Tuesday, 5 June 2018

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

The Craftsman
By Sharon Bolton
Published by Trapeze (3 May 2018)

Publisher's description
Devoted father or merciless killer?
His secrets are buried with him.
Florence Lovelady's career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Glassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago. Like something from our worst nightmares the victims were buried...ALIVE.
Larry confessed to the crimes; it was an open and shut case. But now he's dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves. 
Did she get it wrong all those years ago? 
Or is there something much darker at play?

My verdict
The Craftsman was creepy and unsettling from the start. A combination of crime, horror and gothic mystery - a page-turning 'chiller thriller' - this is a throwback to Sharon Bolton's earlier novels (Sacrifice, Blood Harvest and Awakening), which I first discovered and fell in love with several years ago.

The book is set in 1969 and 1999. Assistant Commissioner Florence Lovelady has returned to Pendle Witch County to witness the funeral of the man she convicted of a series of child murders 30 years earlier - a case that not only consumed her every waking moment at the time, but one that nearly ended her own life. She's a wonderful character - quirky and feisty, courageous yet vulnerable, determined but soft-centred - with a highly compelling narrative voice. Needing to prove herself in a male-dominated environment in her early days as a junior detective, she was prepared to battle every step of the way to solve the case.

The Craftsman was a one-sitting read. I felt spellbound to keep turning the pages. The writing is suitably bare but beautifully descriptive, with realistic dialogue that keeps the plot flowing at a cracking pace. I really couldn't put the book down until I'd discovered all of its secrets. I did have an inkling about what was going on, and was right about a few things, but there were so many secrets to be discovered.

This is certainly one of the creepiest books I've read. Just holding the book makes my hands tingle with anticipation, as I know that I'll be diving into it again (at least once).

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