the book. There are things going on in her life that will make you wonder. Her personal life might be in a bit of a mess, but professionally, things couldn't be going better.  

She is given her first murder case and while that is certainly a case that is intriguing in and of itself , I was more interested with what was going on with Alison herself. And I loved the way the book was set up - we would be just getting into the murder case and finally making headway with that and then the focus would switch to Alison and her issues, and then it would switch again. It would be so frustrating, because as much as I wanted to know how the murder case ended up...I really wanted closure on Alison and her issues more. 

This book is the type that gets under your skin. So many things happen that you just can't walk away from it until you get that final resolution and yet...AND YET...let me just tell you, I was completely dumbfounded when I got to the end. I had my theories on where things where heading. I was making notes to myself along the way about what I thought was going to happen and I couldn't have been further from the truth. This one is good! It's dark and twisted and I loved it! I have definitely found a new author to stalk...Harriet Tyce, you have a new fan for sure and I hope your next book will be out soon!!!
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