by Sharon Bolton
Publication Date : October 16, 2018
Pages : 432
Synopsis From Publisher :
Florence Lovelady's career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Grassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago in a small village in Lancashire. Like something out of a nightmare, the victims were buried alive. Florence was able to solve the mystery and get a confession out of Larry before more children were murdered., and he spent the rest of his life in prison.
But now, decades later, he's dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves. Is someone copying the original murders? Or did she get it wrong all those years ago? When her own son goes missing under similar circumstances, the case not only gets reopened... it gets personal.
Have you ever read a book by a “new to you” author and immediately add every book by this author to your list of must reads? This is what I did after reading The Craftsman. The Craftsman is the story of a small town with disturbing secrets and the formidable woman who will stop at nothing to expose these secrets. Readers in the mood for an enthralling and spooky read just in time for the Halloween season, should add The Craftsman to their list of must reads.
In 1969 twenty-two year old Florence Lovelady is a WPC (woman police constable) with the Sabden Police in Lancashire England. When teenagers begin to disappear from the town, police fear a serial killer is at work. Eventually Larry Glassbrook confesses to the abduction and murder of the teenagers and is sentenced to life in prison. Glassbrook’s conviction paved the way for Florence’s success in law enforcement. Thirty years later she is an Assistant Commissioner and another teenager goes missing in Sabden. Florence now doubts the arrest and conviction which made her career. She’s forced to now rethink the entire investigation and the growing fear that the killer has been on the loose for thirty years.
In the foreword of The Craftsman, Bolton discusses why she chose to write a book featuring witches. Bolton wanted to tell a story of women who are different and how they are treated by their community. Bolton describes an openly hostile and emotionally abusive work environment within the Sabden police station. Florence is subjected to rude and belittling behavior from both the male police officers and the female civilian employees. Besides being a woman, Florence’s co-workers also take issue with her education. Florence attended college, anytime she expresses an opinion she is seen as a “know it all” and a snob. She is smart and makes little to no effort to hide it. This intimidates her male co workers and makes her female co workers envious. Through all of this Florence stays on the high road, rarely reacting and maintaining her focus on being the best police officer she can be. All of the aforementioned makes Florence Lovelady the toughest, bravest, and most dedicated police officer I have ever read.
I have very limited knowledge of witchcraft, previous books I have read told stories of wands, cauldrons, and brooms. Bolton’s description of witchcraft seems much more realistic and relatable. It involves positive energy, healing herbs, meditation, and fellowship with like-minded people. Readers who may be put off by the supernatural element should not be concerned. The Craftsman is first a murder mystery, but the witchcraft element took the story from suspenseful to wonderfully creepy. I really enjoyed the mystical component, I am not sure the story would have been as good without it.
When the book starts readers meet Assistant Commissioner Florence Lovelady, the story then takes a sudden turn back to 1969 when Florence was a low ranking Constable. At least three quarters of the story is a flashback to 1969. This rather lengthy flashback was new to me but I really enjoyed it. Readers will need to understand the dynamics of Florence’s work life in 1969 as well as the investigation of the kidnappings and murders. However Florence’s life between 1969 to 1999 is not mentioned. Once the investigation concludes, the story skips ahead to 1999. Obvious events have taken place over the previous 30 years such as her promotion and she no longer lives in Sabden, but most of the last 30 thirty years of Florence’s life is unknown. This would be the one issue I have with The Craftsman, but this aspect made the story even more gripping. In conjunction with trying to figure out who was responsible for the deaths of the teenagers, the last 30 years of Florence’s life was also a mystery.
Sharon Bolton is an author whose name I have seen many times before, always trailing behind praises from reviewers and authors alike. I am not sure why I have never picked up any of Bolton’s books. However, after reading The Craftsman, I can honestly state that Sharon Bolton has become one of my favorite authors.
** Thanks to Minotaur Books for my free copy of The Craftsman.**
Murder and Moore Rating:
4.5 out of 5 Stars