Captivating mystery in a stunning setting

  • Book: Dead Woman Walking
  • Location: Northumberland
  • Author: Sharon Bolton

Review Author: butbooksarebetter



A hot air balloon crashes with 13 people on board. Only eleven bodies are recovered. What happened to the other two? And why would someone walk away from the crash without calling for help?

You will need to read it to find out! This is one mystery you should delve into blindly. I repeat – to make the most out of Bolton’s brilliant storytelling, DO NOT read any reviews until you have finished the book. You can thank me later!

I was almost hesitant to pick up Dead Woman Walking, seeing how absolutely GREAT all books by this author have been so far, and I was worried that she could not possibly surpass my previous favourites. But I should have known better – Sharon Bolton is an author on top of her game, and her latest book is no exception. Whilst I will not say any more about the story, for fear of giving away any spoilers, I can safely state that it contains one of the best and most nail-biting cat-and-mouse games I have read in a long, long time. I was actually holding my breath for so long that I felt slightly light-headed with anxiety-induced hypoxia, and that’s not a good thing when you are listening to the audiobook on your daily drive to work!

Apart from characters who are enigmatic, interesting and well-rounded (except the “baddies”, who are suitably terrifying), Bolton delivers her usual hallmark of atmospheric tension, suspense and twists aplenty. This is an author who knows how to mount the tension to near unbearable levels, like nails noisily scraping across a blackboard, before revealing another morsel of information that may help to unravel the Celtic knot that forms this multi-layered plot. With a theme that is contemporary and well-researched, it had me spellbound, asking myself: could this really be happening right under our noses? And although there were times when I thought I had to suspend disbelief a tiny bit to go along with it, Bolton always offered a very plausible explanation for everything that happened (which, for an old cynic like me, is a necessary part of reading pleasure). Bolton also knows how to lay a few bear traps for the unsuspecting reader, and I promptly fell into all of them, every time I thought I was on the right track in working it all out. I am duly humbled ….

A big credit also goes to Julia Barrie, who brought the book to life with her wonderful narration. I loved her ability to adopt different voices and dialects so effortlessly, which created vivid images of all individual characters in my mind.

All in all, Dead Woman Walking is the kind of intelligent, multi-layered mystery the author seems to deliver so effortlessly, time and time again. It once again proved why Bolton is very firmly embedded on top of my favourite authors list, and will not be easily toppled. If you want to read one spellbinding mystery this year, make sure to pick up Dead Woman Walking – it will not disappoint!

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