Now You See Me (Minotaur Books, $14.99, 400 pages)/Dead Scared (Minotaur Books, $25.99, 384 pages)
Have you ever been afraid to read a second book by an author? If the first one is as convoluted, terrifying and overwhelming as Now You See Me, you’d understand this reviewer’s hesitation to begin reading author S. J. Bolton’s latest novel, Dead Scared. Bolton knows how to reach that deeply-hidden vulnerable spot in her reader’s emotions. She has also perfected the scene switch that moves the story line beyond mere entertainment to fully conscious attention. The locations for the book make like a travel guide for Britain which balances nicely with the sinister and often gory action.
The two books bode well for an engaging series; however, main character Lacey Flint will have to tone down her activities if she wants to reach middle age. Flint’s shady past is revealed in Now You See Me and her career as a detective constable in England evolves as do her detecting skills in Dead Scared. There’s a love interest, albeit experienced more as longing and yearning than romance. The plot lines are not as important as the lessons Bolton puts forth regarding trust, loyalty and vulnerability. What you see is not always what you get.
Perhaps the best indicator for the success of a book is the affinity a reader develops for the characters. This holds true for Lacey Flint’s effect on this reviewer. At least one or two more tales from Bolton that feature the spunky detective would be most welcome. Let’s hope Lacey keeps her energy level high and finds more baffling mysteries to solve.