The Poison Tree

The Poison Tree

by Erin Kelly
3.9 36

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Overview

The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly

From an incredible new voice in psychological suspense, a novel about the secrets that remain after a final bohemian summer of excess turns deadly.

This taut psychological thriller begins when Karen and her nine-year- old daughter, Alice, pick up Rex from a ten-year stint in prison for murder. Flash back to the sultry summer in 1990s London when Karen, a straight-A student on the verge of college graduation, first meets the exotic, flamboyant Biba and joins her louche life in a crumbling mansion in Highgate. She begins a relationship with Biba's enigmatic and protective older brother, Rex, and falls into a blissful rhythm of sex, alcohol, and endless summer nights. Naïvely, Karen assumes her newfound happiness will last forever. But Biba and Rex have a complicated family history-one of abandonment, suicide, and crippling guilt-and Karen's summer of freedom is about to end in blood.

When old ghosts come back to destroy the life it has taken Karen a decade to build, she has everything to lose. She will do whatever it takes to protect her family and keep her secret. Alternating between the fragile present and the lingering past with a shocker of an ending, The Poison Tree is a brilliant suspense debut that will appeal to readers of Kate Atkinson, Donna Tartt, and Tana French.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781444701067
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, Ltd.
Publication date: 03/28/2011

About the Author

Erin Kelly read English and European literature at Warwick University and has worked as a freelance journalist for more than ten years. She has written for The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Psychologies, Red, Elle, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour. She lives in North London with her husband and daughter.

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The Poison Tree: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very well written psychological thriller! The characters were very well developed and the plot kept me guessing until the end. This book would make an amazing movie. I loved the back and forth between present and past, well written dialogue as well as the vivid descriptions of the various settings. Did not want this book to end while I was reading it- it was that good!!!
RosieMcB More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was as mesmorized by the Capels as the main character, Karen, was. This book kept my interest from start to finish and the ending was a nice twist. I eagerly await the next novel from the author.
Lynie More than 1 year ago
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! Lynn Kimmerle
harstan More than 1 year ago
A decade after they first met, Karen, accompanied by her nine year old daughter Alice the chatterbox; pick up Rex after he spent the past ten years in prison convicted of murder. Karen reflects back to 1993 when her life radically changed. It started innocently with her receiving a scholarship to attend Queen Charlotte's College in London. At the school, she meets drama student Biba Capel, whose off beat behavior fascinates the scholarship student. Biba introduces her new friend to her even odder older brother Rex. ----- The siblings invite Karen to come to their family house, a deteriorating but at one time incredible home in Highgate. There Karen meets an assortment of strange renters. The trio tosses wild party that alienates their neighbors, but none of them care as the feel they reside in paradise. However, the serpent arrives when Biba's lover crashes the idyllic Utopia. Soon murder joins the mix. ---- The Poison Tree is a terrific twisting British psychological thriller as the audience is hooked to learn how Rex is freed after ten years behind bars for murder. Karen is a strong protagonist who though frightened understands the stakes that she has "everything to lose" including the happiness that she thought would be forever with Rex. Filled with spins, Erin Kelly's suspense laden tale is a fabulous way to open 2011. ---- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book that delves wonderfully into the character's whirlwind enticing yet maddening personalities.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a well-written and intriguing book. I was fascinated by the characters - gifted, but unassuming Karen, neuotic Rex, and Biba, whose behavior and beauty command attention. Even those charcters who played small roles were well-developed by the author, and therefore interesting and real to me. Absolutely recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book right to the end.
Judith Hampel More than 1 year ago
enjoyed the drama great ending
kherbrand More than 1 year ago
About the book: Karen was just an unassuming straight-A student in linguistics when she met Biba. She was finishing her senior year, and though she had the same roommates through college, she didn't feel like they were really friends. Meeting Biba seemed to be fate, as Biba was posting an ad for a German tutor when Karen happened to come upon her. She was immediately entranced. Biba hired her and invited her to a party at her house. Biba was an aspiring actress and lived a carefree life with her brother, Rex, in a rundown house in Highgate. The house had had a variety of tenants and Karen was soon to become it's latest. Their lifestyle was so foreign to the one that Karen knew that she couldn't help but embrace it in her desire to belong. She had never had a friend like Biba and felt alive in her presence. Her dad had told her she needed at leasst one summer to not work and enjoy herself before she started her "life". Little did she know that this last summer would effect her life and her choices in ways that she never could have dreamed. The story starts out with Karen picking up Rex as he is released from prison. They are going to try to make a go of it with their 9 year old daughter Alice. Secrets and choices are immediately alluded to as Karen tries to protect Alice from the secrets that sent Rex to prison as well as one secret that only Karen seems to know. We learn all about Karen, Rex and Biba through flashbacks that take you through the last summer they were all together. That carefree summer living in Highgate. Karen learns that Rex and Biba have had a troubled childhood marked with suicide and abandonment. The two of them are very close and Rex protects his sister with a fierceness that rivals a mama bear. Somewhere along the way, with the beer and drugs and sex, Karen and Rex fall into an unlikely relationship. Some rash decisions made by all change all their lives. My thoughts: This book was a wonderful debut by Erin Kelly. The flashbacks unfold with just the right speed and the groundwork is laid out for a surprising ending that I didn't see coming. The London setting and surrounding areas are perfect and the author does a good job of making you feel like you are there (not that I have ever been - but it is definitely as I imagined it). She weaves the story around these three to the point where one is inseparable from the other. Every choice and decision that was made lead to the inevitable conclusion. Great story! Highly recommended!
Teach1831 More than 1 year ago
but the ending earns it four stars!!
SJW446 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! I can't wait to see what else the author has written!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book, great characters and a real treat of an ending!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written and entertainig. Good character development. Really good psychological thriller.
gmalilac More than 1 year ago
I found this book rather dull and did not like the format. That's unusual for me, as I have been known to read the phone directory when nothing else is available.
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