The Damsel Fly by SJI Holliday

Katie Taylor is a bright schoolgirl destined for university. When she wins £5k on a scratch card, it seems that the world is her oyster until she’s found dead in an apparent suicide. Why would she kill herself?  She didn’t. She was murdered.

Detective Sergeant Davie Grey has moved across to CID. Police cuts mean that the old station in Banktoun is no longer properly staffed. As Davie starts a new life in Edinburgh, he finds himself pulled back to Banktoun to investigate Katie’s murder.

But someone thinks they know who killed Katie. And is going to use a private Facebook group to do something about it.

Cover Spread Damselfly.indd

This is the third novel in SJI Holliday’s Banktoun trilogy, a fictional small town in Scotland. The kind of place that breeds secrets. In Willow Walk, Susi looked at illegal highs and this time she’s exploring the power of social media. What starts off as a private Facebook group, quickly turns into a angry vigilante mob. And there’s also a mysterious blog page with an increasingly  vicious tone. My key word for Willow Walk was ‘creepy’ but I think for The Damsel Fly it’s ‘anger’. It’s like a slow, flickering flame that starts with the spark of Katie’s death and gradually builds into a roaring bonfire. But who’s the effigy on top? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Although you could read The Damsel Fly as a standalone, it makes more sense to read the other two books – Black Wood and Willow Walk – first. SJI Holliday has created a whole cast of characters and she gives most of them their 15 minutes of fame.  Although Davie Grey is probably the character readers remember best, he wasn’t meant to be a main protagonist. Instead, he sits alongside the other cast members, only coming into the scenes that require him. The main narrators this time are Polly – the school counsellor, DC Louise Jennings and Neil, Katie’s boyfriend.

And so the trilogy ends. Or does it? I’m not going to give away the ending but there are still a few loose ends. I, for one, would be very happy to see another Banktoun novel. Pretty, pretty please?


I’d like to thank Black & White Publishing and the author for a free copy. I wasn’t asked for a review but I’m happy to give one. The Damsel Fly is published on 2nd February.


If you’d like to find out more about SJI Holliday and her books then please click  here.



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