Daisy in Chains

daisy in chainsPublished: 2016
Author: Sharon Bolton

Another brilliant Bolton book


Last year I had a tie for my favourite book of the year – Clare Mackintosh’s brilliant debut I Let You Go (now nominated for the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year) and Sharon Bolton’s Little Black Lies, a superb psychological thriller set in the Falkland Islands. Since then I’ve been keeping an eye out for the next books from both authors. Mackintosh’s second novel, I See You, is out next month and Bolton’s Daisy in Chains came out just a few days ago.

Set in the somewhat more familiar surroundings of Somerset rather than the South Atlantic, Daisy in Chains is another gripping psychological thriller. Maggie Rose is a reclusive true crime author and lawyer who specialises in helping murderers have their convictions overturned. The family and friends of imprisoned serial killer Hamish Wolfe are determined to enlist Maggie’s help in securing his release. As Maggie becomes more involved in Hamish’s story she enters a world where (mostly) women become enthralled by men in prison and even the most sadistic killers have their apologists and fans.

Daisy in Chains (and I won’t go into the meaning of the title as it becomes clear in the narrative) is just fabulous. There’s always a concern when you’ve enjoyed a book so much that the next one you read by the same author won’t be as compelling, but there was no need to worry, Sharon Bolton knows exactly what she’s doing and how to hook the reader with a brilliant story.

There were a number of facets to Daisy in Chains and different styles of narrative but it never once became confusing or complicated. The storyline was helped by the different styles – letters, reports, drafts of Maggie’s latest true crime book which focuses on Wolfe, his victims and his crimes. I am a big fan of short, snappy chapters such as those contained in this novel, they keep me reading well into the night and I really did with this book.

Focusing on the people who attach themselves to convicted killers was a brilliant entry to the story and one I’ve not read before. It made the story so much more than a generic police or legal procedural. Bolton presents a fascinating world where murderers are celebrities, playing to an adoring public and I was completely swept away in the story.

Hamish Wolfe was one of the most chilling characters I’ve read, even when his guilt was called into question once Maggie started to investigate his conviction he never once became a likeable or sympathetic character. Not once did I find myself rooting for him. It’s a brave author who makes a main character quite so detestable.

I’m already counting down until I get hold of Sharon Bolton’s next book, she has in just two novels become one of my favourite authors.

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