Murder most foul in good old foggy London…
In Now You See Me,” author S.J. Bolton has continued her first-person narrative series. Detective Lacey Flint finds a dying woman in the process of finger-painting fresh blood over her car: the dark red stuff having just spewed forth from one gaping slit throat and seriously hacked-up abdomen. Lacey looks pretty guilty since she’s sitting next to the body, sticky blood decorating her hands and clothes.
More brutal murders keep showing up in unlikely places (like nice homes and parks) to horrify and titillate the local citizenry and give the media plenty of material for TV face time and front news pages. It’s all so a la Jack the Ripper.
Lacey is kept out of the investigations, but she is not one to be restrained, or kept down, for Lacey has some dark secrets in her past from which she has emerged, clearly feisty, but not necessarily healed. Her fellow detectives must never know her past. If they get even close, she will bolt. And having cut her teeth on all things Ripper, as in Jack, you know Lacey understands viciousness and terror. Like a professor, Lacey explains to her female boss and her handsome-dude advisor, just how similar the horrendous murders match up with the most famous killer in all of England’s history.
The author cleverly unfolds urban legend and historical facts of Victorian London. We get to go with Lacey in a superbly written account of our heroine searching for the killer and that person’s connection to her own past, down into one scary, long forgotten-but-still-there Camden Catacombs. Best read in daylight. No fog. No rain.
The story actually delves on many layers of crime: not just gruesome, voyeurishly over-the-top mutilations, but of the results of crimes against women that goes well beyond the physical to the seemingly endless emotional toll exacted on the victims. Lacey, working out the mysteries, facing up to her responsibilities, gains strength, but loses her heart to that sardonic, caring detective, DI Mark Joesbury, who in turn has slowly fallen for Plain Jane Lacey Flint. In one of the most endearing statements of love I can recall, Joesbury says to Lacey, “How come I wake up every morning and the first thing I think about is you?”
We, the readers, not Joesbuy, and for sure, not Lacey Flint, know just who and what she is. But by the end, we have come to love her and all mysteries are solved. Satisfactorily.