So, we come to the second book to feature Lacey Flint and as I adored her in the first novel (Now you See Me) I was really looking forward to this one. As expected, it was terrific.
In this outing we find Lacey heading undercover in Cambridge where a spate of suicides has rocked the College. Posing as a student, her brief is to appear fragile and wait to see what happens. With each suicide becoming more violent and creative, Lacey is determined to discover what is going on...despite being told she is not there to investigate, investigate she does. Of course.
What I love about S J Bolton is the way she slowly but surely builds the tension over the course of her books until you can barely breathe - towards the end of this book I was completely lost in the tale, frantically turning pages to get to the end before my heart gave out. I found the ongoing tension between Lacey and Joesbury well written - although just a small note - I hope Ms Bolton doesnt keep the "will they won't they" theme between these characters ongoing for TOO long over the course of the Flint novels because, much as in television shows where they do the same, eventually it can get dull and the reader loses interest. That is for the future - for now, their relationship is still intriguing and because of their separate personalities it makes for a good "sub" plot. I was also extremely pleased to see Evie again (Blood Harvest) and the introduction of a new character, a possible love interest for Lacey made me look forward to finding out what happens next in her life. The resolution was clever if abrupt and very satisfying.
Ms Boltons plotting is superb - some of the best I've found in crime novels. I know some readers were worried about her move into more straightforward crime fiction but I, for one, think that STILL her books are atmospheric and haunting - this one in particular was both of those things and so crime fiction or not, the ambience is the same. Brilliant. More please.