No one ever said growing up would be easy, but Karen Clarke never expected it to be quite so hard. Having spent the last few years dutifully pursuing a college degree and making all the sensible choices about her future, Karen has a chance encounter with a free-spirited and captivating drama student named Biba that throws her careful plans out the window. Intoxicated by Biba’s friendship, Karen finds herself caught up in a hedonistic world of drugs, sex and a total lack of responsibility. She is fiercely devoted to Biba and will do almost anything to protect her friend, until one night ends with two people dead. The resulting string of events will test Karen’s loyalty and call into question everything she has come to believe—including the lines she herself is willing to cross in order to keep from losing everything she holds dear.

The Poison Tree, Erin Kelly’s first novel, is a stunning debut. Perfectly paced, it starts with a bang and teems with twists that will keep you guessing right up until its thrilling and shocking conclusion. Kelly masterfully ratchets up the suspense, constantly causing readers to reappraise what is true as well as which dark and dirty secret will be unearthed next, all while nimbly maneuvering back and forth in time to keep tensions running high.

Veteran mystery fans looking for nail-biting thrills will find plenty that is fresh and surprising about The Poison Tree, and Kelly’s masterful plotting and intricately crafted story make the comparisons to Tana French and Donna Tartt well-deserved. Exhilarating and satisfying, this is a book that reminds us just how rewarding and flat-out fun a really good book can be. Take the phone off the hook and cancel your evening plans, because this is one book you’ll want to read from cover to cover in order to see how everything shakes out.


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