Friday, December 3, 2010
THE POISON TREE
It's 1990s London and Karen Clarke is a straight A college student with a long summer and bright future ahead of her when she meets aspiring actress Biba Capel at Queen Charlotte's College. This chance meeting changes Karen's life forever. Her middle class upbringing and dedication to her studies are swiftly swept away as she becomes enamored with Biba and her bohemian lifestyle. She soon joins Biba and Biba's brother Rex in their crumbling family home amid the emotional turmoil of their lives; lives filled with drugs, alcohol and lost days that can only end in tragedy in this psychological thriller.
As Ms. Kelly deftly weaves the past and present, we fast forward ten years as THE POISON TREE begins; Karen and her nine-year-old daughter arrive to pick up Rex from prison where he's spent the last decade for murder. The author never drops the ball as the suspense and tension build in this well written novel, right up to the dramatic ending.
Ms. Kelly's writing has been compared to that of Donna Tartt, but while reading THE POISON TREE I also found it reminiscent of BOYS AND GIRLS TOGETHER, a coming of age novel from the '60s by William Goldman. This is a wondeful first novel and I highly recommend this psychological thriller!