Hamish Wolfe is a convicted murderer, serving time for the killing of four girls. But as with many charismatic murderers, he has fans. Fan, of course, being short for fanatic. The Wolfe Pack is a group of women who are determined that Hamish is innocent and are determined that he should see the light of day again. Some send him letters of hope, some of undying love, but one of the group, Hamish’s mother, is determined to do more.
Enter Maggie Rose, a lawyer with a history of getting apparently guilty men out of jail. Hamish’s mother wants Maggie to take the case. She refuses, at first – but Hamish Wolfe is a dangerously persuasive individual – and before long, Maggie finds herself face to face with him. And the game begins…
Sharon Bolton is an author who came onto my radar a while ago by accident – see my review of Now You See Me for why – but it’s an accident that I’m very happy happened. Her Lacey Flint series contains some of my favourites mystery/thrillers of recent years – Like This, For Ever still has bits and bobs that I think about, the sort of tricks that stay with the reader. But Little Black Lies, the first non-series work of hers that I read, just blew me away. A tense, twisty thriller that was one of my easiest Book Of The Month books ever.
But with all twisty-turny thrillers, how to review them without giving things away? There can be so many reversals and/or reveals at times that almost anything I can say can give hints or teases as to what is going on.
So I’m going to be unnaturally brief with this review because this is an outstanding piece of work that I’m very wary of spoiling even part of. The characters – kept to a small core of three central characters that helps the reader get a real focus on them so that any twists involving them will be all the more affecting – are well-thought out and involving. The narrative is interspersed with “newspaper cuttings” concerning peoples’ obsessions with prisoners and letters to and from Hamish Wolfe, all of which provide an effective frame for the story. With regards the core plot, Sharon Bolton, with an expert hand, drops enough into the narrative that the smart reader will begin to figure out bits and pieces of the big picture but you still won’t figure out what’s actually happening. Well, I didn’t anyway.
I suppose the cynical reader might just question the feasibility of the plot – but that’s the point of crime fiction, in my book at least, to entertain. And this is a thoroughly entertaining, well-crafted and tricksy thriller that kept me absorbed from the first page to the last. Highly Recommended.
Daisy In Chains is out today – how’s that for timing? – and many thanks to Random House and Bantam Press for the review copy via NetGalley.