Review: Now You See Me – S.J. Bolton

Cover of Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton

Title: Now You See Me (Lacey Flint #1)
Author: S.J. Bolton
Publication date: June 13, 2011
Publisher: Bantam Press (Transworld Publishers)
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780593064139
Length: 395 pages
Genre: Thriller
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository


Despite her life-long fascination with Jack the Ripper, young detective constable Lacey Flint has never worked a murder case or seen a corpse up close. Until now…

As she arrives at her car one evening, Lacey is horrified to find a woman slumped over the door. She has been brutally stabbed, and dies in Lacey’s arms. Thrown headlong into her first murder hunt, Lacey will stop at nothing to find this savage killer. But her big case will also be the start of a very personal nightmare.

When Lacey receives a familiar letter, written in blood, pre-fixed Dear Boss, and hand delivered, it is clear that a Ripper copycat is at large. And one who is fixated on Lacey herself. Can this inexperienced detective outwit a killer whose infamous role model has never been found?

My thoughts

What made me interested in Now You See Me is, as morbid as it may sound, a fascination with serial killers on both the main character’s and my part. Since I’ve always been fascinated by these people myself, I was curious to see how Bolton would incorporate the Ripper myth into her story and how it would work in a twenty-first century novel.

The book certainly has a compelling set-up. 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. So the idea of someone attempting to do the same (and get away with it) in an age where CCTV cameras are everywhere and the police force is a lot more resourceful than it was back in the nineteenth century made me prick up my ears. How does a criminal plan to get away with at least five murders when a) the police know every tiny detail about the original murders and probably have an idea what to look for in a similar case or what to expect from a copycat killer and b) modern technology and forensics make the police’s work considerably faster and easier, and the killers’ a lot more difficult. I had a feeling it was going to be a gripping read but I wasn’t fully prepared for what was yet to come. Saying that I enjoyed reading this book would be the understatement of the year. It’s been almost two weeks since I finished Now You See Me but thinking about it still sends shivers down my spine. I was  reading it for three days in a row and I literally couldn’t put it down.

I seriously can’t tell you one thing that’s missing from the book or anything I would have liked to be done differently. I loved this book for so many different reasons and while I know this review is going to be terribly long if I carry on like this, I’d like to highlight some of the things that stood out for me the most.

The first thing I need to emphasize here is that the book is extremely well researched and you can see how much work went into just looking up facts and theories about Jack the Ripper. One of the things I enjoyed the most is perhaps how much information there is about the original Whitechapel murders – through Lacey’s monologues Bolton gives us a very detailed picture of Jack himself (or herself, according to some theories) and all five of his victims, down to the tiniest detail.  And by doing so, not only did the author make the story more gripping but she made me want to find out even more about the Ripper and read some of these theories that are mentioned in the book (one of them being that Jack might have, in fact, been a woman), and do some research myself. I’ve never tried reading any true crime before but thanks to S.J. Bolton, now I will.

Another thing I loved about the book is the three main characters. Out of these three, two are women which, and forgive me for being a tiny bit biased here, I was quite thrilled about. There are so few thrillers out there with powerful female characters and female detectives in particular that Bolton’s book was something new and refreshing in this respect. I wasn’t really keen on Lacey’s character at first and couldn’t decide what to make of her but all this has changed after a few chapters. Dana, Lacey’s boss, on the other hand became my favourite character in an instant and I can only hope she returns in the second instalment.

On top these, the plot is original and is full of twists and turns and it is literally impossible to predict the ending or put the book down. It kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to the end and there was literally not one dull moment. When you think you’ve seen it all and figured it all out, you turn to the next page and realise just how wrong you were. Bolton gradually builds up the tension and ends her story with a bang (and a huge twist which I didn’t see coming at all, I might add), but there are no unanswered questions or cliffhangers at all, which I’m really happy about.

Finally, I have to warn you that while I absolutely loved this book, it might not be for everyone. It’s not one of those stories that need blood and gore to be good, far from it, but there’s plenty of both so if you’re looking for a cozy mystery, this is definitely not for you. As I said, Bolton gives us a very detailed picture of the five victims and the killer’s brutality, so if you’re looking for something light and humorous, you’d better find something else.

That being said, S.J. Bolton has definitely become one of my favourite authors and Now You See Me one of my favourite books of all time. It’s probably the biggest and easiest five star rating I’ve ever given here on the blog – it simply blew me away. I can’t wait to read the sequel!


Leaves, mud and grass deaden sound. Even screams. The girl knows this. Any sound she might make can’t possibly travel the quarter-mile to the car headlights and street lamps, to the illuminated windows of tall buildings that she can see beyond the wall. The nearby city isn’t going to help her and screaming will just burn up energy she can’t spare. She’s alone. A moment ago she wasn’t.”

5 star rating
*Many thanks to Transworld for sending me a copy for review*


    • says

      Bahahaha yes, just a tiny bit. 😀 But it was such an amazing book! And the sequel is just as good, apparently, so I’m really looking forward to reading it 😀 Let me know if you manage to get a copy and read it, I’d love to hear what you think! but I’m sure you’ll love it


  1. says

    This sound awesome Vicky! I didn’t know that much about Jack the Ripper until I read Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star, and it made me go and do some research. I just requested this from the library after reading your review – hopefully it’ll arrive soon!
    kit recently posted..Showcase Sunday #20My Profile

  2. says

    This book sounds amazing. I was waiting for your review cause I am a huge fan of serial killers (well, their stories not them as human beings…) and especially Jack the Ripper, after watching a documentary on him a couple of years ago. This book seems like exactly what I can get addicted to. Now, I just need to go buy it.
    Thanks for another awesome review, didn’t really seem that long to me cause I could tell your enthusiasm with the story and I just wanted to keep reading more and more. :)
    Veronica Morfi recently posted..Unpack This [Feb.18 – Feb.24]My Profile

  3. says

    So glad you liked it! I love SJ Bolton as her books are so original which do stay with you long after. If you liked Dana, try reading her earlier book Sacrifice as Dana stars in that quite a lot although Lacey and the other characters don’t. Yay! Another convert to SJ Bolton! :-)
    Mel S recently posted..My Book Haul/ Showcase SundayMy Profile

    • says

      Are you SERIOUS? I had no idea. I’ll need to check that one out because I loved Dana. 😀

      And yes! She definitely made it onto my ‘favourite authors’ list. Have you read the sequel, by the way?

  4. says

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this one… I’ve been wanting to read it for so long and it’s received so many fantastic reviews I really need to make this happen. Glad to hear you loved it so much!!

    • says

      Oh, you’ll love it. Every single person I talked to seemed to love it and judging by people’s comments and tweets the sequel is even better. Although I’ve no idea how she can top this

      PS. if you don’t mind reading second-hand books, try AwesomeBooks – it’s only $3.93 :) x

  5. says

    This really sounds interesting and well written with a tight plot. I do not think your fascination is morbid at all, I am always curious about what makes a serial killer and their thought process. Awesome review.
    Can I share something totally know the pic of you in the upper corner of your blog *where you look adorable by the way* I get seasick by the movement every time i get on your blog and have to zip past it as quick as I can..hehehehe, it cracks me up, that it does that to me, i think because it is in the corner of my eyes as U am reading..and that is my random comment.
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted..The Sunday Post #44 ~sharing blog news and book haulMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks, Kimba! I think you’d love this one. I know you like mysteries and thrillers (like me) and it’s seriously been one of the best I’ve read so far. :)

      PS. it’s all fixed now. I figured it’d be a bit too much so I’ve been thinking about replacing it with a slightly less distracting one for a while. Ta-daaa! *points at her sidebar*

  6. says

    I’ve had a long, sick obsession with the Ripper murders ever since I was a little kid so this book is definitely up my alley! And I’m one of the few who doesn’t really mind the whole blood and gore bit (especially in these types of books), so that isn’t an issue. The fact that the plot is unpredictable and the female characters smart and strong only add to my feelings that this is going to be such a promising read. I can’t wait to enjoy it and see how well researched the book actually was! Thanks for sharing!
    Nikki @ Foil the Plot recently posted..Movie Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by John MaddenMy Profile

  7. says

    Ok I’m sold! Great plot, awesome characters and actual research?! Before I made it to the bottom of this screen I had already pulled up my local library website and added it to my cart. I’m hoping I love it as much as you did and that it will help me learn to read outside my comfort zone, so yay to that!

    *p.s. awesome review! you made me excited to read and that is fan-freaking-tastic!*


  8. says

    Ah, I’ve always been fascinated by Jack the Ripper as well. NOW YOU SEE ME sounds really well written – especially knowing about the amount of research put into writing it! And who doesn’t like a twisty plot? I must admit, your review makes me want to read this book right now! Lovely review, Vicky! <3
    Megan K. recently posted..Blogoversary Day 3: Blog LoveMy Profile

  9. says

    The synopsis itself sounds pretty amazing! And your review made me add this book on my to-read pile. :)
    I’m glad there are two main female characters! And it’s always great to see a writer who does a proper research before writing!
    Petra recently posted..Owl Post/Showcase SundayMy Profile

  10. says

    Everybody is raving about S J Bolton, I need to get in on the action. Love twisty, bendy, mysterious plots where I’m never sure what will happen next. And I think lots of us are fascinated with Jack the Ripper, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many films, documentaries and books. Definitely intrigued, can’t wait to read it!

    Thanks Vicky for linking this review in on my blog, much appreciated

    BookishTrish @ Between the Lines
    Trish recently posted..YOUR Favourite BookMy Profile


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