A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton
Former detective Lacey Flint has seen one too many horrors and risked her life one too many times. She’s taken a step back from the front line and joined the Metropolitan Marine Unit, patrolling the Thames and keeping the waters safe.
Even though she has had her own close call in the water of the Thames she still loves it and swims in it with her neighbour, mouth firmly closed obviously. Everyone’s heard the stories of the diseases the river water can cause. Then one day while swimming she comes across a body, partially wrapped in cloth and before she knows it she’s thrown back into the action. It looks like there’s a serial killer who’s targeting female illegal immigrants but is it the traffickers themselves killing these young women or someone else entirely and who is the mermaid watching Lacey from the water?
A Dark and Twisted Tide is the fourth novel in the Lacey Flint series but it can be read as a stand-alone story. But good luck with that as once you get a peek into Lacey’s world and a taste of Sharon Bolton’s writing you’ll be utterly hooked.
Lacey is a fabulous lead lady, determined, independent and strong, yet filled with the niggling self-doubt that makes her so realistic. Addicted to her work yet fully understanding it isn’t healthy for her, she just can’t escape the profession she has a natural talent for, especially this case in which she’s been chosen against her will. Filled with twists and turns this novel is just impossible to put down and keeps you truly gripped to the final page. Not only is it fast paced it is also filled with fascinating little facts and descriptions of the Thames and the environment it creates. I wouldn’t dream of revealing any spoilers but there are also two themes revealed at the end of the novel that gives it an extra fascinating depth, making it really stand out from other crime novels.
Whether your a crime lover or someone that reads it once in a blue moon, A Dark and Twisted Tide is an unmissable page-turner that will entertain, fascinate and put a shiver up your spine.
Interview with Sharon Bolton
I was very lucky to be able to put a few questions to the lovely Sharon Bolton herself about A Dark and Twisted Tide, Lacey Flint and her writing methods:
With Lacey working with the UK border agency and some of the story being based on people-smuggling and people-trafficking you obviously had to do a lot of research around this area. Was your research all book based or do you do it another way?
I use the internet much of the time, buying research books if a topic requires considerable depth. I’m lucky, though, to have a lot of contacts in the Metropolitan Police, and especially with the Marine Unit. The Deptford Creek location in A Dark and Twisted Tide came about during a conversation I had with its just-retired Chief Inspector. I was researching Now You See Me and wanted a neglected, forgotten-about riverboat community on the Thames. ‘I know just the place,’ he said…
What was your favourite part of researching the novel?
A power-boat trip with my husband and son, starting from the Houses of Parliament and turning around at the Thames Barrier. Past Tower Bridge, there is no speed limit on the river and we flew along to the sound of the James Bond theme music. Cheesy, but massive fun.
Do you have a favourite character in the book and if so, why?
Other than my regulars, my favourite specific to this book, is Thessa, the elderly, disabled herbalist whom Lacey befriends quite early in the story. I always say the best characters write themselves and Thessa’s wonderful combination of perspicacity and irreverence, combined with her very warm heart, made her an absolute pleasure to spend time with. One day, I want to grow old like Thessa.
Do you have any writing rules when you start a new novel? A certain time writing or word count?
A good day for me is 3000 words, and I make myself stop at that, because the quality thereafter plummets. I don’t really have any rules except to try to write every day and avoid coffee mornings. (Not really an issue, because I’d rather stick a pen in my eye than go to a coffee morning.)
For the first Lacey Fling book you used the name S.J. Bolton and now you use your whole name, was there any particular reason for this?
Yes, a very specific reason, all explained in a blog post I wrote at the time.
Are you already planning your next novel or do you take a complete break between them?
I don’t know any writers who take breaks. Why on earth would we? This is our job. We may not be actively writing, but we are always, from the moment we wake up, thinking about the story.
If Lacey were to hit the silver screen, who would you want to play her?
I’ve long thought the American actress Melissa George would make a great Lacey, but if she ever does appear on screen, then I imagine there are any number of actresses who could do her justice. What would be important for me is that whoever plays her captures the essence of the character: lonely, awkward, troubled, but with great integrity of soul.
What three words would you use to describe A Dark and Twisted Tide?
Quirky. Disturbing. Sinister.
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