Monday, November 7, 2016

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

First Sentence: My love, When I think of the moments that have given me greatest pleasure:  scaling an impossible rock face, watching the moon over the ocean on Christmas morning, the first time my dog saw snow – all of them pale beside the second I looked into your eyes and knew that you loved me.
Maggie Rose is a defense attorney specializing in overturning convictions and writing true-crime books.  Hamish Wolfe is serving time for the deaths of three, possibly four, women.  As do all prisoners, he claims he is innocent, but he, and his supporters, wants Maggie to re-investigate his case, while D.S. Pete Weston, the arresting officer, strongly advises her against it.  Maggie decides to take a look, but does it put her at risk?
It’s interesting that the title doesn’t mean what you’d expect, but that doesn’t mean the opening is any less dramatic. 
Bolton excels at creating strong, independent and unusual protagonists.  These are not perfect women, but women with baggage; their own issues from the past with which they are trying to deal.  They are not characters one would want to emulate, but ones who are compelling, and about whom one wants to know more.
The information as to why women form relationships with prisoners, including those they’ve never met, is fascinating.  It is clear Bolton has done extensive research for this book, including on street fighting.  There is also a very interesting guide on how to disappear, just in case one ever needs it.
There are issues, however, with the structure and the plot, and this criticism comes from one who has really loved Bolton’s previous books.  There was way too much reliance on epistolary information.  The use of letters, manuscript drafts, etc. can be interesting.  However, it can also, as it did in this case, seem as though it’s filler for not being certain how to move the plot forward.  The other problem was projection.  There is nothing more disappointing than figuring out the end when one is half-way through and finding out you are correct. 
Daisy in Chains” is not Bolton’s best work.  That would be “Little Black Lies,” which I highly recommend.  However, it does have an effective plot twist, and the revelation is well-done, even if one does already suspect, but the final ending has become cliché.  Still, it’s interesting enough to read to the end, just to be certain.

DAISY IN CHAINS (Suspense-Maggie Rose-England-Contemp) – Okay
      Bolton, Sharon - Standalone
      Minotaur Books – Sept 2016

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