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The Split    by Sharon Bolton order for
by Sharon Bolton
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2020 (2020)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Sharon Bolton delivers the most unusual (in both settings and characters) mysteries and she's done it again in The Split. Though I've also enjoyed her crime thrillers starring D.C. Lacey Flint, her standalone Dead Woman Walking was my all time favorite until I read this latest, which is simply brilliant.

It can be confusing at first, but one understands why by the end. Its lead is glaciologist Felicity Lloyd, who's fled to work in the remote Antarctic island of South Georgia in fear of her abusive ex, Freddie. He's been released from prison after serving time for murder and is on her trail. The last cruise ship of the season is nearing the island and Felicity has made her plans to hide until it leaves again and she can be safe.

Though disturbing, this seems simple enough, but then the author shares flashbacks with the reader to Felicity's time in Cambridge, England months earlier, and her sessions with psychiatrist Dr. Joe Grant, who also volunteers working with the homeless. Readers share Freddie's and Joe's points of view, and meet other characters too, like wild, enraged Bamber, who's also on South Georgia - what are her plans?

Another fascinating character is Joe's policewoman mother Delilah, who's very protective of her son and worried about his work with the homeless after a young woman became obsessed with him and attacked him with a knife, disappearing afterwards. The police suspect a man called Shane, who watches the homeless while they sleep.

As all these plot threads develop and intermingle, Felicity has memory blanks, but shares little with Joe as she's desperate to get the job on South Georgia. The denouement takes place there and it's quite a ride. Don't miss this extraordinary read.

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