Now You See Me- London – Sharon Bolton

Think you’ve read every Jack the ripper inspired novel?

You’ve not read Sharon Bolton

The story in a nutshell –

Lacey Flint – now there’s a character I want to get to know better.

DC Lacey Flint interviews a witness who is reluctant to talk to her and after coming out of her building stumbles onto a woman brutally stabbed in the  car park.

The investigation kicks up a pace when a news reporter receives a letter suggesting that the murder may be a copy cat of the first Jack the Ripper Murder. Chillingly it also mentions Lacey…

If the letter is true, the it would seem that Lacey and the police have only five days to get to the truth before the next victim is killed.

Lacey doesn’t know what to make of the letters taunting her specifically. As she looks into the case more, she has unpleasant flashbacks to things she’d rather forget. But she’s going to have to bring everything from the deepest recesses of her mind if she is going to stop this killer in his tracks.

The setting  

A – Hanbury Street, B- Durward Street, C – Henriques Street, D – Mitre Square, E Dorset Street Spitallfields

London of course but if the mystery of Jack the Ripper was thrilling in the days before CCTV and DNA etc then what could be made of it in  a new and modern light?

Well everything so don’t go thinking this is any less chilling. It isn’t and takes us around the sites, sounds and smells of Whitechapel and London that you both fascinate and shock in equal measure –

She’d been attacked moments ago. Whoever had done it would be close.

My bag had fallen a few feet away. I fumbled inside and found my mobile, summoning police and ambulance to the carp park outside Vitoria House on the Brendon Estate in Kennington

But what about the link with Jack the Ripper? Lacey’s monologues which help us to not only think as she does but see things through her eyes..

I sat back a while, thinking, trying to make a connection between what had taken place in Victorian london and the murder I’d come close to witnessing twenty-four hours ago.

The original Jack the Ripper, a sadistic serial killer known for his brutality and keeping London’s population in complete terror for several years, has never been found.

A drawing of Jack the Ripper
A drawing of Jack the Ripper

SJ Bolton has certainly done her research can see how much work went into just looking up facts and theories about Jack the Ripper. Lacey’s monologues give us a very detailed picture of Jack himself and of the theories theories surrounding the case,making this for a real back to the past but mired in the present state of affairs.
She even mentions the wealth of tours that tourists are still keen to go on –

Tourists go on guide walks around Whitehall, looking at the sites of the murders and hearing someone describe what happened.

The theories behind who the killer is are very gripping too, but no spoilers here!
In fact, I don’t want to mention the plot other to say that the atmosphere is as chilling and as taunting as I imagine the original murders must have been.

The nature of the killings and therefore the descriptions of each is as gory as you would imagine and so maybe not for the faint hearted but you can’t say it’s not authentic!

Take the scene of someone drowning in the Thames –

I surface again. The huge wheel of the London Eye is already small in the distance. I’ve travelled so far already. The tide is hurrying away with me. Then I’m dragged under again.

I’ll be found, days from now, probably in the U-bend around the Isle of Dogs because that’s where most bodies get trapped

Then there is Camden – a nice place for a market or the scene of someone of the scariest and probably dangerous catacombs in London –

Camden Town has long been one of the  trendiest place in North London and especially so since the development of the Camden Stables market. Once an extensive network of tunnels, arches viaducts and passageways….

Camden - who would have thought of what lay underneath?
Camden – who would have thought of what lay underneath?

Sadly this is not a tourist site as its too dangerous apparently but I would love go there – at least I can in the book.

All in all, a great booktrail to the seediest and smelliest parts of London  – the blood and violence are all too realistic but to see regular and modern haunts mixed with a victorian flavour of one of the world’s most infamous mysteries then this makes for quite an explosive mix.