Dead Scared

S J Bolton

When a rash of suicides tears through Cambridge University, DI Mark Joesbury recruits DC Lacey Flint to go undercover as a student to investigate. Although each student’s death appears to be a suicide, the psychological histories, social networks, and online activities of the students involved share remarkable similarities, and the London police are not convinced that the victims acted alone. They believe that someone might be preying on lonely and insecure students and either encouraging them to take their own lives or actually luring them to their deaths. As long as Lacey can play the role of a vulnerable young woman, she may be able to stop these deaths, but is it just a role for her? With her fragile past, is she drawing out the killers, or is she herself being drawn into a deadly game where she’s a perfect victim? 

What a ride this turned out to be. Lacey Flint is a somewhat damaged character, but not a weepy pathetic one, nor a demonically strong and independent one either. She is bang in the middle and probably the closest to what reality would be I would imagine. She has strengths and weaknesses but I really like her. She has a little bit of attitude and is bright without being portrayed as Miracle Woman!

 

In this newest case her senior officer Mark Joesbury calls Lacey in on an undercover job. As a somewhat junior copper (albeit experienced, after book 1!) she is pulled in to the job with the minimum amount of information. All she knows is that she is to pose as University student, due to the sudden high levels of suicides happening in and around the college. 

 

Lacey immerses herself in student life and has to portray herself as vulnerable which it soon appears is not that easy for Lacey. However, from the early stages you get the sense that things aren’t ‘quite right’ at the University. There is an undercurrent to the writing which is very dark and gives you that ominous feeling. I also loved the fact that we are seeing the progression of the relationship between Lacey and her senior Joesbury.

 

At around the halfway mark I realised that never before has a title been so aptly named. I was Dead Scared! Not on the whole gory, violet and descriptive front. The worse kind…you know when the hairs stand up on the back of your neck type of fear. I raced through this and fluctuated between thinking I knew who was to blame and why and how, to knowing absolutely nothing. It was absolutely fantastic rollercoaster of a read that had me scared, thrilled and desperate to read more. I mean what more could a reader want? By the end I was chomping at the bit to get started on book 3. A great series that I would highly recommend.

Review by Katherine Everett, Best Crime Books

About S J Bolton:

Born and brought up in Lancashire, England, S J Bolton the eldest of three daughters. As a child, she dreamed of becoming an actress and a dancer, studying ballet, tap and jazz from a young age and reading drama at Loughborough University.

She spent her early career in marketing and PR before returning to full-time education to study for a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Warwick University, where she met her husband, Andrew. They moved to London and Sharon held a number of PR posts in the City. She left the City to work freelance, to start a family and to write.

She and Andrew now live in a village in the Chiltern Hills, not far from Oxford.