Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Daisy in Chains – Sharon Bolton

Crime Fiction 5*s
Crime Fiction
5*s

A deliciously dark read which was simply superb!

What you want to know a little bit more? Some book reviews really don’t have to say too much at all. If you’ve read any of Sharon Bolton’s previous books you’ll know she really does know her craft; not only can she come up with a great story her characters are always fully formed. None more so in this book when the trio of characters she has created will soon have you under their spell.

Hamish Wolfe is in HMP Isle of Wight prison, convicted of the murder of three young women, fat young women. Judged by his peers to be guilty of luring the women to caves in Cheddar Gorge in Somerset and killing them. The former doctor’s mother, Sandra has set up a group to campaign for his freedom.

Sandra Wolfe invites Maggie Rose, Lawyer and true-crime writer who has managed to free seven other convicted criminals to help her but Maggie just isn’t sure that this is a case she can win but she agrees to meet the group. And what a group they are; a writer that conjures up the group mentality while picking out distinctive characters for the reader to examine, avoiding obvious clichés yet leaving this reader in no doubt of how these meetings have played out in the past is one heck of a writer!

Pete Watson was the officer that had Hamish convicted and doesn’t want Maggie digging around in the background to the killings. A man with a lot on his plate as his boss is the man who now lives with his ex-wife and their daughter what or who is he really trying to protect?

I defy anyone to read this book and not to be drawn by these captivating characters who are dancing a dance of attraction, but what are they attracted to? Beauty or brains? Who exactly is manipulating who?

With the story told in a linear time-line we also have letters written to and from the prison, emails and chapters from the  draft of the book that Maggie is writing about Hamish, complete with the corny title The Big Bad Wolf! All of these items reveal that Maggie isn’t quite the cool calm collected women she presents to the outside world. On the other hand Pete doesn’t seem to quite sure whether he is still investigating the disappearance of a potential first victim to provide yet more proof of Hamish’s guilt or whether he is helping Maggie to clear his name. This is a tricky and unusual mind-set for any character in crime fiction. Normally everyone is sure which side of the fence they sit on and stick with it but I got the sense that Peter was trying to fulfil too many briefs and expectations. Perhaps his heart is ruling his head? And what about Hamish, the obvious question is of course around his guilt – did he murder those women? – but the book also goes further in asking is he capable of such an act? A question which is almost as compelling with a different burden of proof required.

The short chapters beg you to read just a little bit more and yet despite the great plot, the fabulous characters there is a questioning quality to this book. I have always dismissed the women who feature in true stories of women who are drawn to men in prison, but Sharon Bolton does go some way to examining the psyche of these relationships in an overt way and a more subtle one – I was drawn to Hamish, even without seeing him in the flesh.

Definitely one of the best crime fiction reads of the year so far I can’t recommend this stand-alone story highly enough.

I’d like to thank the publishers Random House UK for allowing me to read a copy of Daisy in Chains prior to publication on 2 June 2016. This unbiased, yet gushing review, is my thanks to them.

Other Books by Sharon Bolton (aka S.J. Bolton)

Lacey Flint Series

Now You See Me
Dead Scared
Like This For Ever
A Dark and Twisted Tide

Short Stories

If Snow Hadn’t Fallen
Here Be Dragons

Standalone Books

Little Black Lies

 

 

 

Author:

A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

22 thoughts on “Daisy in Chains – Sharon Bolton

  1. Oh, Cleo, I keep hearing such great things about this one! You’re right that Bolton is a real talent, and she’s written such a variety of things. This one is definitely on my wish list.

  2. I couldn’t get away with the Lacey Flint series but did enjoy Little Black Lies so think I’ll be giving this a go – you have convinced me!

    1. This is nothing like either the Lacey Flint or Little Black Lies so I’m hoping you’ll enjoy this one. I always admire authors more who can turn out individually different books but of course it makes it harder to know if a storyline will personally appeal.

  3. Agreed! One of the best of the year! When she’s on form which is most of the time, nobody writes better than Bolton – her books are such a pleasure. And this for me is one of her absolute best… 😀

    1. I agree – I didn’t think anything she wrote would top the last Lacey Flint which I adored but this one did – I’d be highly surprised if this doesn’t make it to my top ten of the year.

  4. Wonderful review on your part, but it is not as if this book got any bad reviews. Everyone on my Twitter feeds loves Sharon Bolton. My first and only Bolton was one on the Lacey series, and because I hadn’t read the previous installments, I didn’t enjoy it that much. But it is good to know she also publishes stand-alone novels.

  5. I’ve just read this, and I couldn’t agree more! It’s definitely Bolton at the peak of her writing skills. Sorry, I’m doing a browse so you’ll have found loads of comments from me – sorry! 😘

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