I am an avid Twitterer and over the past year have been thrilled that so many publishers and authors have made the leap to social media and I follow a fair few of them. One of these is S. J. Bolton, a British writer whose book, Now You See Me, I won in a competition. I’d not heard of her before, but she has written five novels to date; the first three of which I’ve yet to read. Now You See Me, her fourth novel introduces a new police detective, Lacey Flint, who is just the sort of crime novel heroine I really like!
Now You See Me starts in dramatic fashion as Lacey Flint returns from interviewing a rape victim to find a woman literally dying by her car. The woman is well dressed and out of place on the council estate that Lacey is visiting so what was she doing there and who could have killed her without Lacey seeing anything at all?
In short order, we find out that we are dealing with a serial killer, but not only that; he appears to be copying Jack the Ripper – even down to the dates on which he kills his victims. Lacey and her colleagues must pool their knowledge and expertise to stop him before another victim is chosen. Good stuff so far, totally gripping and the factual stuff about Jack the Ripper is fascinating.
As I said before, Lacey Flint is just my cup of tea as a heroine – I’m a big fan of the female detectives such as VI Warshawski, Temperance Brennan and (new to me over the last week) Kinsey Millhone and, although all these ladies are very different, they all have some flaw or some hidden history that has shaped them. Lacey is no different and her mysterious personal life is a pivotal part of our relationship with her and some tension she has with her colleagues, particularly Mark Joesbury, who proves to be a match for Lacey professionally and – perhaps – romantically?
Aside from the solid cast of characters, S. J. Bolton has created a riveting story which appears to be heading down one path, but then twists beautifully in the middle to lead down quite another – I discovered the twist one evening, then continued reading until I finished the book at 2am. It was totally worth the zombie state the next day and I was tempted to buy the second book in the Flint/Joesbury series, Dead Scared, straight away.
I was trying to be brief, but have failed completely, so I will finish now just by saying that Now You See Me is a brilliantly crafted novel that manages to avoid many of those police procedural cliches and is a great opener for what I hope is a must-read series.