The Split by Sharon Bolton

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on the latest thriller from Sharon Bolton. I was very late to reading this particular author’s books but I love the way in which she creates that sense of tension and atmosphere and so when the chance came up to read this latest offering I snapped at it. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Netgalley

About the Book


A year ago, in desperation, Felicity Lloyd signed up for a lengthy research trip to the remote island of South Georgia.

It was her only way to escape.


Freddie Lloyd has served time for murder. Out at last, he’s on her trail.

And this time, he won’t stop until he finds her.


Tense, gripping and with a twist you won’t see coming, Sharon Bolton is back in an explosive new thriller about a woman on the run…

Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books | Hive

My Thoughts

Lord but this is a hard novel to review. So many threads, so many subtle, well placed clues that I would love to really get into, including the brilliant way in which the author pulled all the threads of the story together, but it would read too much like spoiler territory. This really is a book you have to read to understand and to appreciate.

With The Split, Sharon Bolton introduces us to two central characters, Felicity, a Glaciologist, and Joe, her Psychologist. The story is split along two timelines and two very different parts of the world – Cambridge and South Georgia, a remote island in the Antarctic. From punts to penguins you couldn’t get too more contrasting settings for a story and yet the author captures both perfectly, leaving readers with the sense of both that puts them really in the heart of the novel. It’s not all student parties and affluence in Cambridge though, with a good proportion of the story focused on the homeless population, a plight which is highlighted in stark and yet not overly moralistic tones. And yet, whilst the story really begins in Cambridge, it is not in Cambridge that we first meet Felicity. Cambridge represents the past, South Georgia the present and it is a chilly and isolated feeling, full of tense atmosphere, the sense of everything there being fragile and likely to change in an instant, from the climate to the stability of the glaciers, one that reflects the ominous nature of the whole novel.

It is hard to say much about the how the two timelines intersect but they do and in spectacular and spine-tingling fashion. After an incident that sees her in hospital, Felicity uses Joe’s services so that she can be signed off as fit to undertake what by any standard would be the opportunity of a lifetime – a chance to spend two years studying the glaciers of the Antarctic. But it is by no means a straightforward, one session kind of meeting, and the more Felicity spends time with Joe, the more we come to realise just how complicated her life is. The author manages to keep readers in the dark about what is really troubling Felicity whilst also creating a real sense of anxiety and threat which keeps you perfectly on edge. And Joe, too, has a very troubled past, one that sets him in the sights of the police, including his own mother.

This us a story of murder, of deeply held secrets and of revenge, but just who is the perpetrator and who the victim. Sharon Bolton manages to keep everything under wraps so brilliantly that it will knock you for six when the final reveal comes. Certainly all the clues are there, but they may not actually be pointing in the direction you thought. You get everything in this book – the sense of isolation, of vulnerability. Of being watched – so much so you might be double checking the locks on your own doors and windows before you go to bed at night. There is a dark and chilling truth at the heart of this story, one that extends far deeper than the glaciers Felicity is studying. It is a brilliant study in psychology and the impact of trauma on a person, far more unsettling than you probably expect. There is element of the story which will leave you cold, no pun intended, but it is handled carefully, so that whilst it is key, it is not gratuitous. Definitely a read for fans of the author.

About the Author

Sharon Bolton (previously S. J. Bolton) is the critically acclaimed author of some of the most bone-chilling crime books ever written. She has been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year and the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. In 2014 she won the CWA Dagger in the Library for her whole body of work.

Sharon lives near Oxford with her husband and son.

Author Links: Twitter | Website

5 thoughts on “The Split by Sharon Bolton

  1. Ooh, I’s so delightfully intrigued! You’ve managed to capture my interest with your review. It’s hard to avoid spoilers when reviewing this genre, especially ones concerning the victim and the perpetrator!! I’m definitely giving this one a try. Fab review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It’s one of my greatest fears. Hard to say all you want to say, avoid the spoilers but still give a sense of the book.


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