Book Review: The Craftsman

THE CRAFTSMAN | Sharon J. Bolton
10.16.2018 | Minotaur Books
Rating: 4/5 stars

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Florence Lovelady launched her career as a detective 30 years ago in the small village of Lancashire. At that time the teenage children of this village were disappearing without a word. No one knew where they were going. Florence was convinced that these disappearances were linked and the work of a child murderer. The police department and villagers thought she was blowing things out of proportion and didn’t want to support her theories. When she discovered the third victim, buried alive in a coffin with another person, Florence became determined to find the killer. All signs eventually led her to Larry Glassbrook, the town’s cofffinmaker, who quickly confessed after his arrest.

Florence has never been able to let this case go, perhaps because of how intimately involved she became with the investigation or the way she had to fight to prove herself at the time. Whatever the reason, she has continued over the last 30 years to visit Larry Glassbrook in prison. Now, upon his death, she is back in Lancashire just in time for the past to start repeating itself. When Florence’s son disappears she immediately reopens the case and the hunt is on to catch a murderer. Is this a copycat killer or was Larry never really the murderer?

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Drag her by her hair, by her guts, until she does not stand aloof from me…and until I hold her obedient for the whole time of my life, desiring me, and telling me what she is thinking.

Sharon Bolton won me over last year when I read her novel DEAD WOMAN WALKING. When I saw that THE CRAFTSMAN was headed out into the world this Fall I entered every giveaway I could find and ended up a lucky winner! There are so many good reviews out there for this book, which I will admit, tends to make me a bit leery sometimes, however, this book does not disappoint! Bolton has a masterful way of carving out a storyline that methodically draws a reader into the narrator’s world. You’re not hit with too much information at one time. Bolton simply tells you what you need to know and then drops small hints about what might be happening under the surface, so that you have to keep reading to find out the truth.

The timeline of this story might be my favorite element to the book. Bolton starts off with present day and Florence Lovelady attending a funeral of a man who she has some connection from the past with. The reader is left knowing that Florence has an intense emotional connection to this man, but none of the facts as to why this connection exists. To solve that Bolton takes the reader back 30 years and on a journey through the case that changed Florence’s life forever. Once you know all the pieces, Bolton shifts you back to present day where the drama continues. Such a fun way to link the past with the present! I absolutely loved both timelines and the way that they ultimately connect with each other. Another exciting and interesting element to this story is witchcraft and those who practice the arts. The occult and witchcraft is something I have always been interested in and I feel that Bolton handled a topic that is considered a bit speculative by many in a tasteful and not overly done manner.

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People trapped in coffins don’t survive for long.

I shy away from giving too many details because I genuinely think this book is best with little information given away. The reader will get the most reward from going into the story blind and living through the events via Florence. If you have any suggestions on Bolton’s older books, I would love to check some out and hear recommendations from you all!

Imagination is a valuable tool, vital for any detective worth his or her salt. It’s also the heaviest cross we bear.

A special thank you to Minotaur Books for sending me a free copy of this book!

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