Cover Image: Dead Woman Walking

Dead Woman Walking

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Member Reviews

This was just weird for me. There’s so much going on in the plot, and the nun aspect was so out of place. Each new twist was sillier and required more suspended disbelief than the time before, that at some point I just didn’t have it in me anymore.

It’s not that Bolton is a bad writer – because the pacing, description and characterization were good, though over-detailed – but holy shit this plot was too much. I didn’t connect with it at all. I appreciate trying to do something different and unique, but the novel is just a big yikes for me.
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This book had an interesting beginning, and I liked the story.  The characters themselves were not memorable for me and I didn't find myself thoroughly invested in them.

At parts the book was slow; however, over all I enjoyed it.
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Sharon Bolton is one of my favourite authors, constantly providing thrillers that have me hooked throughout. I gladly devour each book she releases, counting down the days until I can get my hands on more information regarding her next release. I admit, due to real life it took me much longer to get around to Dead Woman Walking than I would have liked; however, it was more than worth the wait.

Dead Woman Walking kicks off with a bang, sucking us straight into the storyline and refusing to let up. Every page introduces us to new twists, each chapter showing us something more, and every word leaves us curious. It’s what I refer to as an onion story – there are plenty of layers to this story, so many things to unravel, and when everything comes together it is an absolute delight.

I admit, Dead Woman Walking is not my favourite Sharon Bolton read. There were times when things seemed to be moving a bit slowly, times where I felt things were dragging somewhat. However, these times were few and far between – for the most part things were moving at a rapid pace. I had so many questions, so many things I was trying to work out. There were a few elements I managed to work out in advance, there were some things I did predict, but there were more things that shocked me than anything else and I loved this. I was on the edge of my seat, desperate for my answers.

If you’ve read Sharon Bolton in the past and have yet to give Dead Woman Walking a read, you certainly need to do so. If you have yet to read Sharon Bolton, Dead Woman Walking encapsulates all you can expect from a Sharon Bolton book and makes it the perfect introduction to her work.

Without a doubt, Dead Woman Walking is a fine example of why Sharon Bolton is one of my favourite authors.
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This book was OK, not great.  I'm usually not a fan of books that jump from past to present as I think it gets confusing.  There were too many flashbacks and they plot twists were a little confusing.  I felt like a lot of information was repeated often.  I wasn't a fan of her nuns and the constant reminder of her contempt of them.  The ending was tied up a little too neatly for my taste.  I usually like her writing but was not a fan of this book hence only three stars.
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DNF @ 25%. I feel like I'm in the minority here, but I just couldn't get into this one at all. I've been trying to read this book for weeks, and have only gotten a quarter of the way in, and one of my reading goals for 2018 was to spend less time forcing myself to read books that I'm not enjoying. The time jumps were confusing, there were too many characters, and I just wasn't connecting to any of it, so much so that I actually went and read reviews with spoilers just to figure out if it was worth continuing, and I've decided that I'm going to just stop here. Unfortunately, this one didn't work for me, but again, I'm clearly in the minority, so don't let this stop you from picking this one up.
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(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor. She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime. Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all...

*3.5 stars*

Going into this book, I had a good feeling about it. The premise of the hot balloon accident and ensuing cat-and-mouse game sounded very interesting and I was keen to get into it...

And, for the most part, I enjoyed it. The pure thriller plot was exceptional - it kept me thinking (even though I did pick one of the major reveals early on) but there were enough twists and turns to keep me guessing all the way through. It was a bit slow starting but after about a quarter way through, it really did pick up. 

However, the reason this didn't score as well as it could have was the multiple POV's and timelines. I just found it hard-going, flipping back and forth between characters, and then timelines, when it really was totally unnecessary - that same thriller story could have been told without all the rigmarole. For me, all it did was make it unnecessarily complicated and made it hard to connect with the sisters. And I just didn't appreciate that.

Overall, though, if you want to read for the mystery/thrills/suspense, then this could be the book for you.


Paul
ARH
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My Highly Caffeinated Thought: A quick moving thriller.

DEAD WOMAN WALKING is one of those books that you can fly through. The fast pace and carefully placed reveals of Bolton's mystery are what propelled me to see what happened next.

With flashbacks and the questions that are brought up in the present, the reader will have to piece together all the facets of this mystery along with the authorities. However, in my option, the best part of the story is the tensions and fear that radiates off the page from the the sole survivor.

If you are looking for a one-night read, DEAD WOMAN WALKING is worth taking a look at.
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Another compelling and unpredictable standalone by an author best known for her delightful series about detective Lacey Flint.   Sisters enjoying a carefree expedition in a hot air balloon see a killer - and he sees them and is determined they will not interfere with his plans.   A terrifying novel of pursuit that kept me up until late!
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What a great mind-bender!
The opening pages of Dead Woman Walking grabbed my attention and the story was so captivating it held my attention throughout.
Thirteen people in a hot air balloon witness a man killing a woman directly below. The murderer chases the balloon causing it to crash. Some die, some go missing and once the police start to investigate, the many twists and turns begin.
A fast-paced thriller with well-developed, multifaceted characters, many not being who they seem.
Enjoyable short chapters alternate the past with the present.
The crime-solving Catholic nuns are the best!
Sharon Bolton does an awesome job weaving the themes together with the many unpredictable occurrences as she is building the story.

Thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for an arc of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
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St. Martin's Press and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of Dead Woman Walking. I was under no obligation to review this book and my opinion is freely given.

When a hot air balloon ride results in the death of the riders, with the exception of two missing people, will the police be able to use the scant clues to figure out the sequence of events? Will the missing woman, scared for her life because of what she witnessed from the balloon, be able to hide long enough for the perpetrators to be caught?

Dead Woman Walking is told in a combination of perspectives, both past and present, as an effective tool to building mystery and suspense. Although I am not usually fond of this technique, the author did a good job of seamlessly blending the events together to form a cohesive story. I am a huge fan of suspense and mystery/thrillers, especially when there is an element of surprise, and I was not disappointed here. Although I did guess as to one essential part of the plot, I did not figure out the other. The plot was exciting to the end and the elements that relate to a current social issue plaguing our world were very realistic. I would definitely read more by author Sharon Bolton, if given the chance, and would recommend Dead Woman Walking to readers who enjoy mystery/thrillers and suspense.
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Sharon Bolton is a relatively new author to me. I can't believe it has taken me this long to find her! And find her, boy did I in this book. I have read one other book by her, "Little Black Lies", which I also gave a five star rating. I will definitely be picking up every book of hers I see now.

Wow!!!!!!! WHAT A GREAT READ!! I sped through this book. A story that begins with a hot balloon ride wherein the passengers witness a murder. One of the passengers, Jessica, takes a picture of the murderer and the murderer has a picture of her in his mind. He is hellbent to find her and he will.

This story has so many twists. The biggest twist I didn't even see coming even though the hints were there. They were so well disguised that I literally said "OMG" out loud!! I mean they were staring me in the face even - I won't say how so as not to spoil it. However, you will figure it out once you've read the book.

Pulse racing, thrilling, unputdownable I enjoyed the heck out of this book!

Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
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I'm a huge fan of this author , but I really struggled with this one. 

Here is what didn't work for me:

-The relationship between the sisters felt disjointed to me. Bolton handed out crumbs here and there spread out over past and present years.  I found it hard to embrace that these 2 were so close, when they didn't seem to know each out at all in the end.
-The main creepy story line <spoiler>human trafficking</spoiler> I found hard to believe. Not that it doesn't happen, but that it was so successful and had been going on for so long, not too mention how it even got started.
-It might have been because I had a hard time getting into this, but I thought there were just too many characters and the overall book was too long.
-The ending! <spoiler> Honestly-for years the brother has had the sister's son in his life and they were all just 'waiting' for her to come around? </spoiler> I actually thought this was the worst grievance of the whole book.

There were some shining moments though:
-I liked the short chapters and the bouncing back and forth from past to present with small reveals here and there. At times I was confused but it kept me on my toes.
-As always, you can tell Bolton put her time into researching her subject matter.

While this is by far my least favorite read by this author, I am still a huge fan and will most certainly be grabbing her next read!

ARC provided by NetGalley
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This is my third book that I've read by Sharon Bolton and an author that I've come to rely on for a good story. For some reason I was thinking this had a different plot than what it did, not a bad thing, but it did take me by surprise.

When Jessica takes her big sister, Bella, for a surprise hot air balloon ride things go spiraling out of control. When I say this book started off with a bang....I mean it! It started with strangers inside this balloon witnessing a murder from above and from there everything went from bad to worse in a split second. Not one single moment of reading was lost to boredom. You were sent running for your life along with Jessica and by the end you will be winded. Lots of twists, which I'm beginning to realize is Bolton's specialty. She does the twists and turns with ease that you really have no idea what to expect. The story does alternate from present to past (just by a couple of years), which is also done with ease. If your looking for a good/great mystery I highly recommend picking up a Sharon Bolton novel. Another winner from her!

**Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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"Dead woman walking" has unique and disturbing early chapters that I'm sure I'll remember for a long time.  And by the way, that long time will NEVER include me getting in a hot air balloon!

Jessica Lane, a policewoman, takes her sister Isabel, a Carmelite nun for a hot air balloon ride to celebrate her sister's 40th birthday.  As they marvel at the views and the balloon's pilot takes them low to appreciate them more fully, Jessica witnesses a crime on the ground beneath them.  The perpetrator of the crime realizes his crime was seen so he takes his rifle and shoots at the balloon's pilot - killing him. Pilot-less, the hapless passengers endure tense and excruciating moments before the balloon plummets to the ground...

As they collectively panic, they attempt to use their cell phones to send word to the authorities of their impending disaster, but alas, there is little to no signal in the Northumberland National Park.

"Against all odds, one woman had walked away from the crash.
Somewhere out there, she was still walking."

This story is told from various points of view.  We have the lone woman survivor of the balloon disaster, the policeman investigating the balloon crash, and the evil man who Jessica watched attacking a woman on the ground.

"Smart girl. He liked hunting the smart ones."

This criminal man is Patrick Faa.  He is a psychopath who seems to have little to no regard for human life.  He intentionally shot the pilot of the balloon and wants to kill all the occupants to preserve himself from witnesses to his crime.  He goes to the crash scene and murders any of those who miraculously survived the crash.  He collects all their cell phones - just in case they had any incriminating photos or text messages on them.  We learn of Patrick Faa's family - Travellers/Romanis who are under the rule of his mother, their matriarch.

Narrrowly escaping the eagle eyes of Patrick Faa, the survivor is dazed, frightened, traumatized, and injured.  She finds herself on St. Cuthbert's Way. She walks...

"Maybe the crash had killed her too. Maybe she was on borrowed time, a dead woman walking, oblivious to the clock relentlessly ticking away her last remaining minutes."

The policeman is Ajax Maldonado, a Detective Chief Inspector with the Northumberland Constabulary. We learn a little of his personal life and his relationship with a fellow police officer whose nickname is Mojo. We learn of the police side of the balloon crash investigation and the police search for the missing survivor, Jessica Lane.

Also, the time-line goes back and forth from the present day, to the days immediately preceding the crash, and also, back to the early life of the two sisters, Jessica and Isabel. We visit them around the time that Isabel joined the Carmelite nuns, much to Jessica's disapproval.  It seemed that Isabel was trying to escape life, or something that happened, and she chose to join a silent, hard-working order of nuns.

We learn that in the weeks prior to the balloon crash, policewoman Jessica Lane was working to uncover a people trafficking ring who had links to unethical organ transplants.

Then we read about a 'yellow house'.  A house where illegal immigrants are housed in unsavory and squalid conditions.  A house they are all fearful of...

"Dead woman walking" is Sharon Bolton at her very best.  She has incorporated a relevant modern issue into her plot with some unscrupulous criminals. She has spiced up the narrative with several twists/surprises, and she has blended various time lines and points of view in such a way that the narrative was not at all confusing.

My main gripe is that after reading this novel I could have kicked myself!  I realized that all throughout the book the author had hinted at various aspects of the plot and I didn't grasp them until AFTER finishing the book!  Shame on me.  Sharon Bolton has written this novel with clever use of plot and characterization that led me, the reader, to assume certain things that were so incorrect.  You believe want SHE wants you to believe.  Outstanding!
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not the Sharon Bolton I love that's for sure, it was so boring and even confusing :(   The plot twist was good but by the time I got to it I was already checked out... bummer
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First let me say that I adore this authors Lacey Flint stories. Her stand alones have not met with the same success, at least not for me. A hot air balloon ride, a present to sister who has been in a meditative convent for twenty years. Something is seen from the balloon that places it in jeopardy. Let's just say this balloon ride does not turn out successively. So we are off, on what I thought was a cat and mouse chase through the countryside. 

This story never quite gelled with me. I found it implausibke almost from the beginning. Plots need to have a basic sense to them, have a believability factor in which I can engage. For me, this one didn't. What I did like though and the reason I am giving this three stars, is the very humorous scene with the nuns in the convent. Oh, and did I mention the ghost or spirit or what have you, that makes a few appearances? Another case where less would have been better than more. So many things were thrown into this plot, and so many things I found that affected the credulity factor. 

I know my rating and reciew is in the minority, and many haven't been bothered by the things that bothered me. The best way to judge is to read it yourself. On the plus side, if I keep reading thrillers, my bucket list will continue to get smaller. One balloon ride off the list!!

ARC from Netgalley.
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Sharon Bolton always finds an inventive way to frame her mysteries. She's one of the few writers who always surprises me somehow with the resolutions of her plots. In this case, the complexity of the relationships among the main characters was especially impressive. I find myself thinking of those characters when I hear or read something in the news about the organ donor system. That's not something that happens often. The very complexity of the plot is the reason this book will be a good candidate for book club discussions.  Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for access to this excellent book prior to publication!
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I haven't read any of Sharon Bolton's previous works but it is obvious from the very first chapter that she is a highly creative and imaginative crime writer. Despite it being a relatively hefty novel, it flew by so fast and whenever the story seemed to lull, something else happened which woke you straight back up. The bad thing about crime thrillers/mysteries is that reviewing them is almost impossible without revealing spoilers. The characters were multi-dimensional, the plot was fast-paced and exciting and there were some emotional themes, especially between the nuns at the convent our main character's sister is a member of. Also, if going on a hot air balloon ride is on your bucket list, it probably won't be after reading this novel.

Overall, an actual thrilling thriller which was riveting, clever and atmospheric as it takes place around Scotland and the north of England. Will definitely be checking out Sharon's previous and future releases.
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Aspiring literary suspense authors would do well to study Sharon Bolton’s books for a master class in how it should be done.  Having read several of her stand-alones, I can unequivocally say that she excels at character development, tightly and cleverly written plots with surprising twists, emotional depth and intensity, meticulous attention to detail, and an incredible sense of place. And while the suspense and sense of peril continually increase, Bolton knows exactly where and how to include humor.  (Who wouldn’t laugh at a convent of crime fighting nuns!)  The book blurb gives a good outline of the plot and I won’t include anything that might spoil it. The action begins immediately and the pace never lets up. There are several stunning twists, one of which was so unexpected that I re-read the book (which was even better the second time around) to discover how I failed to pick up on the clues Bolton dropped. For those who are readers and not aspiring authors, settle into your favorite reading chair and immerse yourself in one of the best crime thriller books I’ve read this year.

My review was posted on Goodreads and Edelweiss on 9/13/17.
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Clever, Clever, Clever!!!! That one word sums up how I feel about this book and this author!  Ms. Bolton was one of the first authors that I read when I ventured into the “thriller” genre and she snared me with “Little Black Lies”. Before joining NetGalley I had never, not once, picked up a thriller. Ms. Bolton quickly showed me how brilliantly a thriller writer can be. I was excited to read her newest “Dead Woman Walking”.

What could be more perfect than the surprise of a balloon ride on your birthday on a picture perfect day (unless you were afraid of heights) which Jessica’s sister Isabel was not. For a short time, as we meet the other passengers on the balloon along with the pilot it feels blissful indeed, but that is stopped short when Jess leans over the balloon and sees a crime being committed, and she recognizes the culprit. This was quickly followed by a shot that rang out throughout the beautiful day and began the horror that was to follow, with a balloon crash that killed most of the passengers.

There is more than one subplot in this book and I am not going to ruin any of them for you. Just when you think you may have the answer to it all, another plot pops up along with more characters to contend with.

The crimes committed by this horrendous family of sickies are almost too much to believe but, sadly, at least in some ways, crimes against immigrants are quite common. So many people will do whatever, including selling a part of themselves, to come to this country. There, I gave you a hint, that one tiny one is all you are getting.

The story is also about the sisters growing up, a terrible time in their young lives and how they chose their different lifestyles One became a nun, the other was raised by her aunt and uncle and then choose an interesting and very different career path from her sister, but wait, I can’t tell you that either!

This author is very gifted not only in writing but in the twisty ways the subplots are revealed and the depth of her characters. Sadly, in many thrillers that I read, that depth of characterization is what is often lacking. I’m sure that Ms. Bolton could make a shopping list exciting if she wanted to.  Pick up this novel, you won’t be disappointed!

Many thanks for this ARC to the publisher and NetGalley.

Will also post to Amazon upon publication

Posted to Amazon on 9/12/17
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