if snow hadn’t fallen – s j bolton

If Snow Hadn’t Fallen

I have read two of S J Bolton’s Lacey Flint books, and unfortunately the next isn’t due for release til April.  They have been the best detective thrillers I have read in a long time, so when I saw that there was a short story available starring Lacey, I was more than happy to pay out my £1.64 to buy it (it has since gone up 25p!)

This starts with the rather grim murder of a young Muslim man and shadows Lacey as she follows each lead where (as ever) she becomes more involved than she probably should.

The snow in the title serves to cover the grisly scene in a blanket of purity and to almost illuminate the burkha-clad woman who mourns there.

There’s not much I can say about the story as it IS only short and I don’t want to give away too much – except it’s wonderfully written with Lacey’s unmistakeable voice and that it gave me a much-needed dose of her to tide me over to April (argh…April…now, where can I get an ARC of Like This, For Ever?)

If you like detective thrillers and you haven’t read Now You See Me and Dead Scared, what are you waiting for?!!?

my 5 most memorable reads of 2012

I had intended to do a ‘best books’ and contrasting ‘worst books’ post for those I had read this year, but it’s actually very hard to choose ‘best’ & ‘worst’ from around 90 books – especially as I read such a diverse range of books.

Instead, I have decided to classify them as ‘most memorable’ (in a good way!) and ‘most disappointing’.

This list doesn’t necessarily include my absolute favourite reads – but an easy, fun read can be extremely enjoyable but wont stay with me for any length of time.  I wanted to concentrate on those books that have had stuck in my mind – the ones that I immediately think of if someone asks for any recommendations.  The ones that were a bit unique.

So here they are – in no particular order (pic and titles link to my full reviews).

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern:  Read with the book club, this really divided us – mainly into boys vs girls.  although it was very light on plot and depth of characters, I have never read a book with such beautiful, striking imagery.  I could feel, smell and taste the circus, and it was a wonder to behold.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness:  I only read this originally to see if it was an acceptable YA book for The Girl to read.  It is the first in a trilogy, and I have recently read the second one, which is just as good.  The idea of ‘The Noise’ is unique, and I have since caught myself wondering what other people’s noise may contain when I have been with them.  It also made me bawl my eyes out!

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein:  This isn’t the first book to be narrated by an animal, but it felt one of the most sympathetic.  Dogs are often veiwed as being a bit daft, but Enzo was far from daft – he was intelligent, loyal, insightful and funny.  One of the best voices I’ve read this year.

The Waterproof Bible by Andrew Kaufman:  There were so many beautiful and surreal ideas in this book that all came together in a stunning climax with all the strands tying into a unique but perfect bow. I especially loved the idea of being able to store away your emotions, and have passed a few Big Yellows since and imagined what experiences could be locked away within.

The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin:  I was toying with Dead Scared as my final choice (see what I did there?) or The Girl With The Glass Feet but finally decided on this old-fashioned detective romp.  I do like a good detective thriller, and have read some pretty decent ones this year, but this 1940’s book, recommended by my nan and read by our book club was totally different to its contemporaries.  It was good wholesome fun, with some surprisingly modern-feeling elements.

So, they were my most memorable reads of this year (yes, and I kind of managed to sneak 7 in there – did anyone notice?).  Next I will be posting the 5 books that most disappointed me!

I would love to hear what YOUR most memorable books were this year, as I have a whole new year starting in a couple of days to fill with ideas of books to read!

now you see me – s j bolton

Now You See Me

After listening to the fantastic Dead Scared a few months ago without realising it was the second book featurning DC Lacey Flint, I thought I’d go back and listen to the first one.

In this story, we’re properly introduced to young Met Police DC Lacey Flint and her own introduction to DI Mark Joesbury.

Lacey is interviewing a potential witness to a violent crime, when  a woman is stabbed so severely she dies in Lacey’s arms, and it becomes apparent that Lacey must have only missed the actual murder by seconds – almost as if it was performed for her personally.

When another kill is added to this particular murderer’s tally, certain facts come to light that make Lacey wonder if there could be a more deep-set motive that she should be spotting.

This is a fantastic thriller – a complete page turner (although I’m not sure what the equivalent of that is on audiobook!). It has pace, it has interesting characters, it has loads of Jack the Ripper stuff, it has gore, it has depth and it has a riveting climax, which I loved, even though I accidentally listened to the second book first, so knew part of the outcome!

If you like detective thrillers, definitely give this one a go – it’s only £3.93 on Amazon at the moment…and then you can follow up immediately with Dead Scared!  I can’t wait for the next in the series (please let there be a next in the series!)

dead scared – s j bolton

Dead Scared

I picked this up on Audible as part of their sale.

It was narrated by Lisa Coleman (remember nurse Jude from Casualty) whose voice seemed to be a perfect fit for the part. Young-sounding and slightly rough around the edges, it was just how I imagine lead character DC Lacey Flint to sound.

Soon into the book, I realised that this wasn’t the first of Lacey’s stories – this is actually a follow-up to Now You See Me that features her and her boss DI Mark Joesbury. Although there were many hints as to happenings in the first book, I didn’t feel that I needed to have read the first (although I am probably going to go back and read it anyway as I enjoyed this one so much).

We start with Joesbury and Lacey being reunited after a traumatic incident obviously at the end of the previous book. There have been rather a high number of suicides amongst students at Cambridge University and Joesbury wants Lacey to go undercover as a student to see whether she can find out if there is more to this sudden spate than just unhappy youngsters.

There is a line of thought that there could be online activities including forums that may be harboring an environment that encourages particularly vulnerable students to take their own lives. Lacey’s task is to portray herself as such a girl, and see whether anyone tries to exploit her. The only person who knows what she is really at the University for is the student psychologist who believes that there is a pattern to the suicides.

The book actually starts with the final scene – a woman about to jump from the roof of a University building and then flashes back to explain how we got there. It was a real proper thriller. And actually pretty thrilling. I loved it. There were some great descriptions and the action was fast-paced.

There was just enough new information dripped out each time to make you think “Ohhh…” and see things in a different light. Unlike many thrillers I have read, it wasn’t obvious who ‘the baddies’ were until near the end when the author was ready to reveal what was really going on.

It really one of the best thriller / detective stories I’ve read in a while, and I think the audiobook was a huge credit to it.

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