Friday, January 20, 2017

Review of "Now You See Me" by S.J. Bolton

A 'Jack the Ripper' copycat is murdering women in London and - like the original Ripper - is taunting the press and the cops. The copycat seems to be focusing attention on beautiful Detective Constable Lacey Flint, who had the bad luck to find the first victim moments after she was attacked. Because Lacey was first on scene - and happens to be an expert on Ripper lore - she's asked to assist with the investigation being run by Dana Tulloch, head of the Major Investigative Team.

Also assisting with the investigation is rugged, handsome Detective Inspector Mark Joesbury. Joesbury seems to be suspicious of Lacey for several reasons: she was right there at the first murder, she has a shady background and used to live rough on the streets of London, and she picks up men for one-night stands. In his eyes, Lacey's a suspect in the Ripperish killings. Of course this doesn't stop sparks of attraction from igniting between Lacey and Joesbury.

Unlike the original Ripper, who murdered down-trodden prostitutes, the copycat targets stylish middle-class women with families. The copycat does, however, seem to be following the Ripper's timetable and modus operandi: mutilating the women, removing body parts, and so on. The police have trouble finding a connection between the copycat's victims, but once they do, DC Lacey Flint is panic-stricken for reasons that are revealed as the story unfolds.

The copycat is very clever at misdirection and leaving false clues, and Lacey keeps endangering herself by plunging into situations without appropriate backup, etc. Luckily, Joesbury is usually around to lend a hand. Eventually the police identify a suspect who has a likely motive, and this eventually leads to a dramatic climax.

I liked the mystery aspects of the book and thought the killer's motive was believable. I also felt most of the main characters were compelling, though I think the author does better fleshing out female characters than male characters. The real Ripper 's history and mythology - sprinkled through the story - add interest. Moreover, Lacey's (and I guess the author's) theory about the original Ripper's identity is clever and plausible.

I'm not a big fan of romance in mysteries so I didn't enjoy the 'push and pull' between Lacey and Joesbury as they dealt with their attraction. However, readers who enjoy romantic suspense will probably like these parts. :)

Overall, a good beginning to the Lacey Flint series, recommended to fans of the genre.

Rating: 3 stars

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