Blood Orange is Harriet Tyce's debut novel.
Alison has the life she wanted - successful barrister, loving husband, a beautiful little daughter. But what her friends and colleagues can't see is what goes on behind closed doors. There are cracks in her marriage - and Alison has had a hand in that. She's drinks too much. She works too much. And she's having an affair with her superior. A superior who has specific tastes. When she secures her first murder case, she see parallels to her own life and realizes she needs to turn things around. But, someone knows Alison's secrets and wants to make her pay....
Alison is most definitely an unlikable protagonist. I had a hard time buying her as a lawyer. She's a train wreck on so many fronts - but like an accident, it was hard not to look and wonder what was going to happen next.
What happens next is a lot of degrading sex (all willingly accepted and often initiated by Alison). She continually makes bad decision after bad decision. I had a really hard time with her choices. Her husband is no better - his sniping and superior attitude makes him just as unlikable. And don't even get me started on the boss - absolutely despicable. The fact that I did have such visceral reactions to the main players does speak to Tyce's writing.
So, while I found the characters unsettling, I kept reading as I wanted to see what the promised twists might be. And I must admit, I was surprised. I had been so focused on Alison that I missed a few clues along the way. (And had to go back to read the prologue again after turning the last page.) Kudos to Tyce for that last twist.
Blood Orange was a very different read than what I had expected going in. It's well written, but I found Alison's debasing behavior so hard to read. So, gentle readers, this may not be one for you. Read an excerpt of Blood Orange.