Dead Scared (Lacey Flint Series #2)
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Dead Scared (Lacey Flint Series #2)

4.5 16
by Sharon Bolton

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“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

“S. J. Bolton is changing the face of crime fiction--if you only read one crime novel this year, make it this.” —Tess Gerritsen on Now You See Me

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

“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.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Now You See Me

“The twists keep coming, and the truth is not revealed until the final page in Bolton's best novel yet.” —Library Journal (starred review) on Now You See Me

“Nice atmosphere and good Ripper lore.” —Booklist on Now You See Me

“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) on Now You See Me

“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 on Now You See Me

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.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Lacey Flint Novels Series , #2
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.76(w) x 8.04(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Dead Scared


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.

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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Dead Scared 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
cj_mayse More than 1 year ago
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.
Cambo 9 months ago
Oh, Boy. Did I ever read a good novel. One of my good friends and I did a buddy read of S. J. Bolton’s Dead Scared, the second in the Lacey Flint series. My friend composed a Google Document and then we would discuss the book after each chapters or every ten or twelve chapters - whatever we decided. It is a really fun way to read a book together. Bolton has delivered another outstanding Lacey Flint police procedural/psychological thriller. She is a master. I have been on a roll picking and reading some very good books in 2016, but this probably is hands down the best novel that I have read in 2016. Dead Scared begins with DI Mark Joesbury meeting with Lacey and requesting her services in the special crimes directorate of the Metropolitan Police that deals with covert operations. There has been a very sharp and sudden spike of girls disappearing and committing suicide at Cambridge. Lacey, cover name Laura Farrow, is to be recruited as a psychology student working with one of the psychological advisors, Evi Oliver. Lacey is being recruited as bait to draw out the bad guys, but is not told this. Bolton is a champion of direction, as in leading the reader, and blindly so, she also becomes an unheralded champion on misdirection. Her background research really pays off, as her knowledge and control of her subject matter that she writes is uncanny. I deeply admire strong character development and a very solid plot structure. Again, Bolton is definitely very adept at both. She amazes me, and I do not believe that I am patronizing her at all. Bolton is that good. Towards the end of Dead Scared, my friend and I had to abandon the Google Document. We just could not put the book down for writing discussion and theory. I did not blame her at all and I am sure it was mutual. The ending really amped up. Bolton had been pointing you this way and that way and we thought that we had a clue, but this was quickly dismissed. Some reviewers did not like the very end, but we loved it. Bolton’s ending was true to real life. It did not end like a Murder She Wrote or a soap opera on Friday where everything is explained away and everything is all wrapped up and neatly tucked away as in a lot of books with no loose ends. Dead Scared ends and the pursuit is still in chase. Fantastic, away from the formula and thinking outside the box. S. J. Bolton’s Dead Scared is a great book and I believe that anyone who enjoys police procedurals/psychological thrillers will enjoy this book. I would have no problem recommending this book to anyone. Dead Scared is a solid 5-star book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this is so freaking amazing ! hart to put down . page turner ! omy love love Sharon Bolton.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic read! When you think you've figured it out the plot thickens more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He walked in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great story by S.J. Bolton. I was drawn in right away and could not pull away. Highly recommend.
nooklooker More than 1 year ago
Hard to put down. Great plot. Loved it.
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JerseyBoy More than 1 year ago
Fast becoming one of my favorite authors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im scared
TheLifeofaBookAddict More than 1 year ago
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.
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lizzy658 More than 1 year ago
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.)