Review - Now You See Me by S J Bolton

Saturday, April 21, 2012

One word summary - Fantastic!

One line Review - S.J Bolton's pulse pounding, modern day Jack the Ripper murder mystery is about the BEST book I've read in a long long time, with enough complex psychological twists and turns to keep the reader guessing literally till the last chapter.

Detailed (& slightly more wordy and coma-inducing long :-) Review -

Just half an hour ago I finished reading S.J.Bolton's Now You See Me (Minotaur, 400p, Isbn-1250001633) which has been glued to my hands for the past day and a half as I was transported into a gory police procedural across an ocean to London where trainee detective Lacey Flint has a dying woman collapse on her. Things get considerably worse as it becomes clear a modern day Jack the Ripper is loose, moving about undetected and disemboweling victims with the same ease and brutality as the original himself. As the panic in London escalates, the Metropolitan police do their utmost to uncover the truth, which unexpectedly circles back to Lacey.

From the beginning, there's an enigmatic quality to Lacey, some secret about her that her actions and behavior hint at but never reveal fully, and senior officer Mark Joesbury seems to be curiously the only one aware of it. Lacey's general fascination with serial killers including a near encyclopedic knowledge of Ripper-lore transports her from mere murder witness to an integral part of the investigation even as unfolding events reveal the copycat killer's unhealthy fixation with her. Lacey seems the best candidate for the prime suspect, but at odds with this theory is her courage and her selfless compassion towards others that's revealed time and again. All this, together with a healthy dose of sexual attraction, is what keeps DI Joesbury guessing to the last (as it does the readers, minus the sexual attraction!).

Lacey is a deeply intriguing and fantastically developed central character who takes this book from a great whodunit to a complex psychological thriller. Other side characters are also well developed and not merely props in the plot. Romantic intrigue adds to the general tension as does London itself, with its underground catacombs and sleazy social underbelly hidden but not totally concealed under the modern-day chicness and progress.

As for the reader, I can almost guarantee that the complexities of the plot together with in-depth and compelling characterizations will intrigue enough to help the reader plow through the nausea-inducing gory murder scenes. Now You See Me is one of the best told, deliciously slowly unveiled mysteries ever to cross my bookish hands.
Note - This book was received for review consideration.
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