Book Title: Dead Woman Walking
Author: Sharon Bolton
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Genres: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
Pub Date: 09/05/17
Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor. She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime. Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all…
I’m very familiar with Bolton’s work; so far I’ve read the Lacey Flint series as well as a handful of standalones, and while Flint will always be a near and dear favorite, Dead Woman Walking might just be her most enjoyable solitary book to date. The blurb on the back is very brief, which we all know I’m a fan of, so you really haven’t got a clue what to expect going in. Don’t read any reviews (including this one) if you’re wanting to know absolutely nothing ahead of time; there will be no spoilers here but I always like to give fair warning for those wanting to keep an open mind and a clean palate before picking up the book. If nothing else, know that this was a mesmerizing thriller containing a slow burning mystery. It was a perfect example of crime fiction featuring twisty characterization which makes it the perfect recommendation to anyone who likes the structure of a procedural with more action and quick snippets of chapters.
Where to start when there are so many wonderful attributes to this novel? I love how the beginning chapters really hook us into the story; there’s a large group of passengers on a hot air balloon and, in the midst of their tour, they are brought down in a terrorizing way where most of the people do not survive. We find out early on who the culprit(s) are, which was a really nice addition. As a reader, I used to hate when the whodunnit was revealed early on, but now that I’ve grown and matured a bit, I’ve come to really appreciate the new aspect and vision this brings to a story. As I stated above, the characterization is fabulous (this is one thing Bolton is known for), and she doesn’t shy away from writing about disturbing tendencies and creating dark characters, even in her protagonists. There are ever-changing POVs and timelines in the narrative which kept me on my toes, constantly trying to piece together this mystery of the “why” and a deeper understanding of the “how”. While it could get a bit confusing for some readers in the early stages, by the time the middle to ending is reached everything clicks together to form a brilliant finale that blew me away.
There’s a reason Sharon Bolton is not only a fan favorite on Goodreads, but is so successful that her work has jumped the pond from the UK on our worldwide. There seems to be a certain trademarked feel to her writing; I can’t really describe it to someone who has never read her books because they don’t really compare to anyone else I’ve read. This unique signature she bears in her work is what keeps readers coming back for more with each book she writes. If you’re new to her work, Dead Woman Walking is a great place to start. She has managed to keep the suspense genre feeling fresh in a time where books being published feel stale and recycled. The plot here genuinely confounded me and, I have to say, it was great to experience that blown away feeling you get when a book has truly kept you in the dark until the precise moment the author choses to reveal their secrets to you. Highly recommended to all readers who love a thrilling plot with intriguing characters; I know I’ll be thinking about those last few pages until her next book is published.
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here.