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 undercover, 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.
©2012 S J Bolton (P)2012 Random House AudioGo
S J Bolton has written five novels, with some recurring characters. I had previously read Now You See Me, which involved Lacey Flint and Mark Josebury, and whilst it’s possible to read Dead Scared on it’s won, I would recommend reading Now You See Me first.
I wasn’t quite as keen on Now You See Me, but it does tell you a lot more about Lacey’s character, and her relationship with Joesbury. Lacey is a complex character, with a colourful, traumatic background – she’s hard to completely like, but is certainly interesting.
In Dead Scared, there are concerns over strange suicides at the Cambridge University, concerns mainly raised by Evi Oliver, the university psychiatrist. Evi is also in one of the earlier books.. her past does seem important, but I’m not sure how much is explained in the earlier book.
Lacey is sent undercover to the university, simply to observe – but she soon gets pulled into the case. Being a detective, she’s unable to sit back and not investigate, and with her background, she soon becomes involved herself.
The suicides are in deed strange – the victims seem to experience strange dreams and hallucinations, although it’s unclear how or why these are happening. Once Evi and Lacey start experiencing the same thing, you pulled into the experience, trying to work out exactly is going on.
I enjoyed this book because it offered more than a basic crime story – it’s tenseful, and the strange circumstances surrounding the suicides offer an added layer to the suspense.
Recommended for those looking for something a little different – I hope we get to find out more about Lacey and Mark’s future.
I think it would be a 'page turner' either way
I like surprises in mysteries of course (!) and there are always a few in this novelist's work but what I really admire is the way that that it isn't even the resolution of the mystery that is the most satisfying. It's the fact that I care about what happens to Lacey and that is so much more than a mystery potboiler.
Great characterisation of Lacey. Manages to convey both toughness and vulnerability.
Yes and I did listen to it all in one sitting
I love SJ Bolton's books and am listening to the Lacey ones in order. I have to ration myself though as her books are both dark and disturbing so there is only so much I can take into my psyche over a period of time!
This was one to put you on edge if attending uni. The plot was riveting and kept you on the edge of your seat all the way through. My only disappointment was the very end, but does not detract from how good this was.
I read and 'listen' to a wide variety of genres but particularly enjoy crime, historical and contemporary writing.
The sense of evil and the building of tension.
The moments where something is coming in the dark and Lacey is alone - particularly running in a dark forest.
I felt the narrator did a great job. Lacey is an excellent protagonist as she is so flawed and makes mistakes.
I also liked the linking in of characters from the first book - following their story along was interesting.
I didnt laugh or cry but I certainly had an increased heart rate!!!!
No one does the 'wake up in the night to a noise' type drama better.
Bolton is writing gripping, satisfying and substantial British crime and is a pleasure to 'read'. I find aspects of her writing fulfilling in that they have quite a literary sense to them rather than the short, choppy writing of some crime authors. She is good at vulnerability without being soppy - we dont get overdone with romance although there are hints. Her female characters are particularly clear and unsentimental.
I look forward to more!
This is one of the creepiest books I've read in a long time. I'm not usually affected in any way by thrillers but for some reason found this one disturbing. I was a little sceptical about the old 'university' campus setting again but it was well written and you felt that you were in the main character's shoes, experiencing things with her.
Not the best thriller I've read or listened to this year. You don't have to have read S.J. Bolton's first book featuring the heroin, Lacey Flint, but it would help. Felt like it had been written by a committee following a list of criteria for a modern thriller e.g. "write it in the first person", "let's have short chapters", "we should have a few gory details", "let's have a strong female lead, but vulnerable too" .
The final few chapters are implausible and a bit silly.
This is the second in the Lacey Flint crime series and it is a huge disappointment. I loved the first book 'Now you see me ' and gave it 5 stars, this however is much weaker and although I listened to the end it was tempting to give up sooner. The plot and characterisation is very weak in this book. There was little insight into the characters of the victims and the fact that there were so many victims sometimes made it difficult to distinguish who was who. I am still gripped by the relationship between Lacey and Mark Joesbury and as ever Lisa Coleman is a fantastic narrator.
"yep - dead scared!"
I really liked this one! Scary, interesting and very good. I want more!!! And the performance is excellent!
"Doesn't Suffer the Sophomore Curse"
Dead Scared is the second of the Lacey Flint novels. Lacey Flint, a London detective, is seconded to an undercover assignment as a university student at Cambridge. The book continues to explore the difficult relationship between Lacey and DI Joesbury, her superior.
The book also introduces other characters (Dr. Evie Oliver and Harry the vicar) who are more front and centre in Awakening, an unrelated novel.
The plot twists and turns and is full of surprises, red herrings, and potential suspects. Vulnerable university students are somehow undergoing psychotic episodes and attempting to commit suicides.
The identity of the bad guys in this book is even harder to figure out and more surprising than in Now You See Me. S.J. Bolton is very good at surprising the reader without being unbelievable.
Some of the chase scenes are hair-raising, and I was on the edge of my seat more than once. For a lot of the book, DI Joesbury's involvement is somewhat unsatisfying, because there is no explanation of why he's hanging around and why he's interested in the case. But all loose threads are woven in at the end.
As with the previous book, Lisa Coleman's narration is excellent. Her performance is fabulous, and she's a master at vocal intonation and accents.
As a second book, this one is every bit as good as the first, and is well-deserving of a credit.
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