Thursday, June 05, 2014

A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton

First Line: I am Lacey Flint, she tells herself, as dawn breaks and she lifts one arm then the other, kicking hard with legs that are longer and more powerful than usual, thanks to a stout pair of fins.

Detective Constable Lacey Flint had a horrific first two years with London's Metropolitan Police, so she made the decision to resign from the force. Now she's a member of the Thames River Police, living on a houseboat, going for daily swims on the river, and wishing that she could get over her love for undercover detective Mark Joesbury.

Just as she's beginning to feel as though her life may be getting on a even keel, she finds a shrouded dead body in the river as she's swimming. Unfortunately, dead bodies found floating in the Thames aren't unusual, and Lacey assumes that her finding this body was just chance. As the police continue investigating, they begin to suspect that the woman was left for Lacey to find-- and Lacey begins to notice that a shadowy someone seems to be keeping an eye on her. She may not be a homicide detective any more, but as evidence and clues begin to stack up, she's drawn right into the heart of yet another dangerous investigation.

One of the best parts of Sharon Bolton's Lacey Flint series is her main character's growth. From someone adept at masking her true self, a self who doesn't play well with others, Lacey is slowing growing and learning to become part of a team. She has flashes of true brilliance as a homicide detective, but her prickly, standoffish nature has made most (but not all) of her fellow detectives unwilling to work with her. In A Dark and Twisted Tide, Lacey almost fits in with her fellow detectives, and it will be interesting to see the progress she may-- or may not-- make in the next book.

There's not another writer today who can make the River Thames a living, breathing, and at times malevolent character the way Bolton does. I've learned so much about the river, its behavior, and its history from following Lacey. I've also learned that the Thames can be so eerie and menacing that it can make chills run down my spine.

Combined with her two main characters-- Lacey and the Thames-- Bolton adds a tightly woven plot with plenty of twists and turns. Moreover, although there are dead bodies, women in extreme danger, and those scenes that make you jump out of your skin if there's the slightest noise behind you as you read, Bolton doesn't create her tension with graphic violence, torture, or gore. There are quite a few writers who could learn a lot from her.

A Dark and Twisted Tide can be read as a standalone, but to appreciate fully the character of Lacey Flint, I'd suggest that you begin at the beginning with Now You See Me. If you do, I'll envy your being able to meet this extraordinary character for the very first time.

A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton
ISBN:  9781250028587
Minotaur Books © 2014
Hardcover, 448 pages

Police Procedural, #4 DC Lacey Flint
Rating: A
Source: Net Galley


  1. Cathy - Bolton really does a good job, doesn't she, of bringing the setting to life. And it's good to know that Flint's character is continuing to move along and grow a little. This one was on my list anyway, and you've reminded me why.


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