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by Sharon Bolton
Minotaur Books, June 2014
444 pages
ISBN: 1250028582

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In this fourth novel in a series, young police detective Lacey Flint, after several disturbing cases, has decided she wants to step away from these traumatic homicides. She's moved to a marine patrol unit, still part of London's Metropolitan Police, and is living out of a houseboat on the Thames, going for early-morning swims in the river.

It's during one of these swims that Lacey spots a woman's body in the water. That in itself is not strange; bodies are often found in the river. But this one is shrouded in linen and appears to have been left for Lacey to find. It will be, of course, only the first of several bodies to be found this way. Lacey also begins to find strange items left on the deck of her houseboat. They appear to be some sort of message, although Lacey cannot figure them out or why someone would be stalking her.

Drawn into the case, first reluctantly but later wholeheartedly, Lacey is once again walking a perilous path, the very thing she was trying to escape. The case appears to have something to do with the smuggling of Afghan women into the country, and the perspective often shifts so that we see the story from the eyes of two of these women, Nadia and Pari.

At other times, the perspective shifts to Det. Insp. Dana Tulloch, Lacey's superior. Dana is trying to conceive a baby with her partner, Helen, but what would seem an exciting process raises tension - and danger.

Bolton does a masterful job of bringing us the stories of all these women, shifting back and forth effortlessly. Into these stories she weaves the mystery of Lacey, who is not really the person she appears to be. This plotline, which begins with earlier books, is explained well enough for readers new to the Flint series (although it may make you want to go back and read the earlier ones).

Unlike her standalone novels, this is more of a solid police procedural, with less of the gothic about it. Still, Bolton does drop in some gothic bits. For example, those who have lived on the river for years speak of seeing a mermaid, and Lacey herself sees something strange in the water. And the River Thames itself becomes a malevolent character, dark and twisted—but oh, so delicious to read about!

Note: Sharon Bolton and S.J. Bolton are one and the same.

§ Lourdes Venard is a newspaper editor in Long Island, N.Y.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, July 2014

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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