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4.6 out of 5 stars
Now You See Me: Lacey Flint Series, Book 1
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Having loved SJ Bolton's first three novels, which had a psychological/supernatural feel to them, I wasn't sure what I'd make of this one, which from the blurb seemed to be more of a straightforward crime/police procedural thriller. However, it soon becomes evident that Lacey Flint is not a straightforward police officer.

We first meet Lacey when she returns to her car after interviewing a witness to find a dying woman sprawled across it. She quickly secures herself a place on the team investigating the murder, and pretty soon they realise they've got a sadistic serial killer on their hands who seems to be mimicking the crimes of Jack the Ripper (Lacey's favourite "historical character"). The murders are brutal and Bolton doesn't spare any of the gruesome and chilling details, making for some very uncomfortable reading at times.

Lacey is a complex and enigmatic creation, and her dark side comes to the fore very early on in the book. She tells the story in the first person and, as with all good unreliable narrators, the reader is never sure whose side she's on and what to make of her version of events. There are some very clever twists and turns and a cliffhanger at the end of virtually every chapter, which meant that I just had to turn the page and keep on reading. The denouement is frantic (if a little far-fetched) and it isn't until the last few pages that the 'real' Lacey Flint is finally revealed.

I'm not sure if I'd prefer SJ Bolton to carry on with this sort of crime fiction or return to the more atmospheric/brooding style of her first three books, but I do know that whatever she comes up with I'll be reading it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2011
Over in Harrogate, England the third week of July 2011, they dubbed S. J. Bolton the high priestess of rural gothic crime. Her third book Blood Harvest was shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier mystery novel of the year at the Harrogate festival. The title is apt: all three of Bolton's early mysteries are "lush with creepy British atmosphere." Sacrifice, Bolton's award-winning debut novel is set on a Shetland Island. The next two novels are set in isolated British villages. The narrators, or main female characters, are strong, professional women (an obstetrician, a veterinarian, and a psychiatrist) and at least one female in the books is deformed or disabled. There's also a hint of romance and dark family secrets. Reviewers have called Bolton the "new queen of suspense" and after a bit of flap reading of her fourth novel, this reader thought she was about to read "Mary Higgins Clark goes to London."

Well, so much for flap reading! NOW YOU SEE ME is not only a modern Gothic thriller, it's a police procedural.

The narrator of the novel is one D. I. Lacey Flint of the Sapphire unit (crimes against women) of the London Metro Police. She has been on the force for four years. She is a Ripperologist. That's right, an expert in the Jack the Ripper five canonical cases of 1888-89. The five undisputed Ripper Crimes. It seems Lacey, after interviewing a victim of gang rape in a seedy part of London, discovers the first modern-day copycat Ripper victim on August 31 the day Polly Nichols' body was found in Victorian London some eleven decades previously. And other victims follow.

For the first part of NOW YOU SEE ME, we are smothered in Ripper lore, gory description, and lectures. (Bolton has well researched the subject. She lists among other references ANATOMY OF A KILLER by Patricia Cornwell.) If you skim the Ripper "stuff," slow down in the last third of the book. Bolton throws in a major twist. A suspect has been found through DNA on the third victim. The Major Investigation Team is celebrating the close of the case. And into the squad room walk several men with their solicitors who have information that turns the case upside down. Get ready for a FIVE STAR finish!

And gothic lovers, don't dismay! The elements are there. Lacey is befriended by a freelance journalist named Emma Boston, with a missing right ear and burn marks on her neck. D. I. Mark Joesbury becomes both romantically interested in Lacey and suspicious of her past. The dark family secrets are there, and when they are revealed, Lacey's rather enigmatic behavior, with her fascination with serial killers and propensity for slipping down to Camden late at night for sexual adventure, is explained. And we find out why Julie Andrews sings "My Favourite Things" in her head throughout the book.

Lucky UK Amazon buyers! Bolton's fifth book again features Joesbury and Lacey. It'll be published in January 2012!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Having read the first of S J Bolton's thrillers Awakening, I was keen to get hold of this one. The story begins with a young DC, Lacey Flint, discovering a critically wounded woman, dying in front of her eyes. The killer seems to have a fatal fascination with the Jack the Ripper killings of the late 19th century, and the pressure on the investigating team increases with the body count. I don't want to give too much of the plot away, but there are twists and turns aplenty to keep the reader hooked, and given that this is a plot-driven story, the characters work well enough to help drive the slightly implausible plot forward. You really aren't sure who you can trust until right at the end. Bolton has done well bringing some of the less-well known parts of London to life in this story. Like Awakening, I felt there was quite a strong sense of place which worked well as a backdrop for the story. This isn't a read for the faint-hearted - there is a fair amount of blood and gore here, but do overcome your squeamishness if you can as it is a well-written and gripping story that will keep those pages turning until you get to the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Once again I have embarked on a new series this time by Sharon Bolton. Our lead character is a trainee with the Met Police and her background is more chequered than you can imagine. Lacey Flint (great name for a character me thinks) is young and inexperienced. When she arrives at her car one evening to find a woman slumped on the ground and bleeding she realises that she cannot save her, and the woman subsequently dies in her arms. As she inadvertently becomes drawn into the case surrounding the woman, things take a murky turn.

The first quarter of the book was a little hard going for me. Certainly not in terms of the writing style, I just wasn’t too sure what to make of Lacey. The additional characters that appear such as Mark Joesbury and Dana Tulloch were absolute peaches and I loved them both from the start. The plot of the book and subsequent murders revolves around some sort of copycat from the Jack the Ripper cases. The book was clearly researched well from this perspective but to be honest the writing style and plot twists were enough to keep me hooked alone. As the book progresses the story gets much more intricate and the layers begin to peel back to show just what Lacey is hiding. As each layer was peeled back I found myself liking her more and more.

In addition to this the crime scenes aren’t short on descriptive gore which make it all the more realistic. The book is packed full of twists and is certainly not short on action. The last half of the book just flew by and just when I thought I had all the answers it turned out I was wrong. The ending gives the reader that real urge to just carry on reading (which I love) and I immediately downloaded book 2. I think this has the potential to turn out to be an extremely engaging and addictive series…I’m looking forward to it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 October 2013
Such a well thought out novel, wonderfully crafted, that begins to be one thing the reader can file it away as, familiar to previous thrillers/serial killer accounts; only to evolve into another type of story. Didn't fully see the end coming, but I don't feel tricked as with other books. The story is revealed with great skill, there is murder and horrible death with a killer always seemingly ahead of the Police investigation. You sense the inevitability of the killings as they mirror the chronology of the Jack the Ripper murders; you feel the sense of hopelessness as the Police become aware of complexity of the case and you the reader remain as unsure of the outcome as your eagerly race through the pages; learning more but never enough to be unsurprised by the final chapters.
Crime fiction at its best; complex characters, sensitively written, frightening and graphic but no sensationalism or misplaced social comment.
I enjoyed the unraveling of this mystery. Why things happen is clearly told within the story free from political explanation or justification. Good and evil are sometimes blurred but never confused. Life is taken through the crimes of murder, substance misuse and misadventure but life itself is never cheapened or devalued.
The plight of the homeless is touched upon with gentle, caring insight without making you feel guilty if you don't but the Big Issue.
Water appears to be significant to the telling of this story, as do the many Victoria back drops across London found in this book.
I found the accounts on and in the Thames from Lacey's point of view some of the most enjoyable passages in this novel; they are well written and serve some indirect purpose to the plot but are missing in such detail in so many other books of this type. Such qualities mark SJ "Sharon" Bolton as a gifted writer who I am pleased to have found at last.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
What an absolutely fantastic read. One of my favourite things about reading is discovering a new author, or at least new to me. The cover was what drew me to this book (yes, I judge books by their cover) and the blurb inside. I enjoy reading about true crime and I do have a mild fascination with Jack the Ripper and other serial killers so I couldn't wait to get started with this book.

The main character is Lacey Flint and I have to say I immediately took to this character and liked her a lot. The rest of the characters were a good bunch too, usually there are one or two that annoy you but everyone in this book was more than bearable. Also usually in crime novels I hate those random paragraphs, usually in italics that you can't decipher and which confuse the story, and whilst them paragraphs were present in this book it wasn't confusing and was easy to follow and understand.

This book is very graphic but I think having watched so many movies and read so many books like this I feel that you can become desensitized to reading about people being murdered etc and I feel that only the most squeamish will be affected by bits like that. Anyone who has read a few crime novels won't bat an eyelid at it. Unfortunately however the other downside to having read so much crime fiction is any sort of twist has to be amazing for you not to see it coming and I guessed the 'twist' in this book just over halfway through. It was pretty obvious but that doesn't take anything away from the book and it is certainly a very enjoyable read that I flew through in just over a day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2012
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Young London police woman Lacey Flint arrives at her car one evening to find a woman slumped over the door. The woman has been brutally stabbed, and dies in Lacey's arms.

Thus begins Lacey's involvement in her first murder case. As more victims are discovered, it appears that the police are dealing with a killer paying homage to the infamous Victorian serial killer Jack the Ripper, as the current victims are being murdered on the same dates as the Ripper's victims, and in the same manner. The case strikes a chord for Lacey, as she's held a lifelong fascination for Jack the Ripper. As the case progresses, it becomes clear that Lacey's involvement is far more personal, and the killer is sending her direct messages.

The book is thrillingly gruesome and full of twists and turns all the way through. It becomes clear fairly early on that Lacey is not all that she seems, and although she is the protagonist, with the book being told from her point of view, we soon learn that she is hiding many secrets. In fact, part of the book's suspense comes from the fact that the more we learn about Lacey and her dark past, the more we start to wonder what she is capable of. Can we trust what she is telling us? Could she actually be a murderer herself?

Jack the Ripper still fascinates us today, and although many books have been written dealing with the Ripper murders, Now You See Me adds an original slant and touches on one of the more radical theories regarding the identity of Jack the Ripper. It's a book that continues to throw out surprises, and I was gripped all the way to the exciting conclusion.

I don't give many books a five-star rating, but in my view Now You See Me deserves one. It's a thrilling, engrossing and thoroughly enjoyable read and I would highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have read S J Bolton's three previous novels and in my opinion this is probably better even than those - good though they are. I was gripped from the first page and found the hairs on the back of my neck standing up on end at regular intervals. Yes there is a lot of graphic violence but it is never overdone and much of it is reported in matter of fact terms which make the whole book much more chilling.

A woman dies from horrendous stab wounds in DC Lacey Flint's arms. Naturally she is suspected of some involvement in the crime and finds herself with a foot in both camps. She wants to be involved in the investigation and the investigation team want to keep her where they can see her in case she is involved. It is soon clear that there is much more to the case than meets the eye and Lacey's own personal interests may have links to it.

It is difficult to say very much more about the plot without giving too much away. Suffice it to say that the reader is constantly wondering precisely what is going on and asking who they can trust. I thought the characters of the investigation team were brought vividly to life - DI Dana Tulloch and DI Mark Joesbury especially - and I wanted to know more about them. I liked Lacey herself and wanted her to come out of the whole thing in one piece.

The writing is taut and crisp and the dialogue realistic. The characters really come to life - even the more minor ones - and the London background, both modern and historical, broods over the whole story. This is a powerful story with excellent characterisation and plotting which will keep you guessing almost until the end. I recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Keeps you going until the end. I enjoy her books and I've already read her latest so am looking forward to the follow on to Dead Scared.
Just a point-we all know what the book is about so why do others run through the story line rather that just put comments.
Would recommend this to any avid crime reader.
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