Published: 20th April 2017 (Transworld)
Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor.
She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime.
Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all . . .
This book is fabulous – suffice to say it’s unlikely I’ll be taking a hot air balloon ride any time soon!
Jessica Lane has taken her sister, Isobel, for a hot air balloon ride to celebrate her 40th birthday however it ends in disaster when firstly the passengers witness the murder of a young woman and then it crashes killing all those on board – Jessica is the only survivor who has also seen the killers face (ekkk!!). But rather than seeking out help, she instead disappears, staying under the radar and away from emergency services who are there to help – who is she running from and why…..?
The book starts as it means to go on – there’s not really a gentle introduction, we are straight in with the murder of the young woman and the passengers of the balloon trying desperately to prevent it from crashing. This is terrifying and makes the reader feel like they are there, scarily is how it could happen in real life!
I won’t share anymore of the plot as it needs to be allowed to unravel without me providing any potential spoilers. The premise itself is very unique (hot air balloon crash turning into crime thriller?!) and instantly generates intrigue and many questions! The book interchanges between narratives in the present day and from the past (which itself is working up to the present day). I enjoyed this way of unravelling the plot as it gave snippets into the past of both Jessica and Isobel, as well as Patrick, the antagonist and his family. This was an interesting way of devising the novel as it gave the narrative lots of layers that are peeled away to reveal truths and secrets. The pace is quite relentless with relatively short chapters (which I love from my thrillers!), as each layer is revealed the tension is built up even more.
Dead Woman Walking is filled with twists and turns, ensuring that the reader is constantly second guessing (wrongly in my case!) everything that is happening. Bolton has crafted a brilliantly complex crime thriller, which is exceptionally plotted out that had me on the edge of my seat throughout and at times holding my breath and a bit scared to read on…just fantastic!
Sharon Bolton (previously S. J. Bolton) is the critically acclaimed author of some of the most bone-chilling crime books ever written. She has been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year and the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year. In 2014 she won the CWA Dagger in the Library for her whole body of work.
Sharon lives near Oxford with her husband and son.