I've been reading Sharon Bolton since Sacrifice, her first book and a chilling tale. Then came the Lacey Flint series and several stand-alones (my favorite is Little Black Lies).
The Craftsman is set in Sabden, the village at the foot of Pendle Hill, famous for the Pendle witches and the resulting trials and executions in 1612. The Craftsman takes some of the best elements from all of the above books and will keep you riveted from first to last.
The book begins in 1999, but moves back and forth in time.
In 1999, Assistant Commissioner Florence Lovelady returns to Sabden for the funeral of Larry Glassbrook. Glassbrook died in prison after having been convicted of three murders. Florence was responsible for his conviction, but her return is not going to offer the resolution she seeks.
In 1969, WPC Florence Lovelady is new to the force and becomes tangled up in a case involving three missing children. The anxiety is high in the community, and when a group of children say they hear voices coming from a grave, Florence is sent to resolve the situation. Although facing prejudice for her gender and education, Florence does have one friend on the force, DC Tom Devins.
In 1999, Florence realizes that perhaps they got things wrong and finds herself and her son in danger.
Witches and folklore add to this harrowing tale. Although billed as a stand-alone, I'd love to see more from Florence, either in her early career or dating from the chilling conclusion. I would also be pleased if Bolton decided to have a spin-off novel involving Avril and Daphne and the local coven.
This is one of Bolton's best, a compelling plot and well-drawn characters kept me glued to the pages.
I read Mist Over Pendle as an R.I.P. read several years ago, and The Craftsman would make an excellent choice for R.I.P. There are dozens of books about the Pendle witches both fiction and nonfiction.
Read in August. Blog review scheduled for Sept. 4.
NetGalley/St. Martin's Press
Mystery/Suspense. (UK) April 15 and (US) Oct. 16, 2018. Print length: 432 pages.