The Split, best-selling author Sharon (SJ) Bolton’s new novel, features one of the best of crime-fiction locations, the island of South Georgia, the Antarctic, several hundred miles from the Falkland Islands, where protagonist Dr Felicity Lloyd discovers that sometimes it doesn’t matter how far you run, you just can’t hide. Especially from psycho ex-husbands.

The action plays out in the dual locations of South Georgia, where brilliant glaciologist Felicity is based at a remote science station, which also happens to be on the intrepid tourist track, and Cambridge, England, where she worked nine months before. While Felicity’s day-to-day work on the island is challenging, rife with potential life-threatening dangers, we soon discover her time in Cambridge was similarly fraught.

For me, the book comes into its own in the sections set in Antartica, Bolton bringing the magnificent, alien landscape to life, with its stunning glaciers, blue lakes and potential plug holes, which the author evokes beautifully. It’s a fascinating, isolated place, the perfect setting for a tense psychological thriller to play out against. And it is tense, right from the first page, when Felicity’s anxiety is palpable, her belief that once the last cruise ship arrives, she will be safe from Freddie Lloyd, the husband who’s recently been released from prison for murder. But nothing is that simple. Of course, Freddie is a passenger on the ship, as are a few other people from Felicity’s past.

A smart, well-paced read, with a stellar location, The Split is a page-turner. And then there’s the matter of armchair travel and creepy crime-fiction in a real-life pandemic. Really, as the song goes, ‘who can ask for anything more?’


Sharon Bolton | The Split | Trapeze | hardback | £12.99 | 30 April 2020 |

Also available in eBook and audio

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Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of the virtual book tour. Many thanks to Alex Layt, senior publicity officer at Orion, for inviting us on the tour and for sending us a review copy. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other reviews on this tour.

See also: ‘ ‘Damian Barr’s slice of South Africa’;Prospect beautiful, Derek Jarman’s cottage‘; ‘Chris Whitaker’s small-town America’; ‘Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary: an Old Familiar’; Carver’s Nothing Important Happened Today’; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

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