Title: Now You See Me
Author: S.J. Bolton
Publisher: Minotaur Books
One night after interviewing a reluctant witness at a London apartment complex, Lacey Flint, a young detective constable, stumbles onto a woman brutally stabbed just moments before in the building’s darkened parking lot. Within twenty-four hours a reporter receives an anonymous letter that points out alarming similarities between the murder and Jack the Ripper’s first murder—a letter that calls out Lacey by name. If it’s real, and they have a killer bent on re-creating London’s bloody past, history shows they have just five days until the next attempt.
No one believes the connections are anything more than a sadistic killer’s game, not even Lacey, whom the killer seems to be taunting specifically. However, as they investigate the details of the case start reminding her more and more of a part of her past she’d rather keep hidden. And the only way to do that is to catch the killer herself.
This was a scary book for me – not because it’s about a Jack the Ripper-esque killer, but because it’s my first adult mystery not from beloved authors like J.K. Rowling and Meg Cabot or established authors like Agatha Christie. What if I only liked mysteries if they came from authors I already knew or well-known mystery writers? While the beginning was a bit rocky for me and definitely seemed to make my fears legitimate, I was drawn in by the twists and turns happening by the mid-point of the book.
The beginning was definitely the part where I struggled the most. Lacey, the protagonist, seemed pretty judgmental and uninteresting to me and the mystery was slow to start, even though the very first line in the book is about a dead woman being on her car (well, excluding the super-short prologue before the first chapter).
The mystery consumes most of this book, and I liked it that way. Maybe later on in the series I’ll want more from it than the mystery, but I didn’t really care about anything other than who was the murderer and why they were murdering and all of those things that involve the mystery.
This is the first book in a series and it’s mostly about a murder mystery, so the characters didn’t feel completely developed to me, but we did learn more things about the main characters by the end of the book. I’m not quite sure how I feel about most of the characters, including protagonist Lacey, but maybe the second book in the series will help me decide.
The mystery was the main draw for me. The murders are gruesome, and unfortunately the descriptions can go into great detail, but the nice thing about reading a book versus seeing it on TV is that I can easily skim those paragraphs rather than getting the image seared onto my eyeballs or something. There are some interesting twists that I do think I kind of saw coming, but I didn’t mind at all because the twists still had to be explained, and that worked for me.
This is another series that takes place in London, and the story really felt like it was happening in another country. As I was reading it, I was really reminded of a British television show starring Idris Elba called Luther (I’ve only seen the first series of it, but whatever), with all the DI and DC and similar titles and such. I have to read an American mystery involving police officers to really have something to compare to, but it just felt like it was different from an American procedural in little ways.
There isn’t really one. There’s a relationship that is really weird and complicated and certainly seems like it could lead to romance in the future, but otherwise it was totally on the backburner. There’s a tiny little subplot where Lacey often goes out looking for one night stands, but it didn’t quite feel genuine – it felt like it was added to show that Lacey was a broken bird, not a real person, so it kind of rubbed me the wrong way.
The ending brings all the answers – well, most of the answers. There are some twists revealed and explained, which was quite interesting, and by the time I closed the book I was already thinking about giving the sequel a shot to see what would happen in it, so obviously the book did its job.
This isn’t my favorite adult mystery so far, but after a slow start, it drew me in and had me flipping the pages quickly to see what would happen next, and that seems like a pretty good sign for a mystery.