Mon
Sep 19 2016 3:30pm

Review: Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

Daisy in Chains by Sharon BoltonDaisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton features a convicted serial killer that insists he's innocent and a notorious defense attorney that eventually takes the case (Available September 20, 2016).

Daisy in Chains is as sharp, tight, and uncompromising a read as you will find anywhere. With this thriller, Sharon Bolton has demonstrated that she is well on her way to the very top of the crime writing genre. The plot, characters, twists, and turns are of premier quality—every section of the book is like a master class in gripping story-telling.

Maggie Rose is a top-class defense attorney and writer. She is well-known for getting convictions overturned. Tough, thoughtful, and highly intelligent, she sees things other people miss or pass off as trivial.

Hamish Wolfe is very good looking, fit, and smart. However, he is also as endearing as that dirty ring of scum you find inside your bath when the water leaves. A convicted serial killer, Wolfe is languishing in a maximum-security prison when he reaches out to Maggie to visit, support his case, and write his story.

Like a lot of psychopaths, Hamish’s killer tendencies do not demean his ability to charm and hypnotize people into doing what he wants them to do. Many women write to him and visit him in prison, completely taken in by his personality. He is a doctor, which comes in handy in prison—to survive, it helps to know the best place to hit another human being to even up the odds when the beatings come. They come fast and thick.

A grunt of assent. Wolfe jumps to his feet, looks from Wringer to Slim. The younger man is on his hands and knees now, bleeding from the lip. “Same goes for you two. And you, dickhead in the doorway. Have you got it?”

Eyes down. Grudging nods. It’s the best he can hope for. He turns back to Wringer, the only one relatively unscathed.

“Give me five minutes, then bring them round. Gavin’s lip is going to need two stitches and I can probably set Terry’s nose for him. It’ll be quicker than waiting to go to a hospital. And I can give you all something for the pain.”

Wringer gives a brief nod. “Thanks, Doc. I’ll bring them.”

“And clean this fucking mess up.” Wolfe leaves the room and heads back to his cell. Nobody stands in his way. Some say street fights are won with the right attitude. An ability to put aside fear and weigh straight in. Some say they are won by those in the best physical condition. Wolfe knows better. He knows that street fights—specifically those taking place within the close confines of prison walls—are won by a superior knowledge of human anatomy.

Maggie Rose does not want to meet Wolfe. Apart from the disgusting nature of the crimes he has been convicted of, the evidence, in her opinion, is overwhelming. A straight-forward, solid conviction. Professional interest causes her to take a look, which only serves to convince her more of the fact he is in the right place. She is not remotely interested in taking on his case, and yet…something doesn’t seem quite right. Something doesn’t fit in place.

I was on the edge of my seat reading this book, and that, I can assure you, does not happen very often. Nothing which transpires in the story is telegraphed. You do not see the unexpected coming. The most fascinating thing about Daisy in Chains is that it not only reads like a crime thriller, but also stands as a horror story. I found myself leaving the lights on even after I had finished the final page.

Sharon Bolton’s Sacrifice was voted Best New Read by Amazon.uk. Her second book, Awakening, saw her awarded the 2010 Mary Higgins Clark Award. After that, the awards just kept coming. Something in her writing touches upon familiar thoughts—passing sentiments, memories from the past, fleeting encounters—and expresses them all in a book that I didn’t want to come to an end. There are many other titles out there by Sharon Bolton. They do not deserve to go unread.

There is doubt about whether the plane will take off, more about whether it will be able to land. The cold spell gripping the UK seems to tighten its hold the further north she flies. Maggie spends almost the entire eighty-five minute flight staring out at a frozen, grey ocean of cloud. More than once, she wishes the plane need never have to land, that she can continue flying north, into the vast white emptiness with its promise of oblivion, but sooner than she feels ready for, a tightness in her ears tells her the plane has begun its descent.

No matter how many crime books you've read or whether your mind is sharper than a boning knife, there is one thing I can comprehensively guarantee: You will not see the twist at the end coming—not in the slightest. My dream was to eventually write a book as good as this, but now that Sharon Bolton has written it, there is no point. I am off the hook. I should count myself lucky.

Read an excerpt from Daisy in Chains here!

 

To learn more or order a copy, visit:

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Dirk Robertson is a Scots thriller writer, currently in Virginia where he is promoting literacy and art projects for young gang members. When not writing, tweeting, or blogging on the Mystery Writers of America website, he designs and knits clothes and handbags from recycled rubbish.

Read all Dirk Robertson’s posts for Criminal Element.

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