A Dark and Twisted Tide is the 4th book in the Lacey Flint mystery series. It was written by Sharon Bolton, formerly known as S. J. Bolton (what is it about women writers feeling the need or pressure to use initials in their writing - a discussion for another day). It's been a while since I read the previous book, Lost, and I wondered how much I would remember about where we left things. I needn't have worried as I was quickly caught up in the story.
After the trauma and difficulties of the three previous books, Lacey Flint decides that she cannot be a detective any longer. She asks for a transfer back into uniform and joins the River Police. She has moved her residence to a houseboat on the Thames and she totally embraces that whole life, even to the point of swimming in the Thames on a regular basis. Lacey seems to feel somewhat content. Her relationship with DI Mark Joesbury is temporarily on hold while he is deep undercover and out of contact with everyone. The riverboat community is definitely different and she makes friends, has a small canoe to paddle around in, adjusts to new colleagues. And then a body appears.
While swimming early one morning, Lacey comes across a woman's body, wrapped up in a sort of linen cloth and secured to a piling. Dead bodies are not unusual in the Thames and this doesn't seem all that strange until it's discovered that the body was placed in that position so that Lacey could find it. And then other odd things happen - little gifts are left on her boat - more bodies appear and she feels like someone is watching her. Lacey ends up working again with her old colleagues, led by Dana Tulloch. Women are being smuggled in from other countries and many are ending up dead in the river. Everything comes back to the river and the people who live along and on it.
I enjoyed this book and loved catching up with Lacey, Joesbury, Dana and other characters. Their lives are changing and progressing and several of them have some big decisions to make. The main focus of life on the river, the houseboats, and small craft was intriguing. You could almost smell and feel it. There were lots of startling scenes with odd creatures that jumped out and grabbed people. There were crabs scuttling around and there were rats - ick!! I kept feeling like I needed to look over my shoulder and if many of these scenes had been adapted for TV or movie, there would certainly have been spooky music. And Lacey kept finding these dead bodies that were wrapped up like mummies. Quite a vivid setting and one I won't soon forget.
I give this book two thumbs up and I'm hoping that we will soon see Lacey and her cohorts again. However, the next book by Sharon Bolton has recently been published, Little Black Lies, and it is a standalone. Looking forward to reading it soon.