I’m one of those who is fascinated by the story of Jack the Ripper or rather its mystery. I’m sure, if the crime had been solved, I would care far less, but those many questions – Who was it and how did he get away with it? Why did he stop? Why did he choose prostitutes? – will never be answered, it will always compel people to speculate and add their own interpretations.
S. J. Bolton must have felt the same fascination and Now You See Me, her take on Jack the Ripper, is a gripping read. DC Lacey Flint, her main protagonist, has always been interested in serial killers. Jack the Ripper is just one of them but one she’s studied in detail. 120 years to the day after Jack the Ripper has killed his first victim, a woman is savagely murdered in London. And DC Flint is the one to find her. Other victims follow, always on the same day the Ripper killed one of his victims. Is this new murderer a copy cat? Why is he interested in Lacey?
Detectives Dana Tulloch and DI Mark Joesbury are in charge of the investigation. When they notice how much Lacey knows about the Jack the Ripper and that the murderer seems to take an interest in her, they include her in the investigation. Joesbury mistrusts her in the beginning, which is unfortunate for him, as he’s also attracted by her. He knows that Lacey had a troubled past. Not one that a police officer should have. She had problems with drugs and delinquencies are mentioned.
Now You See Me is a page-turner. A police procedural combined with a thriller, which makes for suspenseful reading. This isn’t my first S. J. Bolton. I’ve read Sacrifice before. While I really enjoyed both of her books, they are both flawed. There is always a moment in her books when believability is stretched just a tad too much. If she wasn’t so good at atmosphere, suspense and interesting characters, she wouldn’t get away with it, but since she is great at those three aforementioned elements, I forgive her easily and will certainly read another one.
Danielle wrote a great review of Now You See Me here.
Have you read S. J. Bolton? Which is your favourite?
This is my fifth RIP review. Don’t miss visiting the RIP review site for other Mystery/Crime/Thriller/Ghost/Dark Fantasy related reviews.
36 thoughts on “S. J. Bolton: Now You See Me (2011)”
I read this one when it was featured on The Readers podcast, and then almost immediately read the next in the series, Dead Scared. Both were gripping reads, although, as you point out, they do stretch believability at times. I think I prefer Now You See Me because of the added layer of Jack the Ripper, but I’m eager to read the third one soon.
I didn’t kn ow there was a third one but I’ve got the second already. Yes, the believability is an issue in all of her novels but she writes so well. I loved the Jack the Ripper angle.
It came out earlier this year. It’s called Lost here in the US, but Like This, For Ever in the UK. You’ve reminded me I want to go back and read her one-offs.
Thanks. I’ll certainly get to it once I’ve read Dead Scared. Sacrifice had a stunning atmosphere but I was also shaking my head about some elements. Now You See Me was far more believable.
No I haven’t read this author. I was recently reading a book about ME Braddon and the author made the point that the failure to catch Jack the ripper increased the public’s loss of faith in the police. Makes you think about what it must have been like to be alive at the time and see murder after murder with no solution.
It must have been so terrifying. I guess the lack of proper light – i think streetlights ended before Whitechapel, must have been a key factor.
I find the idea of “New” killers obsessing over old and legendary crimes to be a good one. I wonder just how much that Jack the Ripper, in a terrible way, has influenced subsequent murders down through the years.
That’s a valid question. I think there are certainly people who get inspired by serial killers. Makes me shudder.
I’ve read 3 of Bolton’s novels, and I came to the same conclusion, flawed. Doesn’t stop me from being interested in her work, though. I’ll add Now You See Me to my list.
I hope you wil like it. I thought the Jack the Ripper angle was really well done. It’s something else that was flawed. You will see. She clearly has a lot of talent or she wouldn’t get away with it.
Nice review, Caroline! The theme of the book is quite interesting. Makes me think of Matthew Pearl’s ‘The Dante Club’. Glad to know that you enjoyed the book. You are having a wonderful RIP reading adventure!
Thanks, Vishy. If you’re ever looking for a real page turner. I don’t know the Dante Club. I’ll have to look it up.
I’ve read another two RIP books. I’m just not sure if I’ll be able to write the reviews in time. 🙂
Have not read this author, but am finding that I like crime/thrillers a lot. The story about Jack the Ripper has always fascinated me too. The Dante Club is supposed to be quite good.
She’s definitely one to try despite the flaws. I like her better than Gillian Flynn.
I really need to look up The Dante Club.
Very nice review. I have this book and have not read it… and I don’t think I was aware that it was related to the Jack the Ripper story. My husband is more into that than I am, but I expect to like the book anyway.
I also checked out your review of her first book. I did not know it was set on the Shetland Islands. I just read two of Ann Cleeves’ books set there, and I am eager to read more set in that area. So I will have to look around for it.
I hope you will like her. She does etting and atmosphere really well. The Shetland Island were doen so well.
I’m keen on reading Ann Cleeves.
I think you might still like the Ripper aspect as it’s just one part of the story.
Ripper copycat sounds interesting and your review intrigued me, but what does “when believability is stretched just a tad too much” means?
I can’t answer that question as it does include the end. Let’s just say the solutions are not as good and realistic as the whole book. I still think you’d like her writing.
No…you don’t have to explain it from the book. I was just wondering about the meaning of that sentence.
OK. Btw I just saw that Peaky Blinders is available on DVD already. Since Monday. 🙂
Ah! I have just replied your comment about the DVD. Hope you’ll like it 🙂
I agree–there is always a point in her stories where you raise your eyebrows just a bit! But the stories are so gripping you just overlook it! I have found that to be the case pretty much with all her books. I’ve read most of them, so I always know going into one what to expect. They are fun escapists reads. I like the relationship, too, between Lacey and Josebury–which has me curious and wanting to return to the stories. I still need to read her newest. Glad you liked this one despite the flaws and thanks for the link back to my post! 🙂
I think we feel the same about her. Flawed but addictive. I’ll read another one soon. I loved the relationship as well and wonder where it will go.
This is my first comment, since it takes me a very long time to type with paws. However, I’m a big fan of your blog, particularly since I’m a film/TV/theatre/literature-reviewing cat myself. I’m tickled to present you with the Dragon’s Loyalty Award. Pick it up at my site, Franny’s Film Forum, anytime. 🙂 http://frannysfelinefilmforum.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/i-win/
With the appropriate feline ennui masking enthusiasm,
Franny the cat
Thanks for vising and your very kind words, Franny. Max the cat was very excited to see a fellow feline comment. 🙂
Thanks for the award. I’ll visit shortly.
It is a fascinating story and the fact that they still haven’t figured it out just makes it so much more interesting. I keep meaning to do a Jack the Ripper tour, but worry it might be just a tad too cheesy for me. I’ve been to the neighborhood where he hunted and it’s an odd feeling. Will keep an eye out for this book.
If you’re on the look ut for something really gripping, I’m sure you’ll like it.
I would love to do a jack the Ripper Tour. I could imagine there are different ones, some ma<be for tose who are more interested in history.
I hope you'll take one and write about it.
The British tv series Ripper Street might interest you. It’s a drama about policing in the aftermath of the failure to catch Jack the Ripper. It’s fairly good.
On the Ripper himself, at risk of sounding unbearably pi-faced I can never quite get past the fact we’re turning the torture and murder of real people into entertainment. Granted it was well over a century ago, but I still prefer my murder victims to be fictional.
I haven’t seen Ripper Street yet but will do so, I guess. Thanks.
I think that could lead to a philosophical debate. Fiction is, whether it’s clear or not, inspired by real murders. That’s why I think, to some extent, the fascination is dubious anyway. But, I agree, some people tend to forget that there are real victims who were killed by the Ripper.
Bolton’s book is ultimately pure fiction.
Inspiration comes where it comes. I’ve read Ellroy’s inspired by real murders without a problem, I suppose with the Ripper murders it’s just for me that it’s become such an industry.
I did have the impression that Bolton was aiming for the purely fictional 🙂
I agree about the industry, although I’m far away. It’s like the Salem Witch hunts.
I must admit I hadn’t heard of the Ripper theory she explores here and found it interesting that it could have been a woman, maybe a midwife. You see, I’m not a Ripperologist or it would have occured to me as a possibility.
S J Bolton is one of those authors I keep meaning to read, and then some other book pulls me in more. I think the thing is I prefer puzzle mysteries to gore-y ones, and so I tend to head towards Golden Age or more literary thrillers. But I’d still like to read something by this author one day.
She’s great weh it comes to atmosphere and not too gory. But not very literary either. But I really like her and if you’re in a suspense mood, you might appreciate her too.
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