The Dark by Sharon Bolton (Lacey Flint #5)  @AuthorSJBolton  @orion_crime @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Source: Review copy
Publication: 26 May 2022 from Orion
PP: 464
ISBN-13: 978-1409198345

My thanks to Orion and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to read and review.

When a baby is snatched from its pram and cast into the river Thames, off-duty police officer Lacey Flint is there to prevent disaster. But who would want to hurt a child?

DCI Mark Joesbury has been expecting this. Monitoring a complex network of dark web sites, Joesbury and his team have spotted a new terrorist threat from the extremist, women-hating, group known as ‘incels’ or ‘involuntary celibates.’ Joesbury’s team are trying to infiltrate the ring of power at its core, but the dark web is built for anonymity, and the incel army is vast.

Pressure builds when the team learn the snatched child was just the first in a series of violent attacks designed to terrorise women. Worse, the leaders of the movement seem to have singled out Lacey as the embodiment of everything they hate, placing her in terrible danger…

You can read The Dark without having read the others in the Lacey Flint series, but I can tell you that if you do, you’ll be heading straight for the back catalogue to read the others, because this is an addictive series with a must read character in Lacey Flint.

This is a series I adore and Sharon Bolton has kept us waiting eight years for the next instalment. Has the wait been worth it? You bet it has!

Sharon Bolton’s timely and exciting novel focuses on a rising threat to women – the incel or involuntary celibate movement which is rearing its head in a number of places. In a tense, exciting and very pacy novel, Bolton  cleverly  mixes together current right wing political strands and tendencies with this movement to produce an ugly and compelling picture of what could happen without it once feeling at all far-fetched.

Lacey Flint’s background and the secrets she keeps are to the fore here as she faces up to a formidable adversary. This is someone she has met before; someone who can bring down everything she has worked for. Her relationship with DCI Mark Joesbury has been on the back burner for a while; getting too close was threatening both Lacey’s freedom and making her fear that she could bring Joesbury down with her.

But the upsurge in violent misogyny brings the two together as they combine to fight an enemy that has tentacles everywhere.

Sharon Bolton’s writing is piercing, brilliant, dark and seriously unnerving as she so cleverly cpatures the heart of the incel movement and how it could be used and manipulated to subjugate and terrify women. It is a very scary and horribly plausible scenario.

The Dark is a brilliant book with coruscating, intense writing, brilliantly unpredictable plotting and some characters who will strike a resonant chord with readers. Sharon Bolton isn’t slow to draw her own parallels with events that are happening elsewhere in the world either, lest any woman reading this book start to feel that this is after all, only fiction. I wish that were so, but as she scarily points out, the world is changing for women and in far too many cases, not for the better.

I think that’s one reason this book really got to me. Yes, it is a fantastic thriller with great characters, lots of action, danger, thrills and spills, but it is also highlighting a serious trend that women everywhere need to be alive to.

Verdict: Tense, scary, plausible with terrific characters, serious engagement with a clever and insidious plot and wonderful writing. This is Bolton on top class form and she is unbeatable. Just wonderful.

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Sharon (formerly SJ) Bolton grew up in a cotton-mill town in Lancashire and had an eclectic early career which she is now rather embarrassed about. She gave it all up to become a mother and a writer. Her first novel, Sacrifice, was voted Best New Read by Amazon.uk, whilst her second, Awakening, won the 2010 Mary Higgins Clark award. In 2014, Lost, (UK title, Like This, For Ever) was named RT Magazine’s Best Contemporary Thriller in the US, and in France, Now You See Me won the Plume de Bronze. That same year, Sharon was awarded the CWA Dagger in the Library, for her entire body of work.

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Published by marypicken

Passionate book reader. Love all kind of books from 19th century novels to crime thrillers. My blog is predominantly crime, psychological thrillers and police procedurals with a good helping of literary fiction thrown in.

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