Publication Order of Lacey Flint Books
|Now You See Me||(2011)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Dead Scared||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|If Snow Hadn't Fallen||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Lost||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|A Dark and Twisted Tide||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Chronological Order of Lacey Flint Books
Like This, For Ever (aka Lost) should be read prior to the novella If Snow Hadn’t Fallen when reading in chronological order.
Publication Order of Standalone Novels
|Sacrifice||(2008)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Awakening||(2009)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Blood Harvest||(2010)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Sharon Bolton (often simply called S.J. Bolton) was born in Lancashire in the North of England in 1960. She is most famous for her crime fiction, which, as she herself has described it, helps her to face up to her own demons. Bolton’s novels tend to fall firmly within the genre of detective fiction. They tend, too, to focus on female protagonists. This is particularly the case with her ‘Lacey Flint’ series of detective novels.
S.J. Bolton has won several awards for her writing. For example, in 2010 she won the Mary Higgins Clark award for her second novel, which is entitled ‘The Awakening’. The Mary Higgins Clark Award is a prestigious award for writers of crime and mystery fiction. It is named after Mary Higgins Clark (the pen name of Mary Theresa Eleanor Higgins Clark Conheeney), a US author of mystery and suspense novels who was born in 1927 and it is awarded annually.
Bolton has also won the Crime Writers Association (or CWA) Dagger Award for her whole body of work. Moreover, the CWA shortlisted her novel ‘Blood Harvest’ (her third published book) for its Gold Dagger Award in 2010.
One of Bolton’s novels, ‘Sacrifice’ was also turned into a film in 2016. Released by Luminous Pictures, this film version stars Rupert Graves, Radha Mitchell, and David Robb, among others. It is directed by Peter Dowling. Sacrifice was Bolton’s first novel, and it was published by Bantam Books in 2008.
The Lacey Flint series of novels
The Lacey Flint novels are perhaps Bolton’s most famous books. They are named after their main protagonist, detective constable Lacey Flint, who works for the London Metropolitan Police. These are police procedural novels and they focus as much on Flint’s struggles in her personal and professional life as they do on the thrilling and sometimes disturbingly dark crimes that she has to solve.
In the books, Flint is a relatively young police officer, however, because she is sharp witted and often fortuitously in the right place at the right time, she gets to deal with some very big cases. Though the Lacey Flint novels are not Bolton’s first works (her first book was, as mentioned above, ‘Sacrifice’), they form a coherent body of work which it is worth looking at more closely. So, let’s take a look at the first two novels in this series, i.e. ‘Now You See Me’ and ‘If Snow Hadn’t Fallen’.
‘Now You See Me': Lacey Flint Stumbles Across a Body
‘Now You See Me’ was first published in 2011. This novel begins with Lacey Flint interviewing a reluctant witness and then heading out into the cold London night. All too soon, however, she stumbles upon the body of a murder victim, and this leads her to follow a trail of clues in order to attempt to find out the identity and the motive of the killer.
As if that wasn’t enough, a local news reporter receives a letter, sent anonymously, which names Lacey Flint and gives her a warning. The letter appears to be from the killer, and they state that they are attempting to recreate the murders committed by Jack the Ripper: a sadistic serial killer responsible for one of the bloodiest chapters in London’s criminal history.
Thus, this novel depicts a race against time as Flint needs to work out the clues to stop the killer from murdering again. Using her knowledge of how Jack the Ripper stalked and killed his victims centuries ago, and trying to ignore the killer’s taunts (which are often directed at her personally), Flint works desperately both to solve the crimes and to keep her own past at bay. The title suggests the game ‘Now You See Me Now You Don’t’, and this fits in with the way that the killer tauntingly darts in and out of Flint’s view. Will she be able to catch him in time? Turn the pages as fast as you can to find out.
As is clear from the above, this is a novel that puts Flint right at the heart of the action, and one in which Flint’s own life becomes inextricably bound up with the lives of the criminals that she hunts – and those of her victims. This is a theme of the other Lacey Flint novels as well. So, let’s now turn to the next novel in the series, which is entitled ‘If Snow Hadn’t Fallen’.
‘If Snow Hadn’t Fallen': Recovery and a New Case
‘If Snow Hadn’t Fallen’ is more of a novella than a novel. Less than a hundred pages long, it is around a quarter of the length of ‘Now You See Me’. Nonetheless, it is just as suspenseful as Bolton’s first Lacey Flint tale. And, what is more, the two stories are closely linked. ‘If Snow Hadn’t Fallen’ is set just a few weeks after the end of ‘Now You See Me’ and we see Flint still attempting to recover from the emotional and physical shock of the Ripper copycat case that she was solving the last time that we saw her.
There is little time for rest, however, as Flint has a whole new case to crack. As before, she stumbles upon her new case almost by accident. She is called in as backup for an incident and, though she does not strictly have to go along, she decides that her colleagues could use her help and so she heads to the scene of the incidents. There, she discovers a young physician who has been burnt to death. Shocked by this grisly sight, she decides to take on the case, and to face up to a few more of her own demons in the process.
Like all of the Lacey Flint novels, If Snow Hadn’t Fallen’ depicts Flint having to work around her superior officers in order to make headway. This element of the novels makes Flint a very attractive character as it enables her to display her intelligence and her tenacity as she decides when her superiors’ orders need to be ignored. As always, Flint follows her own gut instinct, often putting herself in great danger as she does so, in order to pick up on hints and clues that other officers have missed.Book Series In Order » Authors » Sharon (S.J.) Bolton