Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce book review – a tense and uncomfortable mystery

Blood Orange was a book I picked up after asking my social followers which of the books from a selection they suggested I read alongside Malice (review for that coming soon). My partner said she’d read it and remembered it being good, so I was quite excited for it.

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Blood Orange focuses on Alison and everything that goes wrong in her life. She’s got a doting husband, a kind and adorable daughter and her career seems on the rise as receives her first murder case. However, she’s having an affair with a colleague which, compounded with the fact her career is taking up much more of her time seems to be ruining her home life too. But a lot more also seems to be going on.

Blood Orange plot – 4/5

Blood Orange is one of those books that has you guessing throughout every page as to what is coming next and where it’s going to end up. It’s got a plot that makes you judge characters and double-guess absolutely everyone.

The plot is just juicy enough to keep you turning the pages, however, you do have to stick with it. Having constantly been told “it gets good” I may have gone into this book expecting more from the first third. However, other than the obvious drama of an affair, not a huge else is really going on. Yes, there’s some horrible tension, some poor choices from Alison and some growing nervousness but other than that, it’s essentially a woman going to work and sneaking around her husband’s back.

However, I promise you – things do pick up. Without any spoilers, there are darker moments that start not to make sense to Alison and it’s very interesting to see how the characters change around her which, once you’ve finished the book and then look back, make perfect sense.

Blood Orange characters – 3.5/5

Blood Orange focuses almost solely on Alison – showing you all of the story through her eyes. This builds on the tension throughout the plot and also allows you to build an understanding of Alison as a person. She’s someone with very little confidence, but someone who is clearly very good at her job. She seems somebody who is very lost. The affair she is having is not because she is cruel or doesn’t love her husband anymore, it appears she is having one because she is seeking love and passion to help her escape from the constant problems her life brings at her.

In Blood Orange, there are themes of abuse. Again, without ruining the plot, there are two forms of abuse quite evident throughout the book. To make some of the characters seem more abusive and even more obscene, sometimes I felt like the author had them react, say things and act in a way that just seemed a little over the top. There are also clear moments where outside parties can see the abuse happening and do nothing about it, once again taking my immersion away. I felt a couple of lines were forced. However, I am incredibly lucky to have never been in these situations and so this may just be my naivety.

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce overall book review – 4/5

Blood Orange has a fairly slow first third but quickly picks up the action and tension which leaves you flipping the pages to find out what’s going on. It’s a book that explores two different forms of domestic abuse in a mature way, leaving you feeling uncomfortable quite often. The final third will leave you shocked and you’ll do well to guess it. Blood Orange is an easy thriller that if you’re into your down-to-earth mysteries you’ll likely enjoy!

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