- Author: Sharon Bolton
- Published: June 2016 by Transworld Digital
- Category: Book Review, Crime, Murder, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological, Reading
Famous killers have fan clubs.
Hamish Wolfe is no different. Locked up for the rest of his life for the abduction and murder of three young women, he gets countless adoring letters every day. He’s handsome, charismatic and very persuasive. His admirers are convinced he’s innocent, and that he’s the man of their dreams.
Hamish Wolfe, handsome and charming, swears he is not guilty of the crimes for which he’s been imprisoned. His mother and posse of devotees also believe he has been wrongly convicted and, although the evidence against him seems beyond doubt, Wolfe steadfastly maintains his innocence. He and his supporters want to engage the services of Maggie Rose.
Maggie Rose is a successful lawyer and best-selling author of true crime books. She is well known for her success in getting convictions quashed in several high profile cases, whether or not she believes them to be innocent. Maggie’s mantra is that no-one should be convicted based on a flawed case. For all she wants to remain in the background, once seen Maggie is not forgotten. She is a striking woman with bright blue eyes and hair to match.
Detective Sergeant Pete Weston is with the Avon and Somerset Police Department. The highlight of his career was getting Hamish Wolfe convicted and sent to prison. Wolfe wants Maggie Rose to look into his case, and even as Pete tries to talk her out of it, they form a friendship of sorts. Pete is convinced the conviction is sound and can’t understand why Maggie even wants to consider seeing Wolfe.
“You’re not here out of concern. You’re here because you don’t want me to take on Hamish Wolfe. You don’t want me digging up old details, finding your mistakes, holding you to account. Putting Hamish Wolfe away was the greatest success of your career – it was you, wasn’t it? I remember your name in the newspapers – and you can’t bear the thought of someone overturning that conviction.”
Pete feels his heartbeat starting to race. ‘We didn’t make mistakes. Hamish Wolfe is guilty.’
‘Everyone makes mistakes. Even Hamish Wolfe. That’s why you caught him. And for what it’s worth, I agree with you. I have no plans to take on his case.’
She moves again, lowering her feet to the floor. ‘But let me be very clear, Detective,’ she says. ‘If I were to decide to do so, no amount of pressure on your part would put me off.’
The story line is skilfully multi layered, intriguing and developed, as are the characters, both leading the reader one way, then another and yet another, as more is revealed about events and personalities. The narrative comes mostly from Maggie’s, Wolfe’s and Pete’s third person perspectives, incorporating a mixture of articles, case files and letters which add to the suspense and twists. The characters each have their own secrets and motivating forces. It was impossible to know whether or not Wolfe was guilty, if Pete really believed in the evidence that proclaimed his guilt and why Maggie does what she does.
Pertinent subjects are explored, such as the appeal convicted murderers have for some women, and the ever present issue of being more than a little overweight, the obsession with body image and the resulting perceptions by others. The serial killer’s victims were all on their way to being obese, which makes you wonder if it could be relevant to the club Wolfe belonged to as an arrogant medical student.
I enjoyed Sharon Bolton’s compelling writing very much, the descriptions, atmosphere and structure of the story. I had no idea where it was going, there was lots of misdirection, and I never would have guessed the ending.
About Sharon Bolton
Sharon J Bolton was born and brought up in Lancashire, the eldest of three daughters. As a child, she dreamed of becoming an actress and a dancer, studying ballet, tap and jazz from a young age and reading drama at Loughborough University.
She spent her early career in marketing and PR before returning to full-time education to study for a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Warwick University, where she met her husband, Andrew. They moved to London and Sharon held a number of PR posts in the City. She left the City to work freelance, to start a family and to write.
She and Andrew now live in a village in the Chiltern Hills, not far from Oxford, with their son and the latest addition to the family: Lupe, the lop-eared lurcher. Her daily life revolves around the school run, walking the dog and those ever-looming publishing deadlines.