Review: S J Bolton – Like This For Ever

I’m a relatively new reader to S J Bolton’s fiction but I enjoyed her last novel, Dead Scared, enough to want to catch up with her S J Boltonprevious books. I haven’t got around to doing this yet but the latest in the Lacey Flint series, Like This For Ever,  dropped on my doormat recently. Most of us bloggers are influenced by other reviewers’ posts and an excellent review at the website Novel Heights, which called it ‘the best thing I’ve read in 2013’, made the book impossible to resist.

Lacey Flint is haunted by the events that unravelled in Dead Sacred and is off work and seeing a psychiatrist. She befriends her next door neighbour, Barney, who is obsessed with looking for his missing mother. Young boys have been going missing from the area and are then found murdered days later. Lacey is determined not to get involved but, when Barney appeals for help, she is forced to confront the demons which are preventing her from rejoining the police. Dana Tulloch and Mark Joesbury of the Major Investigations Team struggle to make headway in the case. They have a leak within the team and a celebrity psychologist is mocking them for their inability to find the killer.

Bolton’s strengths lie in her ability to develop a plot so that you’re swept along by the narrative until the conclusion. Like This Forever, successfully switches between multiple narratives to deliver a sense of impending catastrophe as more boys disappear. There’s occasionally the feeling that the reader is being manipulated too much but overall the red herrings that are scattered around the book work well. The characterisation is excellent. Damaged DC Lacey Flint dominates the narrative and her attraction to Mark Joesbury remains a constant theme. We get to see more of the personal lives of the police here, especially Dana Tulloch who is yearning for a child of her own.

After Bolton’s previous sojourn to Cambridge, it’s good to be back in London with some excellent descriptions of Thamesside locations and a strong sense of urban menace. I found the novel to be a genuine ‘whodunnit’ of the classic variety, and it’s always nice to read a book that keeps you guessing.

Thanks to Transworld for the copy of my book.

23 thoughts on “Review: S J Bolton – Like This For Ever

  1. I finished Blood Harvest this morning, unable to move from my chair until I got to the last page. It’s apparently more “Gothic” than her ones with Lacey Flint but I’ve ordered the whole of her back list because of it. Enough said, I think!


  2. vicki (skiourophile / bibliolathas)

    I must read no 2 – I enjoyed no 1 a lot, thinking it offered an interesting twist on the whole dysfunctional detective theme. And I used to live in Cambridge. I get so far behind so quickly with series!


  3. I’ve liked Bolton’s standalones but have resisted the temptation to get into the series because…well I need more series to follow like I need a hole in the head 🙂 but this does sound good…nice to know Bolton has kept up the plotting ability, I think it’s a strength of hers.


    1. I do know what you mean about series Bernadette but I’m always happy to dip in and out of them and not read them in order. I think you can do that with this one.


  4. Margot Kinberg

    Sarah – I agree completely that Bolton is strong on plotting and it’s good to hear that the characters are continuing to develop here. Interesting you’d mention liking it that the scene in this novel shifts back to London. I think sometimes having characters travel can add freshness to a series, but it’s always nice when they ‘go home.’


  5. I’ve been a fan of Bolton’s ever since ‘Sacrifice’ came out and I am deeply envious that you’ve already read this. I’m waiting for the library copy to turn up and gnashing my teeth with impatience. 😉


  6. Sarah, I’ve not read this author though I was given Awakenings by a friend. I’ll see how I go with that before committing to another new-to-me author and a limited time frame (and wallet!)


  7. Certainly sounds like a good book. I just purchased Now You See Me (Kindle edition) so will be sampling this series and this author. Hope I like the books as well I you. When I can figure out where to fit it in.


  8. kathy d.

    Does one need to have read Dead Scared to read this one? Or does it stand alone enough to read just this one? Also, is this really creepy full of menace? As I’ve said before, I’m a scaredy-cat, and gave up reading one author’s works after I wouldn’t go to the garbage compactor three nights in a row — and I live right next door to it.
    However, this book sounds compelling to me and I want to try one of her books, although I’ll read it with all of the lights and TV on!


    1. I think that’s a good idea, Kathy, In terms of sequence, it’s a difficult one to call. There are a lot of references to the ‘Cambridge case’ which is book 2, but Sue G over at Novel Heights hadn’t read that one and it didn’t spoil her enjoyment at all. Whereas I hadn’t read book 1 and there is a character in book 3 that clearly appears in that one. I have no problem reading books out of order but if you like all the back story to make sense it might be best to start with ‘Now you see me’.


  9. I’m glad you enjoyed this too, Sarah. It’s my favourite of the Lacey series, though I loved Now You See Me too and am envious that you still have that one to look forward to! I still like Bolton’s standalone novels best, though.


  10. Pingback: The Best of April’s Reading | crimepieces

  11. I’ve just reviewed Like This, For Ever myself and loved it! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Lacey Flint series so far. Have you read the short story released as an e-book earlier this year?


Leave a Reply to kathy d. Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.