Written by SJ Bolton — In these hi-tech days, it seems that no good – or bad – deed can go unnoticed. Where would we all be without our smart phones, laptops and tablets? Who would we talk to if there were no Twitter or Facebook? It’s a scary thought for someone who remembers writing letters by hand and posting them!
Facebook plays a huge part in SJ Bolton’s chilling new novel, and so do the young people who use it so readily. We’re in London, and pre-pubescent boys are disappearing – later to be found dead, with their throats cut. Young Barney Roberts lives in the area and is the same age as the victims. But Barney is different. He is highly intelligent, extremely tidy to the point of obsession – and certain that someone is watching him, particularly on the nights when he is home alone and waiting for his university lecturer Dad to return from late tutorial sessions. He is also the next-door neighbour of Lacey Flint, who will be familiar to readers of SJ Bolton’s previous books Now You See Me and Dead Scared.
Lacey is on sick leave, and making regular visits to a therapist in a bid to come to terms with her past adventures, so the last thing she wants is a needy young boy asking for her help. But Barney is a very special youngster who is destined to grab the heart of any reader and Lacey can’t resist getting involved.
As the bodies are found, a shadowy figure using the false name of Peter Sweep taunts the police via Facebook. He seems to have an uncannily accurate inside track on the victims and his very anonymity puts him in the frame. However, when a rogue profiler muddies the waters and makes TV and national newspaper headlines by suggesting the murders are the work of a modern-day vampire, things really get tough for the investigating team, led by DI Dana Tulloch – a woman who is not exactly Lacey’s number one fan, and who dismisses her off-the-book investigations as more of a hindrance than a help.
Meandering through it all is the good ol’ River Thames, which is portrayed almost as a character in its own right. Much of the action is played out on on or near the water, and the river mists add a macabre and unsettling edge.
The whodunnit aspect of this book is supremely frustrating – you think you’ve got it sussed, then realise you’re wrong again. I chucked out the abacus after putting yet another two and two together and getting five, and decided to just go with the flow. What a white water ride lay ahead! This book kept me up to the early hours as there was no way I could sleep until I knew who the killer was. Along the way I ran the whole gamut of emotions and had a love/hate relationship with almost everyone involved. What more could you ask from a crime thriller?
CFL Rating: 5 Stars