My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a fantastic book, no doubt about it. S.J. (Sharon) Bolton is a wonderful writer: her plots are original, intricate and clever, and her style is clear and a pleasure to read; you become completely immersed in her prose and there is no clunky dialogue or awkward diction to drag you away from the action.
Dead Scared is a very apt title. The book is scary and unnerving and disturbing, but it is also interesting, exciting and, sometimes, funny. Lacey Flint is an excellent lead character: complex, three-dimensional and realistic; she is prickly but still likeable. All the characters are well-imagined and believable. (Scarily so in some cases!)
Neither the city nor the University of Cambridge are particularly covered in glory in this book, but the descriptions of both are clear and evocative. The story is woven together with skill and the plot is gripping, right until the final page; I like the style of short chapters and multiple character points of view. The book kept me hooked and I really enjoyed reading it.
I was left with a few too many unanswered questions at the end (although, now I have gone back to read Sharon’s earlier, stand alone books, I do understand a bit more!). I don’t expect an author to necessarily spell out that two plus two equals four, but whenever I thought about the book in the few days after reading (a sign of a good book!) I felt like I’d been denied some background details or conclusions, and undeniably, the ending is very abrupt.
That relatively minor quibble aside, this is an excellent book and I would recommend it, and the entire Lacey Flint series, without hesitation.