Friday, November 04, 2016

What we're reading: Sharon Bolton

I've been catching up on new mysteries by some favorite authors, in between book club books, and I just read an intriguing one by Sharon Bolton. I have read quite a few of her books, and I especially enjoyed some of the ones featuring detective Lacey Flint (although none of her books--the series or the standalones--has received less than a four-star rating out of five from me!). This one is a stand-alone, and it was a twisty one.

In Daisy in Chains, Hamish Wolfe is locked up for life for the abduction and murder of three women (or possibly more--some were never found). As is true of many serial killers, Hamish has a fan club, from whom he receives adoring letters declaring that they know he is innocent, and also that he is their soul-mate. But is it possible that he could be innocent? Hamish says yes, but then, doesn't every felon claim "I didn't do it"?

Maggie Rose is a lawyer who writes true-crime books (whose aim and result is freeing the unjustly accused), but she only takes on cases that she is convinced she can win. So she initially has no interest in speaking with Hamish Wolfe, since the circumstantial evidence in his case was overwhelming. But Hamish is determined to get Maggie to think again, and his looks and charm may persuade her otherwise.

What happens when Maggie, Hamish, and the detective who actually solved the murders begin to re-engage is confusing, disturbing, and misleading!

This was not my absolute favorite of Bolton's (because much of it was just too weird even for me). But I loved how everything you thought you knew kept getting turned on its head, so that you weren't really sure until the very end what was actually going on. I started getting a feeling at about 75 percent of the way through the book, but parts of it I genuinely never saw coming.

If you like psychological games-playing along with your mystery, Bolton's books are for you. Her protagonists are mostly women in unusual professions and offbeat settings, and the books cross that line from mystery to thriller, and in some cases almost to gothic. I especially liked Little Black Lies.

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