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Dead Scared by S. J. Bolton

Dead Scared (2012)

by S. J. Bolton

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Dead Scared
4 Stars

Several months after the events of Now You See Me, DI Marc Joesbury requests the help of DC Lacey Flint on a case involving a suspicious suicide at Cambridge University. As Lacey delves deeper into life as a student, she soon discovers that the questionable suicide is the latest in a series spanning several years and that someone is deliberately targeting emotionally vulnerable girls. Will she be able to stop them before she becomes the next victim?

Series note: This book references characters and events from Blood Harvest, which is unrelated to the Lacey Flint series. It is not necessary to read it before Dead Scared although it may add nuance to the story.

A solid thriller that requires a healthy does of suspended disbelief.

The most significant problem with the book is the promising, yet also unrealistic, plot premise. To begin with, the nature of the suspicious deaths self immolation, self decapitation, hanging oneself from a tree, etc. makes it difficult to understand how any adequate police force would perceive them as suicides. Nevertheless, the reader is required to simply accept the illogical and improbable situations.

Moreover, the explanation for the crimes is quite predictable and the only question pertains to the identity of the culprit. In this regard, the investigation itself is interesting with several red-herrings and tense moments to keep the reader on edge. The ultimate resolution is satisfying with an action packed climax although one or two loose ends remain.

In general, the characterization is compelling, particularly the insights into Lacey and Marc’s psychological make-up and the developments in their relationship. However, Evi Oliver, the Cambridge psychologist, is not as consistent. On the one hand, she is an intelligent, insightful and self-sufficient woman, but on the other, she is easily manipulated and even questions her sanity despite the fact that someone is obviously targeting her with malicious pranks.

In terms of the writing, the POV alternates between 1st person for Lacey and 3rd person for several other characters including Marc Joesbury, Evi Oliver, the villain (at different times of life) and some of the victims. While this is initially disorienting, it becomes less so as the tale progresses and it ultimately contributes to the eerie intensity of the rather creepy events of the story.

In sum, Dead Scared is a well-written yet intensely dark and disturbing story that shows us just how vulnerable anyone can be under the right set of circumstances. I look forward to the next installment in Marc and Lacey’s unconventional pairing. ( )
  Lauren2013 | May 24, 2018 |
Enjoying this series.... sometimes I just need a good solid police mystery - this new (to me) author just hit the spot. Reminiscent of French, Hill? ( )
  kmajort | Feb 9, 2018 |
Dead Scared is book 2 in the Lacy Flint series.

DI Mark Joesbury recruits DC Lacey Flint to go undercover at the Cambridge University as a student. There have been several suicides, but the London police aren't convinced that the victims acted alone. Could there be someone out there preying on insecure students? And, is Lacey herself being put in danger?

It was quite nice to return to this book series. The first book was good and I was interested in reading and learning more about Lacey, and, of course, Joesbury since they have a very deep connection. And, that connection is clearly still there as Joesbury has to worry throughout the book about Lacey's safety. I just love those two in the first book. Both are very fond of each other, but there are barriers between them.

What I really like about this series is that Lacey is such an interesting character, if you have read the first book will you know what I mean and if you haven't well all I will say is that she has been through a lot in her life. And, her past is perfect for her to play a vulnerable student, but it can also be extremely dangerous for her if the police are right and it's a killer out there trying to get vulnerable students.

The story was good, the case with suicides at a university didn't feel overused and I especially liked that, despite that I figured things out was I still surprised by the ending when certain things were revealed that I hadn't figured out. The book started with the ending and after that, it was a countdown through the days as the story progressed to the scene in the beginning of the book. I'm not always that fond of that kind storyline when we get a glimpse of what will happen at the ending of the book at the beginning, but in this case, it worked. And, that ending. Loved it. Although I felt that some things were left unresolved, but perhaps next book with deal with that. Still, wow what an ending!

You can probably read this without having read the first book. But to understand Lacey do I think reading the first book would be prudent.

4.5 stars

Read this review and others on A Bookaholic Swede ( )
  MaraBlaise | Dec 14, 2017 |

2.5 I thought the premise in this book was a good one - there's an inexplicable rash of suicides by young women on a college campus, all done in particularly gruesome ways. An undercover female policewoman is sent in to investigate, posing as a student.

Unfortunately, the story didn’t deliver suspense or chills and I never had a problem putting the book down. I had to suspend belief too many times. The characters behaved in silly, implausible ways and the ending was abrupt and unsatisfactory.
( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
The suicides were suspicious. Young, beautiful college students jumping from heights, stabbing themselves, even beheading themselves. They had gotten the notice of DI Mark Joesbury. Sending DC Lacey Flint in undercover seemed like a good idea at the time but he soon learned that these were so much more than common suicides and involved people he never dreamed could be involved. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
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What are fears but voices airy?
Whispering harm where harm is not,
And deluding the unwary
Till the fatal bolt is shot!

William Wordsworth
In memory of Peter Inglis Smith:
kind neighbour, great writer, good friend.
First words
When a large object falls from a great height, the speed at which it travels accelerates until the upward force of air resistance become equal to the downward propulsion of gravity. (Prologue)
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Going undercover as a vulnerable college student when a suspicious rash of suicides occurs at Cambridge University, DC Lacey Flint finds her tragic past and insecurities rendering her a more susceptible target than she realized.

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