Ahh. The all important third book in a series. The book where patterns emerge and where this reader can lose interest in the series. Is the author sticking with their formula or are they challenging their characters and their reader? While Like This For Ever (or Lost in the American Release) falls prey to some recognizable patterns over the course of the first three books, the sheer strength of author’s storytelling and writing rules the day.
After my review of the first in the series, Now You See Me , I referred to S.J. Bolton as “Tana French Lite”. After three books in the series, I am now referring to S.J. Bolton as “Tana French Dark”. Fans of both Tana French and Dark Psychological Thrillers will find the Lacey Flint series enjoyable.
Within a short period of time, Lacey Flint has been involved in a Jack the Ripper copycat investigation and part of an investigation into the a rash of suicides at Cambridge University. After the latter, Lacey’s fragile emotional health has begun to interfere with her day to day life. London and surrounding communities are again living in fear as young boys are being abducted and killed. While the police chase shadows, Lacey is drawn into the investigation and the darkness of the human mind.
Just When you have it Figured Out…
The author wants to think you have the mystery figured out. Facts are laid out for you and you and you think “This has to be the answer”. As usually, the author keeps us guessing right until the end. While the plot is important to the novel it is also driven by the fears, insecurities and pasts of the characters. Throughout the story you ask yourself if the story is a peek into the mind of a killer or mystery in which you have to wade through the proverbial “red herrings” until we discover the killer. The answer is that it is both. The author skillfully weaves these two themes into one. From page to page you will change your mind as to the identity of the killer. At the same time you are provided a glimpse in the mind of a killer while ultimately coming to the conclusion you were approaching the story from the wrong perspective. Personally, I enjoyed the form of storytelling. While there were a significant number of coincidences (which is pet peeve), they served to further the story and keep the taunt atmosphere of Lacey’s world.
Being Barney Roberts
S.J. Bolton continue to provide us stories with shifting perspectives. In Like This For Ever the author takes this to the next level. Much of the story is told from the perspective of a pre-teen boy with what is likely some form of undiagnosed mental illness. This provides a fascinating perspective for the story. We watch events unfold from a perspective that most of us cannot understand. Being inside of Barney’s head and watching him unfold the mystery is a story unto itself. While the shifting perspectives and parallel storylines were well done in the first two novels, it is more skillful and entertaining the third time around.
Spot the Pattern
This book currently stands as one of the best audiobooks I have listed to in 2014. Despite my praise, there were a few issues that kept me from giving the book a full 5 stars.
The investigation in each of the these books have involved the main character is some personal way. For a police constable that is not on the murder squad, she finds herself investigating them quite often. I’m not sure how many times the character can stumble into a murder or a have the murderer take a special interest in her before it becomes formulaic.
In addition to this, there are a couple of other patterns that I will not mention for fear of spoilers. I hope in future novels, the author makes some adjustments before this wonderful series begin to feel repetitive.
This is a wonderful and dark psychological thriller. While the authors showed used many of the devices that made her previous novels successful, she did add a few new elements to the mix. This series will not be for every reader. The crimes are dark and at times disturbing. Unlike the first two, there are some “rays of happiness” at the end of the story. If you are a fan of S.J. Bolton then get ready for a new release. A Dark and Twisted Tide is set for release on May 8, 2014. I have already pre-ordered my copy and am looking forward to continuing the series.
The audiobook continues to be narrated by Lisa Coleman. She does an exceptionable job of narration. 5 stars for the series narration.
It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations.
Scale 1 – Lowest 5 – Highest
Sex – 2
There is mention of sex as part of the investigation. The murders in this installment are not sexual in nature but it is discussed in small amounts. There is sexual tension between two characters which is a recurring plot. The discussion on this is not graphic in nature.
Language – 2.5
The amount of adult language continues to be low. There are a few mild obscenities and a few f-words in the story. A large portion of the story is told from the perspective of a young child and he did not use adult language.
Violence – 3.5
The violence is noticeable decreased from the previous novels. While murder is the focal point of the novels, it is considerable less graphic than in previous installments. There is a minor amount of gore. The thrills come less from the descriptions of violence but the psychological cat and mouse game.