Title: Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
In Dead Woman Walking, from master of suspense Sharon Bolton, the sole survivor of a hot-air balloon crash witnesses a murder as the balloon is falling.
Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor. She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime. Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all..
In Sharon Bolton’s Dead Woman Walking, the lone survivor of a horrific balloon crash evades both a killer determined to silence her and the local police investigating the crash. Which begs the question: what possible reason would she have for running from the police? An intriguing question with an equally intriguing answer that does not come into focus until this pulse-pounding mystery’s exciting conclusion.
Two sisters are enjoying their balloon ride until one of them spots a horrifying sight: a woman is being chased by a man through the Northumberland National Park. Much to her shock, the man, Patrick Faa, then proceeds to bash his victim over the head with a rock. She manages to take a picture of him but unfortunately, he spots her and immediately begins firing on the balloon. In a terrifying sequence of events, the balloon eventually crashes, killing her sister and the rest of the passengers. Terrified, she flees from the crash site before the police arrive but Patrick is often one step ahead of her as she attempts to elude him and Ajax Maldonado, the Superintendent who is investigating the crash.
The police initially believe the balloon crash is nothing but a tragic accident but several puzzling details soon add up to something far more sinister. With all of the passengers accounted for except one, they immediately begin searching for her. After widespread media coverage begins, reported sightings of the missing woman change the focus of the investigation once the police realize she is deliberately avoiding them. They are even more perplexed about her actions once they dig deeper into her background. Once Superintendent Maldonado comes up with a plausible theory for why she is on the run, they are more anxious than ever to talk to her.
Interspersed with the events of the present are a series of flashbacks that are initially a little confusing. However, it does not take long for the pieces of this intricately plotted storyline to begin to fall into place. Long held family secrets are interwoven with more recent events and a very shocking picture begins to emerge that is quite horrifying.
With non-stop action from beginning to end, Dead Woman Walking is an electrifying read with a clever plot and a brilliant cast of characters. Sharon Bolton skillfully brings this adrenaline-laced, suspense-laden novel to a twist-filled, stunning conclusion. I highly recommend this spectacular mystery to fans of the genre.