Dead Scared (Lacey Flint Series #2)

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Overview

When a rash of suicides tears through Cambridge University, DI Mark Joesbury recruits DC Lacey Flint to go undercover as a student to investigate. Although each student’s death appears to be a suicide, the psychological histories, social networks, and online activities of the students involved share remarkable similarities, and the London police are not convinced that the victims acted alone. They believe that someone might be preying on lonely and insecure students and either encouraging them to take their own ...

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Dead Scared

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Overview

When a rash of suicides tears through Cambridge University, DI Mark Joesbury recruits DC Lacey Flint to go undercover as a student to investigate. Although each student’s death appears to be a suicide, the psychological histories, social networks, and online activities of the students involved share remarkable similarities, and the London police are not convinced that the victims acted alone. They believe that someone might be preying on lonely and insecure students and either encouraging them to take their own lives or actually luring them to their deaths. As long as Lacey can play the role of a vulnerable young woman, she may be able to stop these deaths, but is it just a role for her? With her fragile past, is she drawing out the killers, or is she herself being drawn into a deadly game where she’s a perfect victim?

Dark and compelling, S. J. Bolton’s latest thriller Dead Scared—a follow-up to the acclaimed Now You See Me—is another work of brilliant psychological suspense that plumbs the most sinister depths.

 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Dead Scared

“Outstanding. . .Bolton never eases up the tension; her tightly coiled plot and heroine on the edge work perfectly in tandem.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review, Pick of the Week)

“A number of superlatives could be used to describe Bolton’s new work, but a simple “wow!” will do. After reading the last sentence, I realized I had been holding my breath during the final page or two. Yes, the ending is that gripping. The story’s atmosphere is dark and spooky, the main characters are strong yet vulnerable and the plot is refreshingly unpredictable. This stunning psychological thriller is well worth your time. You’ll be hooked from page one.”

RT Book Reviews (4½ Stars, Top Pick)

“Readers will be caught up in the twists and turns that leave them hanging until the final paragraph.”

Library Journal (starred review)

“Credible characters, an evocative setting, and a chilling group of clever sadists make the latest from Bolton a satisfying and suspenseful read.”

Booklist

Now You See Me

“S. J. Bolton is changing the face of crime fiction—if you only read one crime novel this year, make it this.”

—Tess Gerritsen

Now You See Me is really special: multi-layered and sophisticated, but tough too.”

Lee Child

“Bolton provides excruciating tension and much else. Romantics can drool over Joesbury’s turquoise eyes; amateur psychologists can mull Lacey’s one-nighters; and Ripperologists can ponder theories of Jack’s real identity, one of which helps tie up the plot.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review, One of the Best Mysteries of 2011)

“The twists keep coming, and the truth is not revealed until the final page in Bolton’s best novel yet.”

Library Journal (starred review)

“Nice atmosphere and good Ripper lore.”

Booklist

“Bolton's fourth thriller, a complex psychological puzzler, stands head and shoulders above other such efforts featuring a modern copycat Jack the Ripper. . .Bolton skillfully plays with the reader's expectations.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Excellent. . .Now You See Me is a cerebral thriller that avoids clichés. Each twist and turn is unpredictable as are the fully drawn characters' actions.”

—Oline H. Cogdill, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Publishers Weekly
Det. Constable Lacey Flint goes undercover in Bolton’s outstanding follow-up to 2011’s Now You See Me. As a new recruit to SO10, “the special crimes directorate of the Metropolitan Police that deals with covert operations,” Flint masquerades as psychology undergraduate Laura Farrow at Cambridge University’s St. John’s College, where she stays in the same room as a first-year medical student who lit herself on fire during a Christmas party, the latest in a string of suicide attempts. Besides Det. Insp. Mark Joesbury, her boss at SO10, Flint can trust only psychiatrist Dr. Evi Oliver, the head of the university’s counseling staff who appeared in 2010’s Blood Harvest. Not only has there been a spike in suicides, but the women who’ve killed themselves—many in particularly gruesome ways—reported vivid night terrors and dreams of being raped. Though Joesbury wants Flint to simply observe student life, she takes the investigation much deeper and becomes part of the dangerous game she’s meant to be preventing. Bolton (winner of two Mary Higgins Clark Awards) never eases up the tension; her tightly coiled plot and heroine on the edge work perfectly in tandem. Agent: Anne-Marie Doulton, the Ampersand Agency. (June)
Library Journal
Bolton's second novel featuring London police officer Lacey Flint is as suspenseful a psychological thriller as Now You See Me. Working again with Mark Joesbury, Flint goes undercover as a student in Cambridge when a higher-than-usual suicide rate is reported, and authorities begin to suspect that someone is pushing vulnerable students to take their own lives. However, Flint doesn't realize that her own past makes her the perfect victim, and she finds herself alone and vulnerable among strangers. When terrifying nightmares disturb her sleep and strange encounters occur in her waking hours, Flint begins to question her hold on her sanity. VERDICT Although Now You See Me is tough to beat, Bolton comes close with this sequel. Readers will be caught up in the twists and turns that leave them hanging until the final paragraph. [Library marketing.]—Lisa Hanson O'Hara, Univ. of Manitoba Lib., Winnipeg
Kirkus Reviews
Cambridge University under siege. A rash of suicides—three this year, four last year, three the year before that—so exceeds the statistical norm that Scotland Yard has placed undercover agents at Cambridge University to find out what's going on. DI Mark Joesbury, he of the turquoise eyes who sends DC Lacey Flint's pulse racing (Now You See Me, 2011, etc.), has Lacey billeted as Laura Farrow in the St. John's college room recently vacated when Bryony Carter was hospitalized for setting fire to herself. Bryony, a patient of Cambridge psychiatrist Evi Oliver, had been depressed, struggling with coursework and tormented by violent dreams of a sexual nature. Dr. Oliver, the only person at Cambridge aware of Laura's real identity, thought that Bryony might have been goaded to self-immolation by websites encouraging suicide. Another student, Jessica, complains of bad dreams, sleeplessness, whispering voices and images of the things she's most scared of: clowns. Will she attempt suicide too? Dr. Oliver herself isn't sure what's real and what's delusion, and matters escalate when weird toys appear in her home, then disappear, as do e-mails and foggy messages on her mirror. Like the hounded others, Laura begins to feel that someone is watching her, creeping into her room at night and terrifying her. While Dr. Oliver and Laura try to puzzle out what's happening, more die, perhaps urged on by someone using suicide as a murder method. Suspicion falls on a falconer and a man involved in the sadistic hazing of Laura. Will the women be driven to suicide by their deepest fears? Love triumphs, but barely. Menacing and then some. But when the goose bumps recede, there are several major plot holes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250022561
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 3/5/2013
  • Series: Lacey Flint Series , #2
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 135,566
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

SHARON BOLTON is a Mary Higgins Clark Award winner and an ITW Thriller Award, CWA Gold Dagger and Barry Award nominee. Sharon Bolton was previously published as S.J. Bolton.

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Read an Excerpt

Dead Scared

1

Friday 11 January (eleven days earlier)

 

ALL BAR ONE NEAR WATERLOO STATION WAS BUSY, WITH nearly a hundred people shouting to make themselves heard above the music. Smoking has been banned in the UK's public places for years but something seemed to be hovering around these folk, thickening the air, turning the scene around me into an out-of-focus photograph taken on a cheap camera.

I knew instinctively he wasn't there.

No need to look at my watch to know I was sixteen minutes late. I'd timed it to the second. Too late would look rude, or as if I were trying to make a point; too close to the agreed time would seem eager. Calm and professional, that's what I was going to be. A little distant. Being a bit late was part of that. Except now he was the one who was late.

At the bar, I ordered my usual drink-for-difficult-occasions and stretched up on to a vacant bar stool. Sipping the colourless liquid, I could see my reflection in the mirrors behind the bar. I'd come straight from work. Somehow, I'd resisted the temptation to leave early and spend the better part of two hours showering, blow-drying my hair, putting on make-up and choosing clothes. I'd been determined not to look nice for Mark Joesbury.

I fished my laptop out of my bag and put it down on the bar -not actually planning to work, just to make it look that way - and opened a presentation on the UK's laws on pornography that I was due to give the following week to a group of new recruits at Hendon. I opened a slide at random - the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act. The recruits would be surprised to learn, because most people were, that possession of all non-child pornography was perfectly legal in the UK until the 2008 Act outlawed extreme pornographic images. Naturally, they'd want to know what qualified as extreme. Hence the main content of the slide I was looking at.

An extreme pornographic image depicts a sexual act that:

threatens, or appears to threaten, a person's life.

results in serous injury to sexual organs.

involves a human corpse.

involves an animal

I changed a spelling mistake in the second bullet point and added a full stop to the fourth.

Joesbury hadn't arrived. Not that I'd looked round. I would know the minute he walked through the door.

Twenty-four hours earlier I'd had a five-minute briefing with my DI at Southwark Police Station. SCD10, still colloquially known by everyone as SO10, the special crimes directorate of the Metropolitan Police that deals with covert operations, had requested my help with a case. Not just any young female detective constable but me specifically, and the lead officer on the case, DI Mark Joesbury, would meet me the following evening. 'What case?' I'd asked. DI Joesbury would fill me in, I was told. My DI had been tight-lipped and grumpy, probably on account of having his staff filched without being told why.

I checked my watch again. He was twenty-three minutes late, my drink was disappearing too quickly and at half past I was going home.

I couldn't even remember what he looked like, I realized. Oh, I had a vague idea of height, build and colouring, and I remembered those turquoise eyes, but I couldn't conjure up a picture of his face. Which was odd, really, given that he was never out of my head for a second.

'Lacey Flint, as I live and breathe,' said a voice directly behind me.

I took a deep breath and turned round slowly, to see Mark Joesbury, maybe just a fraction over six feet tall, strongly built, suntanned skin even in January, bright turquoise eyes. Wearing a thick, untidy, ginger wig.

'I'm undercover,' he said. And then he winked at me.

DEAD SCARED. Copyright © 2012 by S. J. Bolton. All rights reserved. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 31, 2013

    Fast-paced thriller

    This is one of those books where the heroine makes a decision and you want to shout, "No, you fool! Don't do it!" Intricate plot, twists and turns. Clever, especially the ending. Nicely done. Want more with this cast.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 5, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The brief prologue sets the scene for the reader: Near midnight

    The brief prologue sets the scene for the reader: Near midnight; one of the tallest towers in Cambridge, England; D.I. Mark Joesbury, racing up the stairs to its roof; and a young woman perched near the ledge at the top. And then the reader is brought back eleven days in time to see how they got there, with a 1st person p.o.v. of D.C. Lacey Flint, which alternates with third-person perspectives. Flint has been “loaned out” from the Southwark Police to the Special Crimes Directorate of the Metropolitan Police which deals with covert ops, typically being sent on “difficult and dangerous situations.” As we are introduced to them, the slightly flirtatious banter underlying their meetings hints at the least of a possible romantic entanglement between them at some point in the relatively recent past.

    Lacey goes undercover as a student at Cambridge University after the latest in a number of suicides, with a suspicion that there is more going on than meets the eye. The death was only the latest of three suicides during the current academic year. The only one outside of her police colleagues who knows the truth is Dr. Evi Oliver, head of student counseling. The belief is that there is “something decidedly sinister” happening. Lacey’s remit is to “keep a lookout for any unhealthy subculture that might be unduly influencing young people.”

    Initially Lacey feels out of her element: “I knew I’d never get used to it,” in a place where “Wordsworth and Wilberforce weren’t characters from history but alumni.” But she is there to do a job, and it becomes increasingly urgent. Within several days, one more death occurs. And further investigation indicates that there have been a total of nineteen suicides over the past five years, far more than the general statistics on suicide would bear out. And the manner of death chosen is not what might be expected, including self-immolation by one girl and another who’d decapitated herself. As the days go on, whatever is going on threatens to ensnare Lacey herself.

    This is a book at once not an easy read and yet difficult to put down, much more so on both counts as the book progresses. The fifth novel from Ms. Bolton, this is the first I have read, but it will certainly not be the last. It is a nail-biter, beautifully written, and highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2014

    Jack

    He walked in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2014

    Another great story by S.J. Bolton. I was drawn in right away an

    Another great story by S.J. Bolton. I was drawn in right away and could not pull away. Highly recommend.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 12, 2014

    Hard to put down. Great plot. Loved it.

    Hard to put down. Great plot. Loved it.

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  • Posted September 20, 2013

    Fast becoming one of my favorite authors.

    Fast becoming one of my favorite authors.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Scared

    Im scared

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  • Posted May 16, 2013

    Pretty much right after I finished Now You See Me, I bought Dead

    Pretty much right after I finished Now You See Me, I bought Dead Scared and quickly began reading…

    Not long after the whole ripper business, Mark Joesbury requests Lucy Flint’s assistance looking into some strange goings-on at Cambridge University. Students, mainly women have been committing suicide in abnormal ways and Lucy is sent there to pose as a student. It is not long before she is targeted and yet again her life and others are put in danger. Lucy just may have gotten more than she bargained for.

    Dead Scared is the second book in the Lacy Flint novels. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I did her previous book, Now You See Me. This one was a little more predictable than her first story, but there was still a good element of surprise in the story. I was not too keen on the ending of the book…it fell flat…for me at least. It was fine, but I was hoping for an ending with a bit more bite to it I guess. Other than that the plot was entertaining and worthwhile.

    S.J. Bolton has a way of writing that catches the readers’ attention and gets the mind/imagination working. I love when a writer is able to do that. That is what makes reading fun to me.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 23, 2012

    If you enjoyed Now You Can See Me, the first book in the series,

    If you enjoyed Now You Can See Me, the first book in the series, you will like this book. SPOILER (My main problem with the book is the ending in that it feels open ended with no firm conclusions unless there will be a follow up book or leave it up to the reader to assume what happens.)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted October 12, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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