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.