December 9, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

With The Split, Sharon Bolton, Rewrote All The Rules I Thought I Learned About Adult Psychological Thrillers

Hold on to all your internal organs, The Split by Sharon Bolton, is going to screw you around so much that you won't know your kidney from your esophagus.

The Split By Sharon Bolton

You know something has broke me in the best of ways or I’m about to go salty when I give you the summary of a book because I NEVER give the summary of a book. Here is the summary of The Split by Sharon Bolton:

No matter how far you run, some secrets will always catch up with you…

The remote Antarctic island of South Georgia is about to send off its last boat of the summer – which signifies safety to resident glaciologist Felicity Lloyd. Felicity lives in fear – fear that her ex-husband Freddie will find her, even out here. She took a job on this isolated island to hide from him, but now that he’s out of prison, having served a term for murder, she knows he won’t give up until he finds her.

But a doctor delving into the background of Felicity and Freddie’s relationship, back in Cambridge, learns that Felicity has been on the edge for a long time. Heading to South Georgia himself to try and get to her first is the only way he can think of to help her.

Thanks Mom

I had just about finished my review of when I received a text from my mom. Right about now there are three groups of people. Or just three people.

First Group: What the hell does this have to do with anything?

Second Group: This is gonna be good!

Third Group: Oh, for fucks sake, not again.

Here is said exchange, for all of you:

The Split
As you can see from said picture, my mother had texted me to offer to buy the CNMCC (Council of Ninja Magic Conjuring Cats), specifically Gomez, a new water fountain. However, the one he has is working and- well LOOK AT HOW MANY TABS ARE IN THE SPLIT… I CAN’T AFFORD THIS.


It is also actually fantastic timing because, while the review was written, I didn’t have an introduction because I had no earthly clue as to how I was going to start. This gave me a place to do so. It also gives me another point of reference for you. If I blow up the above picture?


The Split
I present exhibit A, circled. I was so entrenched in The Split that I failed to provide the proper amount of attention to the head of the CNMCC, Pavel. To which he then felt it right and necessary to take his spite out on the corner of the book, by attempting to chew on it. Shameful behavior.

The point? Glad you asked. The Split, quite simply, is entirely worthy of buying a box and handing out to strangers. Since we have to maintain six-foot distance from each other, this will mean donning a mask and throwing it at them. Should a police officer come and ask why you are throwing blunt objects at people? Just explain that you are observing all good practices of social distancing and donating an incredible book that was just released to people, so that they may read in their spare time. Surely, he will understand and then you can offer him a copy, as well. And if he doesn’t? I disavow any responsibility for your actions.

When You Become THAT Meme

Please keep in mind that it is near impossible to NOT spoil this book. So, you are going to get a lot of anecdotal notes on what it is like to read The Split in hopes that it will convey the urgency in which, YOU, should read it. I will go through some vague points of strengths without spoiling anything as much as possible. However, understand I’m doing the best I can here without giving ANYTHING away because that would be a sin against the literary world that I refuse to commitI don’t deal in spoilers without fair warning, either way. However, this is particularly difficult. So, this review is gonna veer on the odd side, even for me. And that is saying a whole load of things.

It's All Connected

Let’s start here because this is the nuts and bolts of an Adult Psychology/Thriller. Bolton had me running around like a lunatic. It is one thing for an author to have you at the edge of your seat. It is another when she has you so ensnared in her web that you become determined to beat her to the big reveal. And I was this guy. Literally. I was this close to breaking out the white board at the back of my closet (I still have it from when I was in education). Why was I that close? Because I was running out of room…

The Split Notes

As you can see, I was scribbling notes and connecting dots and drawing arrows all over a destroyed piece of paper, as I tabbed the hell out of the actual book. I doctored the picture by spray painting (that is what Paint calls it) over the actual writing to prevent spoiling anything. As stated above, I did this because I had become determined to beat Bolton at her own game. I screamed it from my patio for all the world to hear. Bolton was going to suffer defeat at my hands, and I WOULD WIN.

Bolton did not suffer defeat.

I did not win.

We weren’t even playing the same game. Hell, Bolton was playing a different sport that I didn’t even know existed. If I’m being perfectly honest? She was playing multiple sports, simultaneously, while I was celebrating a win that never existed.

I think, Bolton is friends with Kaz Brekker from Crooked Kingdom. No. I have not gone bonkers. What does Kaz say? You don’t win by running one game. Well. Bolton knows this and ran so many circles around me that while I thought I had it figured out and was cackling like a hyena? She was ten leagues ahead of me having a picnic saying… have fun with that.

This isn’t to say that any of this is because the twist and turns, the multiple games and how those games end don’t make sense or don’t fit. They all do and when you look back, you almost… no you definitely do want to beat yourself over the head. The clues are all there. Right there. They are just so deftly woven in that while I had many of the big picture connections written down. It was the little pieces along the way that while might have teased my brain right on the edges? I never quite got there but I could have. Bolton played the game just that damn well.

My suggestion to you? Take all the notes you want. Have fun. But don’t even try. Just enjoy the ride. Because what a mighty fun ride it is.


This section could have been named so many things. Dialogue? Narrative? Characters? Point of view? When you boil it down, and again to avoid going into specifics that may lead to spoilers, it really comes down to tone. You expect, or at least hope for the suspenseful nature of the story. If that isn’t there, you don’t have a book. Bolton has that in spades.

Bolton has an ability to change the tone of all those pieces on a drop of a dime in ways you never see coming. It is at times serious and scorching to straight out hysterical. There is dry wit, deadpanned sarcasm to absurd hysterics and then complete gruesome horror. Not often gory horror, although at times it can be a bit bloody, but definitely bending more into horror than I’ve read in the past. Not one piece of this is ever out of place or inappropriate.The Split By Sharon Bolton

Thank you to Minotaur Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The humor, sarcasm? Never over the top, nor made me think well that is cringey for what is going on. It all made sense, perfectly place and at times, those were moments where I felt like I was saying it in my head, too. Like– WELL YEAH! And then laughing right along. I also have a twisted sense of humor, so there’s that.

I will add on about the characters that they are so incredibly crafted, even beyond just tone. Each of them are what they should be, whether you should be rooting for them or not, they are distinct and unique. They carry their role and voice throughout the story.

All The Things I Can’t Discuss

The themes that are tackled in this book about society, people and how we treat each other are absolutely incredible. This genre doesn’t always handle certain themes well and it irks me to no end. This isn’t one of those cases, not by a long shot. It is all handled very well. They aren’t done in surface or used as something just thrown in for the sake of it. Each theme is woven deeply into the story and explored authentically and at great length.

There is so much I could say about The Split or Bolton. Go throw it at people. Make sure you read it yourself. But I just can’t say anything else, really. Well, yes, I can. Chalk this up to another author I’m late to the game on. But I will catch-up. Other than a couple of books I have been a lucky son of a bitch in what I’ve read so far this year and it has really moved the goal post on me as far as what I consider great reads- in both YA and Adult. The Spring/Summer Fling 2020 is going to be an interesting ride. 

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