Despite her fascination with Jack the Ripper, Detective Constable Lacey Flint has never worked a big case or seen a dead body up close. Until now…As she leaves a south London estate one night, she is horrified to find a woman has been viciously stabbed, right next to Lacey’s car. Thrown headlong into her first murder hunt, Lacey’s quiet life changes overnight. Then Lacey receives a familiar hand-delivered letter, written in red blood, and it is clear the police have a Ripper copycat on their hands. Lacey must be the bait if they are to prevent a second, brutal murder. But can this inexperienced DC outwit a killer whose infamous role model has never been found?
©2011 S J Bolton (P)2011 Random House Audio Go
Of all the S.J. Bolton books I've read/listened to, this is by far my favourite. It's a departure from her earlier novels, set in rural parts of the UK. This one is set in gritty London and the main character is commensurately gritty herself.
The pacing is almost perfect. Like all of Bolton's other novels, the construction of the central mystery is masterful. It sucks you in and keeps you on your toes all the way through. It has a magnificent twist in the tale that will leave you reeling, and absolutely satisfied.
Detective Constable Lacey Flint is one of those rare characters you can really get your teeth into. She's flawed as hell and that only makes her more appealing to the reader. The supporting characters are also equally complex and compelling.
My one warning in this book is that it is by no means a cosy murder mystery. Some of the violence is very graphic, and certain readers might find this disturbing. That being said, I didn't find the violence to be gratuitous at all. In fact, it faithfully serves the plot.
The narration is perfect - just perfect for this story.
from Literary Exploration
Lacey Flint is a young detective constable in London with a secret past. When she finds a woman stabbed right by her car everything changes for her. The killer has a special interest in Lacey and with her special knowledge on serial killers she finds herself a part of the terrifying murder hunt to catch this copy cat killer. Is this killer’s interest in Lacey personal or professional? Can Lacey continue to keep her past hidden when she is pushed further and further into the spot light? Read Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton to find out.
I found it interesting that the struggles of Lacey Flint seemed to be the main focus of this novel while the Jack the Ripper copy cat killer serves as a way to build the characters. It is a fine balance to get right but I tend to feel like Bolton didn’t focus on catching the killer as I would like. I love the idea of a Ripper copy cat and the killer known as Joesbury went to great lengths to attack Lacey, but in the end I never really felt like it was a balanced novel. Lacey is a great character and everything felt like an attack on her,; both from the killer and the other detectives, which in the end helped give us a better perspective of this character. However the hunt and the killer side of this book just become formulaic back story. I just think it never really seemed to come together in the end; sure there is closure in the book but it felt a little messy.
One of my major problems with Crime novels like this is the fact that everything all feels predictable and everyone writing bestseller novels are following the same outline and formula. I would have loved something a bit more dark and gritty. There were some good elements in this novel but as I said before the balance wasn’t there. I think Bolton really let the reader down in that aspect; especially in the end of the book where it all felt rushed and never ended neatly. I know it was an attempt to setup the second book in the series but it never really worked.
I've read or listened to all of S.J. Boltons books, and I simply love them for what they are. I'm generally not much into criminal novels or mysteries (it's all just a variation of a theme), but Bolton manages to keep things interesting to the end. There's always that little detail you didn't see coming. Some of the characters may be a bit cliché, but that seems to be unavoidable in this genre. Overall a really good holiday reading (or listening).
This one is well read too, which is a bonus, not all of Boltons books have been.
This is the first book in what I hope will be a long and very satisfying series.
The author very cleverly uses the background of the Jack the Ripper killings to showcase what appear to be copycat killings. The protagonist, Lacey Flint, isn't what she appears to be, and is fully developed as both flawed and heroic. The story is full of unexpected twists and turns, and leaves the reader surprised at the ending.
The book shifts between Lacey's first-person point of view and general descriptive third person point of view, but it works well. The writing is excellent and flows well.
Relationships and characters are fully realized, and there are no pat endings or predictable plot turns.
The identity of the killer is surprising, as is Lacey's relationship to and with the killer.
The story is a rollicking good police procedural / thriller. The story isn't overblown or over the top. S.J. Bolton has a deft hand and writes well.
The writing is augmented by great narration by Lisa Coleman. She differentiates each character's voice and has wonderful vocal nuance and inflection. Other than a couple of words which North Americans pronounce differently, her reading is free of any snags or hiccups. She reads well and her phrasing is wonderful. She's not too breathy or too nasal, and she doesn't take inappropriate pauses.
If you're a fan of good whodunnit / police procedural / serial killer novels, then check this out. You won't be disappointed, and the second novel is also available on Audible.
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