One night after interviewing a reluctant witness at a London apartment complex, Lacey Flint, a young detective constable, stumbles onto a woman brutally stabbed just moments before in the building’s darkened parking lot. Within twenty-four hours a reporter receives an anonymous letter that points out alarming similarities between the murder and Jack the Ripper’s first murder—a letter that calls out Lacey by name. If it’s real, and they have a killer bent on re-creating London’s bloody past, history shows they have just five days until the next attempt.
No one believes the connections are anything more than a sadistic killer’s game, not even Lacey, whom the killer seems to be taunting specifically. However, as they investigate the details of the case start reminding her more and more of a part of her past she’d rather keep hidden. And the only way to do that is to catch the killer herself.
Now You See Me is the first in a new series featuring DC Lacey Flint, a young woman with a mysterious past, who finds herself at the centre of a sinister plot with all too familiar overtones. I’ll admit I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of a Jack the Ripper copycat because I feel that has been done to death (no pun intended) in crime novels but this one is slightly different in that the killer is using Ripper knowledge to get at Lacey who is an expert on the subject.
As Lacey finds the first victim propped up against her car, the circumstances lead to her expertise being used by the Major Investigation Team (MIT) led by DI Dana Tulloch who will be familiar to those who have read Bolton’s first novel Sacrifice. I really like Dana and her lover, Helen, so it was good to meet them again, and Dana is definitely not over the trauma of the Shetlands but it is only alluded to now and again, so you will need to read that story to gain a better understanding if you haven’t already.
As well as Tulloch, Lacey falls under the scrutiny of Mark Joesbury who is on medical leave from his own job at SO10 but is sitting in on this investigation as he is a close friend of Dana. Joesbury’s presence confuses Lacey as she is sure he suspects she is more involved in the murders than she is admitting which is more or less true but she also finds herself growing attracted to him despite herself. Although there are definite sparks between the two, this book is not a romance novel so the attraction goes nowhere but since this is the first in a series, I have feeling their relationship will progress at a slow place when Lacey is ready for it.
The murder mystery unravels gradually with plenty of red herrings and I’m not too proud to admit most of my theories were completely wrong, however I did guess the major twist at the end which I’m not discussing for obvious reasons. Despite my initial lack of enthusiasm for all things Ripper, Bolton did manage to hold my interest as Lacey compared the present murders with those of the past, going over very familiar territory with few surprises. What really keeps the reader intrigued is Lacey’s connection to these murders and the reason behind it, especially when the story veers slightly away from the Ripper influence and you realise these are revenge killings.
Although Lacey is a strong female character, she has a lot of secrets and her traumatic past has made her vulnerable, so much so I don’t think she fully realises just how good she is as a police detective. Luckily, Lacey has people like Dana Tulloch and Mark Joesbury who can see past the barriers Lacey has been so careful to build and it will be intriguing to see the butterfly finally emerging from its cocoon.