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by S.J. Bolton
Bantam, April 2013
400 pages
12.99 GBP
ISBN: 0593069161

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

S.J.Bolton is undoubtedly an author going from strength to strength, upping her game with each new book. I'll even forgive her use of prologues and short, filler chapters designed to tease and intrigue, and I don't have much higher praise than to willingly set aside my pet dislikes..

The familiar cast of characters is out in force: DC Lacey Flint, damaged by her past in a wide variety of ways; DI Mark Joesbury, as engaging and attractive as ever, and this time with an equally engaging mini version of himself in tow in the person of newly-introduced son, Huck; DI Dana Tulloch, initially one of Lacey Flint's supporters, but here a woman who almost seems to have lost faith in her own instincts, and even a brief appearance by psychiatrist Evi Oliver. Bolton supplements these old favourites with numerous others, all equally well-drawn, including Barney, Lacey's young neighbour and his group of friends, who take a dangerous interest in a serial killer who is abducting children just like them, slitting their throats and abandoning their bodies, often near water.

Dana Tulloch and her colleagues are plagued by a series of leaks that can only have come from someone with inside knowledge of the investigation that bring the press down on their heads while they are trying to work out whether someone posting on Facebook under the name of Peter Sweep is actually the killer or simply a cruel and opportunistic hoaxer. Meanwhile, Lacey Flint, on sick leave after the traumatic events of DEAD SCARED, reluctantly becomes involved in some investigating of her own, which brings her into unexpected conflict with Tulloch.

LIKE THIS, FOR EVER demonstrates a hand surer with misdirection as a technique than we've seen before in Bolton's books. It's something she's made frequent use of in previous books but never to such good effect as here. The frequent but never too dizzying shifts in the investigation were well accomplished. At times I thought I'd guessed when I was being manipulated, but enough of a nagging doubt remained that I found I was reading faster and faster just to keep up with the relentless pull of a narrative as dark and compelling as the waters of the Thames, and in Bolton's capable hands, the river and its surrounding waterways is as much a character as any other in the book. There were times when I was reading with my heart in my mouth, never knowing whether tentative allegiances I'd formed with the characters were destined to be brutally shredded or not, and I certainly never believed than anyone was safe from harm in her hands. But although this is undeniably a dark book, the darkness is never unremitting, nor did I ever feel it was gratuitous. This is a genuinely gripping read that I had great difficulty setting down, and I can only hope that Bolton returns to these characters again, and quickly, as there is so much more mileage left in all of them.

Linda Wilson is a writer, and retired solicitor, with an interest in archaeology and cave art, who now divides her time between England and France.

Reviewed by Linda Wilson, April 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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