NOW YOU SEE ME by S.J. Bolton

 In Book Reviews, Mystery/Horror/Crime

Now You See Me BookNOW YOU SEE ME

Author: S.J. Bolton
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 
Genre: Mystery/Crime
Format: ARC
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Recommended Reading: AGE+ 17

Contains no spoilers

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OVERALL THOUGHTS: A pulse pounding edge of your seat thriller that has all the markings of a great action flick. The kind that simultaneously forces your brain to work overtime and gets your blood pumping. I loved nearly every moment spent reading this wild ride, that I stayed up entirely too long reading. If you love mysteries with great characterization, twists and turns that make your head spin and an ending you probably won’t see coming, read Now You See Me.

[note color=”#b0ede6″]SYNOPSIS: One night after interviewing a reluctant witness at a London apartment complex, Lacey Flint, a young detective constable, stumbles onto a woman brutally stabbed just moments before in the building’s darkened parking lot. Within twenty-four hours a reporter receives an anonymous letter that points out alarming similarities between the murder and Jack the Ripper’s first murder—a letter that calls out Lacey by name. If it’s real, and they have a killer bent on re-creating London’s bloody past, history shows they have just five days until the next attempt.

No one believes the connections are anything more than a sadistic killer’s game, not even Lacey, whom the killer seems to be taunting specifically. However, as they investigate the details of the case start reminding her more and more of a part of her past she’d rather keep hidden. And the only way to do that is to catch the killer herself.[/note]

THE LOWDOWN: This gripping novel packs a mean punch. It took me a day and a half to rip through this story that follows a young female police officer brought in to work homicide after witnessing a woman’s death. From the opening page, this story sent me spiraling down dark London roads, frightened by the wicked things that lurk around each corner. Lacey, the protagonist is smart and savvy. A police officer, attacked on the street by a brutally sliced up dying woman. This encounter spins Lacey’s world around and around, forcing her to change her life, her job and put trust in a group of cops that find it hard to trust her back. But that isn’t the end of this multifaceted cop story. After investigators realize that their murder investigation draws a distinct resemblance to the Ripper Killings, Lacey offers up her expertise on the subject and becomes a reluctant member of the team. Through Lacey, we learn oodles of information about the Ripper, both factual and theoretical. It reminded me of one of my favorite historical crime fictions, The Alienist. And when more dead bodies turn up, it becomes clear that Lacey isn’t an unsuspecting victim of circumstance. Oh no, she’s there for a reason, but figuring out why and who is behind the brutal slayings left my head spinning and my nerves begging for reprieve.

I thought I knew what was going to happen. In fact, I was sure I knew who did what and why. Boy was I wrong. Nothing in this book is what it seems; well nothing about our protagonist is clear. A semi-recluse with a penchant for late night trysts with unknown males, there isn’t anything about Lacey that is normal. She has no friends, family or pets. She lives in a museum clean home and loves her job. She fights for women who can’t fight for themselves, but all we really know about her is that there is a lot we don’t know. Then a handsome ex-special ops officer walks into her crime scene and upends everything she has worked so hard to keep secret. He doesn’t trust her, in fact he thinks she is behind the brutal killings, but he is intrigued by her abilities. And it’s his insistence that she has something to hide that forces Lacey to examine a past she thought was behind her.

Although this book was sexy at times, it wasn’t crass and found I loved the macho male character so much more than those beefed up multimillionaires that are so popular right now. It just so happens that I found his lack of page time one of the major flaws in this book. I wanted to read just a little more about him. He was smart, sexy, and strong and knew exactly what he wanted… without being an abusive, overbearing, obtuse alpha male. The only other concern I had with the story was the amount of characters to keep track of. Most of them were either deceased or about to be, but when you have a story that is so complex, it is par for the course. This wasn’t a game changer for me, just an inconsequential annoyance.

It wasn’t until the final page that those numerous character names made a lot of sense, owed in part to the amazing twists in the storyline. And if the high-pitched ending, with action and a big reveal doesn’t get your juices pumping, the game changer in the middle of the book definitely will. It was astounding to see a book completely change pace and tone at the halfway point. I am not going to spoil it, but I found myself drawing deep breaths and feeling sucker punched by this author – but it was good pain. And again, I can’t say why or how it plays out as it does, just that it was a great switch up to flip the story on its head just when the reader is getting comfortable in the flow of things.

FINAL THOUGHTS: If boring formula is your thing… stay away. This book is an edge of your seat gripping, with some pretty vicious and vividly drawn death scenes and a wild story that doesn’t give up until the end. Would I recommend it… absolutely.

Sara O'Connor
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