Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce



Book blurb

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….

My thoughts

I read this with the Virtual Crime Book Club for our May book read and you can see our meeting which is hosted by Rebecca Bradley over on YouTube. Just be aware that there are spoilers in there!

This is a well written family noir which has a crime storyline within it.

We have Alison, the main protagonist. She’s a barrister, a very heavy drinker – an alcoholic. It’s interesting that through the book she keeps saying she wants to stop both the drinking and the affair with Patrick. As Alison is an alcoholic you are not overly surprised she finds it difficult, without help, to stop drinking. Therefore, I suppose that since her liaisons with Patrick are alcohol fuelled that too would be difficult to stop. That we are not really told why, how Alison got to this point makes it difficult to sympathise. She is undertaking her first murder case.

Carl, her husband is a psychologist he lost his job but has a small practice which involves a male support group. Initially and very briefly you feel a little sorry for Patrick. Then the way he is with Alison emerges and he doesn’t seem to be very pleasant or understanding.

Matilda her daughter. Here we have a really lovely relationship, perhaps the saving grace for Alison. It certainly was a highlight of the book. The scene when Alison realises she is no longer with her is both heart wrenching and, when Carl turns up, quite shocking.

Patrick, a solicitor. Who has is having a relationship with Alison – I want to say it’s quite a seedy relationship but actually it’s just sad. Why is Alison carrying on with Patrick well it’s more than implied that it’s because of the drink. I wonder if it’s more about the reinforcement of her relationship with Carl – ‘this is the way Carl treat’s me, it’s the way Patrick treats me, it’s the way any man would treat me’.

Madeleine is being prosecuted for the murder of her husband. This storyline is also a highlight. There are some odd things like when she and Alison go out to lunch when it’s supposed to be a formal meeting for her case – to put her at ease! Still it’s well written, interesting with a twist.

Alison reaches the point we’re a number of events happen and she realises what she wants more than anything else. She finally makes a stand and, frankly, unlikely as I think it might be in real life – well, maybe not! – I was happy with the way things ended.

Even though there is a murder and other crime in Blood Orange it doesn’t really feel like crime fiction. It’s a book about a woman in a high powered job, she is intelligent, capable yet her personal life is much as her clients – probably why she has such empathy with them – and how her life is turned around.

This book is bold and will it held my attention almost because you don’t necessarily like many, if any, of the characters. It addresses a number of issues that we often, too often see in life. A book in which it takes a number of things to happen in her life and to Alison to get her to attempt to put her life together and these things come about more through luck than good judgement or her own determination.

I enjoyed this book and I think there are a lot of others who will too.


Blood Orange has been long-listed for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel for 2020.

Book: Purchased


Publisher: Wildfire (12 Dec. 2019) @Wildfirebks

Buy: AmazonSmileUK | Kobo | Waterstones | Local indie Bookshop

Harriet Tyce


Harriet Tyce grew up in Edinburgh and studied English at Oxford University before doing a law conversion course at City University. She practised as a criminal barrister in London for nearly a decade, and recently completed an MA in Creative Writing – Crime Fiction at the University of East Anglia. She lives in north London. Her first novel, Blood Orange, published in 2019 to huge critical acclaim. Lies You Told publishes summer 2020.

Twitter: @harriet_tyce | Website: Harriet Tyce Author


2 Comments on “Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

  1. Wasn’t that a great discussion at the book club meeting? So glad it’s started up again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was, Margot. It has been a long time since I was part of a book club and being a virtual one is rather different but I am enjoying it. It’s nice to have a place to chat about a book. Social media has its good points but actually seeing each other, albeit it remotely, feels more normal (for want of a better word!). Glad you’re enjoying it too!

      Liked by 2 people


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