Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Dead Scared Review

Dead Scared
-       S.J. Bolton

Publisher: DoubleDay

Review Copy Courtesy of Transworld Publishing
When a Cambridge student dramatically attempts to take her own life, DI Mark Joesbury realizes that the university has developed an unhealthy record of young people committing suicide in extraordinary ways. Against huge personal misgivings, Joesbury sends young policewoman DC Lacey Flint to Cambridge, with a brief to work under-cover, posing as a depression-prone, vulnerable student. Psychiatrist Evi Oliver is the only person in Cambridge who knows who Lacey really is -- or so they both hope. But as the two women dig deeper into the darker side of university life, they discover a terrifying trend. And when Lacey starts experiencing the same disturbing nightmares reported by the dead girls, she knows that she is next...

Lacey Flint, Met Detective with speciality in violent crimes against women is asked to go undercover to investigate a series of suicides of under-graduates at Cambridge University. However, she finds herself increasingly out of her depth and isolated... Lacey is such a great character – both incredibly strong and yet emotionally vulnerable. She feels like a real person to me – not necessary someone I would like but I connect to. Her feelings of being overwhelmed by a new environment and unsure what to do is easily relatable as we all feel that way at some point – whether at university or at a new job or moving to a new town and this makes her easy to identify with.

The subject of suicide is difficult yet dealt with a lot of sensitivity while not hiding the consequences at all. Some of the suicides are extreme and horrific – as are the crimes committed. Yet it is the people that stay with you longer. There is something about SJ Bolton’s writing that worms its way into your head and keeps you thinking long after you close the last page. I find myself thinking about Cambridge, or Lacey or Evi at random time throughout day and wondering what they are up to now. While some of the same characters from Bolton’s previous books, Blood Harvest and Now You See Me appear in Dead Scared, this can definitely be read as a stand-alone novel. Events in previous books simply mean the characters have pasts without any major info-dumping – it just makes them seem more realistic.

I went through the book in less than two days and thoroughly enjoyed every second. I was rooting for Evi and Lacey throughout and scared by how easily our perception can be altered. This is a extremely competent, absorbing and utterly thrilling psychological story – and I can’t wait for another book by SJ Bolton!

Recommended for fans of Mark Billingham and Robert Goddard. 9 out of 10.


  1. It's been a while since I read a book like that but this one sounds very intriguing and I really like the cover we immediatly know the atmosphere we will have.

  2. Sounds like a bit too much for me, I am too chicken! ;) I'd rather watch it as a movie

  3. Oh I don't know. I'm curious and yet, I wonder if it would bother me too much. I think that is why I like the paranormal. You know it couldn't happen since those people really don't exist. Still... you make a good argument especially since you liked it so much. I'm considering it!