Apparently, S.J. Bolton is now known as Sharon Bolton!
I've been reading Bolton since 2008, and my memory of the early books (which I had to order from amazon.uk, since it took far too long for her to become popular here) was that her author biography in the back was also non-specific as to her gender. Maybe I'm wrong, since I've long passed those books on, but I do recall being curious back then as to why all the secrecy. My assumption has always been that perhaps the publishers were concerned that no one would take seriously a woman writer who wrote dark and gritty novels. I've always found this strange because even then I thought that literary society was progressed enough for this not to be an issue, and there were other successful women crime writers. I didn't know, back then, whether she was male or female, but I do remember finishing her first book and sensing she was female. In any case.... apparently they're no longer worried abut the stigma (and if you want dark, Gillian Flynn is definitely the prime contemporary example of this acceptance... and if you've only read Gone Girl, I found that to be the least dark of her three novels).
A Dark and Twisted Tide is Bolton's fourth (full length) Lacey Flint novel. I'm first going to go ahead and reiterate my difficult-to-put-into-words criticism that I've had for the last couple of books about the character of Lacey which does, unfortunately, continue with this novel.
Ah, Lacey, my Lacey. I know you're dark. I know you're beautiful. I know you're damaged and unfathomable, and all that. That's why I like you! Where would a great, dark mystery protagonist be without at least a couple of those qualifications? But... but still I remain frustrated that your backstory is so special and secretive that even your readers are rarely given a glimpse. This doesn't feel, to me, like a situation in which you're teasing me and I just can't wait to read more to find out what deep, dark secrets you hold. After four novels (and a Kindle single), it's feeling less like an exquisitely drawn out reveal and more like there may be less substance to a secret upon which the tease cannot possibly deliver.
But I'll still walk by your side. For now. If my suspicions are correct, though, I may have to punch you.
(At least she's not suspected to be the serial killer this time, thank God.)
Lacey's living on a boat, now, still pining after Joesbury, and has returned to uniform. She's swimming in the Thames (yeah, ewwwww) in the dark hours, which she justifies in all sorts of ways. Lacey being Lacey, she instantly runs into a corpse, out there on the Thames.
Societal differences, immigration, Joesbury pops in and out, Lacey's still dark, and lots of water. Lots and lots of water.
Bolton was actually one of my first introductions to crime/mystery novels, and remains a favourite. She gets me through the tough times between Tana French books. I like Lacey, but I do hope to see a new stand-alone novel, or perhaps even the consideration of a different series, in the future.