When two strangers end up sharing a cabin on the Trans-Siberian Express, an intense friendship develops, one that can only have one ending … 

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

A tense and twisted psychological thriller about obsession, manipulation and toxic friendships, Violet also reminds us that there’s a reason why mother told us not to talk to strangers…

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What people are saying about Violet

‘Violet is a story of obsession, lies and denial and it is a corker’ – Daily Record

‘Wonderfully creepy and compelling’ – Mail on Sunday (book of the year pick, 2019)

‘Pitch dark, this is one thrilling ride’ – Heat (read of the week)

‘A superbly entertaining original adventure, with gritty, authentic detail’ – Sunday Mirror/Sunday People 

‘A fantastically claustrophobic and hugely enjoyable read’ – i-Newspaper

‘This is a tense, uneasy thriller, which will forever stop you befriending strangers’ – Red

‘A dark look at toxic friendship, this twisted thriller is a devour-in-a-single-sitting gem’ – Crime Monthly

‘A compulsive read … a book you won’t be forgetting in a hurry’ – CultureFly

‘Gripping with twists that you don’t see coming’ – Woman’s Way

‘The journey and the train ride are a perfect setting for this psychological thriller, toxic sure but also deliciously entertaining’ – New Books Magazine

‘I recommend it unreservedly to anyone who likes a twisted tale of obsession and toxic friendships’ –17 Degrees Magazine

‘A clever, cutting, addictive read that kicks impulsive to the ground, and stomps all over spontaneity …. Violet is a fabulously unsettling ride’ – LoveReading

‘A tense, immersive thriller that kept me guessing.’ – Ian Rankin

‘Such a brilliantly dark compelling story set against such a fantastically exotic backdrop. I don’t think I read the book as much as inhaled it. Compelling, gripping and horrifically entertaining, fasten your seatbelts, this is going to be a bumpy read! I loved it’ – Liz Nugent

‘People are calling it Single White Female on the Transiberian Express and it kind of is, but for me has echoes of a Killing Eve vibe. Fabulously awful women you will love.’ – Sarah Pinborough

‘A splendid, hilarious, sardonic Highsmithian romp.’ – Alex Marwood

‘An incredibly dark, inventive, uncompromising tale. Twisted as hell. Loved and hated every character within and couldn’t wait to see what happened next. You’ll be drawn in and not be able to put this one down. HIGHLY recommended!’ – Luca Veste

‘One classy and sexy book. Bloody excellent’ – Louise Beech

‘Like a cross between The Talented Mr Ripley & Single White Female… on a train! Whip smart writing, devilishly suspenseful and packed with twists, this nail biting psych thriller is without doubt one of my top reads of 2019.’ – Steph Broadribb

‘Honestly, I can’t find enough words to say how enjoyable this novel was. Twisty, authentic, gripping and different to anything else out there. Her best yet, without a doubt.’ – Louise Voss

‘An absolute belter of a book. The sense of place of The Beach married to the suspense and twists of Sarah Pinborough. I loved Violet, but hated her at the same time. Creepy as hell.’ – Ed James

‘Expertly explores the darkest corners of the human psyche and the intensities of toxic friendship. A gripping, illuminating and truly unique read from a writer who should be a household name.’ – David Mark

‘Two women with dark secrets travel together on the Trans-Siberian railway seeking out the next high, before things take a seriously nasty turn. Like Ripley on rails with a whiff of Alex Garland’s The Beach. Twisted, gripping and totally addictive.’ – Paddy Magrane

‘A fast paced thriller with an ambitious yet perfectly executed backdrop, Violet is deliciously Ripleyesque and an absolute pleasure to read.’ – Jenny Blackhurst

‘A perfectly plotted, dark, peppered with humour, thriller that will make you question how well you can ever know another person, set brilliantly and claustrophobically on the Trans-Siberian Express.’ – Hayley Webster

‘Deliciously decadently dark – The Beach meets Single White Female.’ – Derek Farrell

Violet is Holliday at her very best. Perfect pace, fabulous settings – I couldn’t put it down.’ – Lucy Dawson

‘A chillingly twisty, psychological thriller from its unsettling opening to it’s shocking ending, it keeps you right on the edge of your seat, following two women on the holiday from hell.’ – Russel McLean

‘Felt like a great mash up of The Beach and Single White Female – fantastic locations & disturbed psychology!’ – Araminta Hall

‘A twisted and vivid Highsmith redux with a beguiling femme fatale lead, a fantastic variety of locations and constant dark surprises. A great piece of train noir!’ – Chris Ewan

‘Two strangers embark on a Trans-Siberian Express trip together – but is either what she seems? Thrilling, shocking, darkly humorous, with richly-described settings, Violet is everything you’d want in a psychological thriller.’ – Lisa Gray

‘Smart, slick, original, darkly funny, and hugely entertaining. This is one to seek out. LOVED it. Brava!’ – Amanda Jennings

‘A sumptuously dark psychological thriller with echoes of Patricia Highsmith at her finest, and for fans of Killing Eve.’ – Michael Wood

‘Violet is bristling with clever twists – nobody writes scary people quite as brilliantly as Holliday. Devoured this in two sittings. I absolutely loved being transported around the world, an adventure of a lifetime – remind me not to go on holiday with Susi!’ – Elizabeth Haynes

‘I couldn’t stop thinking about Violet after I finished it. Brilliantly atmospheric and exquisitely paced.’ – Cass Green

‘Easily SJI Holliday’s best yet. A fast-paced, darkly thrilling noir that reads like a modern take on Patricia Highsmith.’ – Mason Cross

‘LOVED it. Sick and twisted, it took me straight back to my backpacking days and the wild and crazy folk I encountered. ‘Tour de force’ is an overused phrase but it works on so many levels with this book.’ – Syd Moore

‘A fascinating read. Fab destinations. A toxic friendship. A bonkers killer. It was a Lonely Planet handbook twinned with Single White Female. Highly recommended.’ – Marnie Riches’

Violet has to be the best yet from SJI Holliday. As someone who has backpacked, this really hit a nerve with me. The bravery of travelling alone, the trust we put in others & what can go wrong. The writing drags you in and doesn’t let go. Dark, menacing and gripping. Fab!’ – Deborah Masson

‘I read this absolutely excellent pitch dark travel terror novel in one go. Brilliant.’ – Jane Casey

‘Wild applause for Violet. It is an astonishingly good novel. Razor-sharp characterisation provides the fuel for this epic story – and I mean ‘epic’ in terms of brilliance and scope – but the plot, pace, settings, wry humour, and overall sense of dread can’t be faulted either. The train-journey from hell is one hell of an enjoyable read.’ – Caz Frear

‘Holliday really nailed this one. I barely woke up from nightmares populated by every psycho roommate, tenant and producer I’ve ever encountered.’ – Alexandra Sokoloff

‘SJI Holliday’s Violet is absolutely terrific. Gripping, fast-moving, darkly funny, painfully real, and sharply cruel. Like a 21st century Patricia Highsmith, Violet is very highly recommended.’ – Paul D. Brazill

‘The strongest aspect of the novel is the utter creepiness of Violet’s thoughts. You are inadvertently drawn into her twisted, psychotic little mind and begin to anticipate the mayhem that is about to be unleashed.’ – Crime Fiction Lover

‘SJI Holliday is proving to be a master of psychological thrillers, with expert plotting and fabulous characterisation. Brilliant stuff!’ – Victoria Goldman (Off The Shelf Books)

‘It’s one of those books where you just know something Really Very Bad is going to happen, and Holliday seems to revel in dangling that Very Bad thing juuust in front of your nose.’ – Dave (Expresso Coco)

‘Honestly it was SUPERB. Talk about toxic friendship! Brilliant all the way through and even BETTER I honestly had no idea how it would pan out. Excellent stuff.’ – Liz Barnsley (LizLovesBooks)

‘It’s real ‘edge of the seat’ stuff. In true SJI Holliday form, we don’t know the whole story until the very end. And even then she leaves us wanting more.’ – Joy Kluver

‘The writing is addictive and taut. The story itself is dark, twisted, tightly plotted and filled with simmering tension. The suspense builds throughout and you have a feeling of disquiet, of unease coursing through your veins for the unknown darkness that will surely come to pass.’ – The Tattooed Book Geek 

‘The setting is glorious, the pace is exquisite. Violet is original, chilling and quite quite perfect.’ – Anne Cater (Random Things Through My Letterbox)

‘I see many thrillers described as psychological and often I’m disappointed. I’m happy to say that I wasn’t with Violet, my new favourite novel by this author. It had it all.’ – Steph’s Book Blog

Violet is a gorgeous book, inside and out. Whether you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, you love reading about backpacking adventures gone wrong, or you’re just looking for your next great read, I highly recommend you pick up Violet!’ – From Belgium with Book Love

‘I bloody love it when women aren’t portrayed as victims but instead are the catalysts of complete and utter mayhem. I find it so much more interesting and this clever book had me wrapped round its finger from page one.’ – Melanie’s Reads

‘I really didn’t want the book to finish, I wanted to keep reading, I wanted more but that was just me being one greedy reader, the whole thing was perfectly written, perfectly sinister and is just another star on SJI Holliday’s psychological thriller royalty badge!’ – The Reading Closet