Dead Scared – S J Bolton

Sharon Bolton can write, and this book is proof of her ability to deliver a top notch crime novel.

The heroine, one Lacey Flint, goes undercover to Cambridge University, looking into a string of suicides. Different deaths, different circumstances, and no apparent links between the victims. But…

Inside the University, Flint has psychiatrist Evi Oliver as confidante and helper, but very soon both these women are having a fearful time of it.

Outside the University, Flint’s love interest – albeit unfulfilled – is Mark Joesbury, who also happens to be her boss and the one responsible for her posting. What does he really know?

Stir a little, add some elements of horror, a dose of flashbacks, and you get a fine cocktail of page turning pleasure. It’s not reaching the giddy heights of a Reginald Hill masterpiece, because that’s not the target. But it is very good. The characters – especially Flint and Oliver – are solid and interesting. The dialogue is believable, and there’s just the right measure of humor. I could see the plot before it fully unraveled, but that’s smart-arse me. It did not spoil the enjoyment, though.

The especially enjoyable aspect for me was the improvement in the feel of the book compared to the last Flint outing. (See here.) I was more drawn to that character now, and more prepared to suspend disbelief.

In short, a book to be savored, but one that at the same time will propel you along at a breakneck speed and thrill, and thrill, and thrill. More, please.

Score: 8/10