Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dead Scared by SJ Bolton

This is a book I received through Goodreads and the first one I have read by SJ Bolton. I have heard good things about her, so I was looking forward to it.

Lacey Flint is a police officer who is working undercover, posing as a Cambridge University student. There has been a spate of suicides amongst female students at the university. The methods the women have chosen to kill themselves are highly unusual - one sets herself on fire, another decapitates herself. What the women seem to have in common is that they were struggling in some way, lonely or depressed, or having trouble with their studies. This wouldn't be unusual in suicides, but the methods and the number of deaths have drawn the attention of the police, who suspect foul play. Lacey's role is to act the part of a vulnerable student, both to find information about the women who have died, but also to possibly draw out the killer.

The only person at the university who knows Lacey's true identity is Dr Evi Oliver, a psychiatrist who runs a clinic at which the most recent victim was a patient. Evi seems to be being targeted by someone who wants to break her;

Evi stopped, willing the wind to soften so that she could hear the snigger, the scuffle of feet that would tell her someone was watching. Because someone had to be watching. There was no way these cones had blown on to the path. There were twelve in all, one in the exact centre of each flagstone, forming a straight line right up to the front door. 

I thought this was an enjoyable book, the short chapter helped to keep up the pace and I didn't know how it was going to end. I did wish that I had read the previous book in the series because I felt that I could've done with a bit more understanding of the relationships, particularly between Lacey and her superior officer, Mark Joesbury. But other than that, I enjoyed it.

I got a couple of new books this week. I visited a quirky gift shop in Stockton, Who Ray, which has a few shelves of second hand books. I picked up A Writer's Notebook by W. Somerset Maugham which is described as 'a fascinating glimpse into the life and mind of the man who wrote some of the greatest novels and short stories of this century'.

I also won a book! I won a copy of The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers in a competition from Harvill Secker. 'Over two hundred years ago Bookholm, the City of Dreaming Books, was destroyed by a catastrophic firestorm.' It looks like an interesting read.


  1. This mystery sounds very good. I am a big fan of the "Detective Morse" mysteries that take place in Oxford and have watched the series on public television. There is even a spinoff series called "Detective Lewis," which has been very good also. I just love the ambiance of a university setting, so I am sure I would enjoy the book you have reviewed. Thanks for this recommendation.

    1. I haven't watched much Morse, though the series were very popular here. I know what you mean about a university setting - I keep meaning to read some Dorothy L Sayers, I think some of her mysteries are set in universities.

  2. I'm quite interested in crime fiction at the moment, too, and I like an academic setting. Not keen on too much gore, though. It put me off the Dragon Tattoo books.

    1. I loved the Dragon Tattoo books - but I daren't watch the films!