The Poison Tree

The Poison Tree

Book - 2011
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In 1993, the naïve yet brilliant Karen receives a scholarship to London's Queen Charlotte's College, where she's beguiled by Biba Capel, an iconoclastic and edgy drama student, who soon introduces Karen to her strange older brother, Rex. Karen joins sister and brother at the grand but deteriorating Capel family house in Highgate, with its several unconventional tenants. The three throw disorderly parties that enrage the neighbors, but they succeed in creating their own Edenic existence until the unwanted intrusion of Biba's hostile lover. Though melodrama looms, including a double homicide, the tension never wanes, and the ensuing horror comes as a major shock. The surprises don't end until the last page of this twisted tale with its wonderfully evocative London atmosphere.
Publisher: New York : Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, 2011
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780670022403
Branch Call Number: KELLY
Characteristics: 322 p. ; 24 cm


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Aug 13, 2018

The character development is well done; in particular the true nature of Biba emerges slowly through the lens of the infatuated narrator as we see and understand what she does not. There are some unexpected twists, but as more is revealed about the crucial event 10 years in the past that changed everything, the ending is predictable.

Ponto1 Oct 16, 2017

If you're looking for a thriller with substance and thoughtful character development, you've found it in the works of author Erin Kelly. After reading and enjoying her most recent novel, "He Said, She Said" (2017), I decided to read the Poison Tree. I was not disappointed. The title, borrowed from a William Blake poem of the same name, is indicative of the dark, atmospheric nature of the story line.

Jan 28, 2016

This one is a fast read for me and I'm an extremely slow reader. Gripping and evocative.

gracindaisy Jan 27, 2014

How far will a woman go for what she loves? A psychological thriller with a roaring finish!

JCLGreggW Jul 30, 2013

An intoxicating mix of Donna Tartt and Gillian Flynn, but very much her own voice, Erin Kelly's debut novel is a twisty, turny stunner that will will have you reading well into the night. Normal, steady college student Karen stumbles across free-spirit theater student Biba in a chance encounter. The two become fast friends along with Biba's brother, Rex. The novel jumps forward 10 years later, where Karen has a daughter and Rex is freshly out of prison. Author Erin Kelly plays on the tension between these two worlds, building up to a climax that piles revelation on top of revelation where dark secrets are revealed - and dark actions, too. Wonderfully done and completely absorbing, this is a novel you'll want to take a chance on.

Mar 07, 2012

Thriller plot. Very stilted dialogue and narrator monologue. Author has an "air word" problem, which means you can skip ahead to the ending without missing much.

Mar 02, 2012

It leaves a great impression! I wanted to read without stopping, despite the fact that sometimes you can guess what could be next. But all the characters are described with such talented accuracy, that they are perceived as a "living" people with whom
you want to meet and see them in the "body and blood." Excellent material for a possible movie.

AGLibrary Aug 28, 2011

Very Good book, keeps you guessing until the end.
One summer A very bright university girl (Karen )meets this other girl (Bila)
they become friends,
Bila's brother (Rex) becomes involved with Karen.
10 yrs later Rex gets out of prison for killing some one to restart his life with Karen and her daughter.

debwalker Feb 19, 2011

Erin Kelly's novel The Poison Tree starts with a car speeding away from somewhere, someone or something. Then, it's 10 years later, and a woman and her daughter are on their way to prison to pick up the woman's husband and the girl's father. You know there's a murder, and you even know who committed it. Most of all you know there's lots you don't know about how we got to this point. Clues that only hint at the truth keep you riveted and remind you that you'd better pay attention. As the details unfold, the characters get more complex, as Kelly keeps the surprises coming until the very last page.

"This dazzling debut novel begins as Karen and her daughter Alice go to pick up Rex from prison. Rex has just served 10 years for murder. Who these people are and what happened to them is the spine of Kelly’s excellent psychological thriller."
Margaret Cannon
Feb 17 2011

"In the summer of 1997, shy, sheltered Karen is befriended by glamorous, passionate Biba. She and her shy, enigmatic brother Rex live in seclusion in Highgate, and welcome Karen into their home and their lives. The arrival of a stranger shatters this fragile idyll with fatal consequences. A decade later, Rex is released from prison and he and Karen must try to rebuild their life with ten-year-old Alice. For Rex, the life sentence is over, but Karen has secrets of her own. For her, the nightmare is just beginning."
Richard and Judy Book Club

thebeadedlady Feb 12, 2011

A good crime thriller/mystery, with a twist at the end


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