S. J. Bolton
Bantam Press, 2011
When Lacey returns to her car one evening to find a woman fatally stabbed right by it, she is taken in for questioning, but then a hand-delivered letter suggests the killer has a special interest in Lacey herself.
Suddenly she is at the centre of a terrifying murder hunt, working with the smart but damaged DI Dana Tulloch and the hostile DI Mark Joesbury, another person who seems curiously fascinated with Lacey.
Is Joesbury's interest in Lacey personal or professional? Will Lacey cope as the case pushes her into the limelight? And does the team have the skill to outwit one of the nastiest serial killers Londoners have fallen prey to since the killer's infamous role model... Jack the Ripper?
Now You See Me is a first-person crime thriller and the first Bolton novel I have read. In it Lacey Flint, a young police officer, becomes embroiled in a Jack the Ripper copycat case that has the police running all over London trying to solve the mystery before another woman dies.
The book opens with Flint being accosted by a dying woman on a London housing estate, and from that moment Flint is inextricably connected to the case, despite the reservations of her superiors. Flint has a particular interest in Jack the Ripper and is able to spot the parallels in the cases. This is helpful to the police, but it also suggests that Flint is being targeted by the killer.
There are lots of twists and turns in Now You See Me, and once I got to the end and everything fell into place it was quite satisfying to see how everything slotted together, but although I had a few suspicions about various characters throughout, I never managed to unravel the whole story as it was happening. (One of my hunches was particularly off-centre!)
Something I struggle with quite often when it comes to police procedurals is the sheer number of bit characters (normally all those minor police officers), and there were a lot of names in this one that I forgot as soon as I read them. Luckily, Flint is a pretty complex character and an interesting narrator. She's trying to juggle a less than savoury past with her new life as a police officer, while engaging in some love-hate, touch-me-don't-touch-me flirtation with another officer and taking on extra work under the radar in order to ensure the safety of girls who are at risk of sexual abuse. In the middle of all this, she has to deal with the gruesome reality of the Ripper case (and the details are pretty gory) and the fact that she could be next on the list.
This book was recommended to me Vicky, and in her review she talks about wanting to find out more about the Ripper while reading. The book gives quite a lot of background information and it was interesting without being too info-dumpy. It definitely makes you want to read a little bit more into the background, and in the back of the book there is a rundown of some of the more popular Ripper theories, which were a nice little addition.
Now You See Me is a gripping crime thriller with a less than simple protagonist and lots of action to keep the pages turning. There are some genuinely chilling moments, and I'll definitely be looking out for more of Bolton's work in the future.
Overall rating: 7/10
Book source: Borrowed from the library.