Book Review: Dead Scared

Dead Scared by S. J. Bolton

The blurb: When a Cambridge student dramatically attempts to take her own life, DI Mark Joesbury realizes that the university has developed an unhealthy record of young people committing suicide in extraordinary ways.

Against huge personal misgivings, Joesbury sends young policewoman DC Lacey Flint to Cambridge, with a brief to work under-cover, posing as a depression-prone, vulnerable student.

Psychiatrist Evi Oliver is the only person in Cambridge who knows who Lacey really is – or so they both hope. But as the two women dig deeper into the darker side of university life, they discover a terrifying trend . . .

And when Lacey starts experiencing the same disturbing nightmares reported by the dead girls, she knows that she is next.

My review: Sometimes I do silly things. Last week it was starting to read Dead Scared at 8pm one evening whilst the other half was out playing football. At 1am I’m still reading and am petrified.

A small note on back story. I discovered S. J. Bolton through the Transworld Reading Challenge last year and I absolutely love her writing style.  Her books are crime fiction with a twist, there always seems to be an element of the otherworldly running through them, enough for you to get out of bed and just double-check that all the windows are locked. But here’s the mastery, there is no supernatural factors in any of Bolton’s books, logic and reason and pure human evil are always the culprits. To turn fantasy to fact is an impressive quality.

Lacey and Mark, the main two characters we’ve been following since the first novel in what I hope is a very long series, Now You See Me, are perfect for each other. The sexual chemistry is smouldering and handled with finesse. I completely want them to get together because they are meant to be. Like Booth and Brennan in Bones, a perfect fit.

The premise of this story is the manipulation of fear – vulnerable students at Cambridge University are being targeted and exposed to the things they fear the most, until they can stand it no longer. Bolton is brilliant at creating tension until you’re fit to burst. The short chapters in the book make it extremely fast paced, and a technique that really involves the reader, short bursts of information keep you hooked and tied in to the characters fates. I found myself actively worrying about Lacey and what she was doing! Always a good sign. Cambridge as a location is also a beautiful setting and the idea of those towers of intelligence being penetrated and used for evil is really creepy!

If you love crime fiction and haven’t read this yet I highly recommend Dead Scared. The only problem with it is I read it too quickly, I’ll need more from S. J. Bolton soon!

8.5 out of 10 stars! ********.5

BUY ME! Dead Scared

One thought on “Book Review: Dead Scared

  1. “Dead Scared” sounds intriguing. I like the idea of a mystery with a twist. Thanks for reviewing it. I’m going to check it and SJ Bolton out.

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