Title: A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton
Lacey Flint Series Book Four
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: 448 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Lacey Flint, Sharon Bolton’s enigmatic protagonist, has been living in a houseboat on the River Thames, and she’s becoming a part of London’s weird and wonderful riverboat community. Against her friends’ better judgment, she’s taken up swimming in the Thames, and she feels closer than ever to Detective Mark Joesbury, despite his involvement in a complicated undercover case. For the first time in her life, as she recovers from the trauma of the last few months, Lacey begins to feel almost happy.
Then, at dawn one hot summer morning while swimming down the river, Lacey finds the body of a shrouded young woman in the water. She assumes it was chance—after all, she’s recently joined the marine policing unit, and she knows how many dead bodies are pulled out of the river every year, most the result of tragic accidents. But further investigation leads her policing team to suspect the woman’s body was deliberately left for Lacey to find. Lacey’s no longer a homicide detective, but as she begins to notice someone keeping a strangely close eye on her, she’s inexorably drawn into the investigation.
Award-winning author Sharon Bolton has once again crafted a tightly plotted, utterly unpredictable thriller around one of the most compelling characters in crime fiction today, intensely private London police officer Lacey Flint, whose penchant for keeping secrets is only matched by her determination to uncover those of others.
In A Dark and Twisted Tide, Sharon Bolton’s newest addition to the Lacey Flint series, the River Thames is an intriguing and unique setting for a murder investigation. Ex-homicide detective Lacey Flint not only lives on the Thames, but as a member of the Marine Unit, she also works there as well. After she discovers the shrouded remains of a young woman, the subsequent investigation reveals an eerie similarity to previously recovered remains.
With her curiosity piqued by the body she discovered, Lacey tries to remain on the periphery of the ensuing investigation. However, it soon becomes clear that someone is trying to draw her attention to the unnoticed deaths. Unexplained gifts, glimpses of a mysterious swimmer and the blatant display of the latest victim make it obvious that someone wants Lacey involved in the case. So Lacey, along with DCI Dana Tulloch, keep digging for any possible connection between the victims, but fitting together the pieces of this perplexing mystery is virtually impossible.
Lacey is still the fascinating, if somewhat mysterious, heroine that she has always been. She has carved out a quiet life on the Thames and she has become friends with a few of her neighbors, but she still closely guards her secrets. Lacey’s romance with fellow detective Mark Joesbury is hindered by his current case which takes him deep undercover, but they do make a little progress during his quick, but meaningful, visits. Her uneasy professional relationship with Dana Tulloch becomes less rocky and they actually work well together once their investigation begins to produce results.
The mystery element of A Dark and Twisted Tide is full of unexpected twists and turns and easily keeps the reader guessing the killer’s identity for much of the novel. While I had a good idea that some of the secondary characters were somehow involved in the unfolding story, I could not figure out how or why. The chapters shift between different viewpoints and while interesting, there is little context to fit these different perspectives into the investigation. The pacing is a little slow until the last quarter of the novel and then it rushes at a breakneck speed to a dramatic and very surprising conclusion.
A Dark and Twisted Tide is another superb installment in Sharon Bolton’s Lacey Flint series and although it can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend the entire series (reviewed HERE).