Like This, For Ever by Sharon Bolton

like-this-for-ever-sharon-bolton (1)Barney Roberts is a twelve year old boy with twin obsessions. He desperately wants to find the mother who abandoned him when he was young, and he is fascinated with a series of local murders – the murders of young boys just like him, their bodies washed up by the Thames. He has a special talent for spotting patterns – but when he starts to uncover the truth, he discovers something too horrible to believe.

Lacey Flint wants nothing to do with this case or any other. After the traumas suffered in Cambridge, she has withdrawn from her few friends. But as the police make no progress, Lacey finds herself drawn into the case – a case that seems to be all about blood, something that Lacey knows far too much about…

One of the downsides of the blog is that by attempting to read as many authors as possible, I end up neglecting authors that I’ve enjoyed. For some reason, it tends to hit authors with a smaller back catalogue than others. This is the third book in the Lacey Flint series and I’ve enjoyed the other two quite a bit. With the publication of book four (A Dark And Twisted Tide) earlier this year, I thought it was time to return to see how Lacey was getting on.

Lacey’s not the most well-balanced individual in the world – if you’ve read Now You See Me and Dead Scared, you’ll understand why. I’d recommend you do read them, by the way. Sharon Bolton (she’s changed from S J for some reason) has done an exceptional job of not spoiling the events in those books while not diminishing the effect of the events on our heroine and her supporting cast, but you’ll naturally get more out of the book if you have read them. For a large part of the book, she’s not the focus, as the view shifts from Barney to the police team while occasionally dropping in on Lacey. Don’t mistake me, though, it’s still clearly her book.

I think I lost count of the number of times the author had me looking in the wrong direction. She dangles some well-crafted red herrings for the expert mystery reader to swallow. Full credit to her, as I fell for them every time while missing the truth completely. And, for mystery fans out there, the clues are there – I went back and checked – although I’d be surprised if anyone spots it. It does help if you’re familiar with a certain classic book – I’m not – but that shouldn’t spoil the enjoyment of the book.

And it’s a great read. One of those books that reminds you what a page-turner is – I’ve been carrying my kindle around with me grabbing an odd chapter at a time, desperate to find out what happens next. A thriller, a mystery and a well-written page turner… need I say, this is Highly Recommended.

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21 comments

  1. “It does help if you’re familiar with a certain classic book….”
    Since you are reluctant to name the classic book, I presume it would be a spoiler, at least according to you !
    I have obtained the book and shall comment further after reading it.

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  2. I have finished the book and I do not share your (and others’) enthusiasm.
    First, it is heavily padded. It is just too long at about 400 pages with many dull parts. It could easily have been reduced by half. For example take Lacey’s issues; there was no need to drag it on and on and on.
    In fact, I skipped most of the irrelevant paragraphs. For example, when Dana’s story and Lacey’s story are told alternatively towards the end, I skipped Dana’s story completely.
    Second, the plot is unbelievable. Would it really have been possible for the murderer to successfully plan and carry out the crimes? Would it have been possible for the murderer to hide their activities without creating suspicions?
    Third, it is gruesome.Killing young boys by bleeding them to death !
    Regarding your reference to a classic book, knowledge of the classic would not be a spoiler. Even if a person knows the classic, I do not think he would be able to spot the words in the Facebook messages and make the necessary deductions. However, if a person knowing the classic is told that the murders are related to that classic, then it would be a spoiler.

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    • To address the points in order, admittedly without saying anything about plot specifics:
      1) If you’ve read the first two books (and I know that cannot be something the author can assume) then the stories of the main characters are something that you will be following. Padded is the last thing that I felt this book was.
      2) How much planning was actually going on? And while we’re at it, how many Carr or Halter books are believable?
      3) The gruesomeness point is fair enough, but I didn’t think the act itself was dwelt on at all.

      And if you know about the book going into the novel, there are things (one or two things) that might lead you to the conclusion earlier than the author or indeed the reader would like. When I meant that knowledge of the book was a spoiler, I meant that knowledge that the book was linked to the crimes was a spoiler, not simply knowing the book was.

      Sorry you didn’t enjoy this – to be honest, I was a little surprised when you said that you were going to read it, given your primary interest being in golden age-style mysteries. But thanks for giving it a try.

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  3. I do the same thing, Puzzle Doctor. I read one or two books in a series, really like them, but then don’t find time to get back to the series.

    Re this series, however, I have not read the first one but I do have it on my Kindle, and I really need to get to it. Thanks for this enlightening review and the reminder.

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