Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Dead Memories – Angela Marsons

Crime Fiction
5*s

Wow! Just for a change I’m going to start this review by saying how much I love this crime fiction series and its chief protagonist DI Kim Stone. I gave the very first book in the series, Silent Scream, the full five stars when I read it in 2015 – sadly despite the subsequent books being even better – five stars is the maximum. Angela Marsons has truly surpassed herself with Dead Memories, the tenth book in the series.

The scene opens on the notorious Hollytree housing estate, specifically the fourth floor of Chaucer House which just happens to be a few floors below where Kim Stone was found next to her dead twin, handcuffed to a radiator. Can it be a coincidence that today two youngsters have been found handcuffed to a radiator? Let’s face it, it’s going to be a no!

This series is firmly wedded to its setting in the Black Country and many of the books take in the Hollytree housing estate with Chaucer House being designated the block which is the roughest of them all, at some point. But this book gets to the heart of Kim Stone’s life. With Bryant, Stacey and Penn, at her side she is going to have to confront some of the many traumas that she has met in life being recreated for someone’s sick game. But that won’t be easy because spiky Kim doesn’t want to share those details with anyone, let alone her colleagues!  Because of the basis in the crimes being committed it was a more traumatic read than most and one that made me realise quite how fond of the detective I have become. Yes, I know its fiction, but when I was reading, it was as real as anything else!

I’ve mentioned in my many reviews of crime fiction series of how much I like meeting up with old friends, in this case the small team that Kim Stone is part of. Angela Marsons has managed her reader’s expectations and interest levels very well on this score with different team members playing larger roles in some of the books and in this episode we have a return of the Alison Lowe a profiler who has been brought on board to keep an eye on Kim herself. This gives a satisfying and fresh injection into the characters and their interactions.

As always the plotting is faultless and although I’d gauge the crimes committed at the top end of my personal gore rating, the black humour that runs through the books means that what could be an unrelenting book of horror doesn’t have that overall feel at all. This really is the mark of a writer who knows her craft and injects a small dollop of humour at the right moment, never inappropriately, to keep the reader engaged but not depressed.

With an enterprising killer at work we also get a full insight into those traumatic incidents in Kim’s life, from the first moment of being left to die next to her twin Mickey to the more recent tragic fatality of a close colleague. So with each murder we get a double whammy of concern for the victims and their families in the present and a second-hand one for Kim, which only served to make me enjoy her company even more.

If you haven’t read this series, start now – they are fantastic but to my mind, you need to read them in order. This the tenth is absolute the cherry on the crime fiction cake!

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bookouture for allowing me to read a copy of Dead Memories before it is published on 22 February 2019. This unbiased review is my thanks to them and Angela Marsons for another brilliant episode in the Kim Stone series.

First Published UK: 22 February 2019
Publisher: Bookouture
No of Pages: 459
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Previous Books featuring Kim Stone
Silent Scream
Evil Games
Lost Girls
Play Dead
Blood Lines
Dead Souls
Broken Bones
Dying Truth
Fatal Promise

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Fatal Promise – Angela Marsons

Crime Fiction
5*s

The pull I have towards crime fiction isn’t necessarily because I like studying murders or reflecting on the darker side of human nature or even that I have a desire to be a detective, it is more because the range of human emotions is there on a page for me to read, reflect on while at the same time having a mystery to unravel. Angela Marsons uses her latest book to demonstrate, amongst other emotions, grief. The team lost someone dear to them at the end of book eight, Dying Truth and we see them all cope in their different ways with their loss. There is anger, bitterness, sadness and guilt but despite all these human emotions, there is a job to do and they roll up their sleeves and do just that. This in turn gives Fatal Promise a slightly reflective feel, but at this point in the series that is no bad thing at all.

It all starts with a body… doesn’t it always? But this time the body is someone that is known to our intrepid Kim Stone – Doctor Gordon Cordell is found in the woods and so the team have no option but to revisit the case where he originally came to their attention. Although not the most likeable man on the planet, it is hard to see who would want him dead.

Meanwhile as the team had been assisting other teams while Kim Stone was out of action and Stacey who is, I must say becoming a very satisfying character in her own right, is keen to keep hold of one she started, it’s a missing girl and her instincts are screaming that someone should be looking for her.
These books get harder and harder to review. I love Kim Stone’s character, she’s strong and decisive, not keen on being told what to do but conforms enough for the reader to find her bullishness believable. Going back to my first paragraph, modern day crime fiction novelists have a challenging job. Not only do they have to come up with one plot that is credibly thought out and gives the readers enough clues to allow them to feel that they have a chance of solving the crime, they also have to keep the story relevant to the times we live in. No longer can we have maverick detectives spreading their misogyny or the like wherever they go, the readers know that the previous generation of detectives would spend their lives on courses or being put out to pasture, but nor of course do we want to read about someone who only cares about politics, we need our detectives to care about the victims, so that we do too.

Angela Marsons always gets the plotting spot on, and this is no different, in fact having two plots running side by side not only gives Stacey her time in the spotlight but also adds a layer of realism to the juggling of priorities which we know must go on in policing. The author also has the pacing right, some of her books have more of an urgent feel about them than others, and this is perhaps more on the reflective side given what’s come before, but her books always hold my interest and I know I’m in for a real treat.

If you haven’t started this fantastic series, I really urge you to do so, although for once I do recommend that you start at the beginning because they just keep getting better and for me there is no better place to contemplate the variety of experience, we have run down estates to post boarding schools, we have the big tragedies and the every day smaller disappointments and of course we have love and loss!

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the publishers Bookouture for allowing me to read a copy of Fatal Promise before it is published next week on 19 October 2018. This unbiased review is my thanks to them and Angela Marsons for another entertaining, and thought-provoking, episode in the Kim Stone series.

First Published UK: 19 October 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
No of Pages: 386
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Previous Books featuring Kim Stone
Silent Scream
Evil Games
Lost Girls
Play Dead
Blood Lines
Dead Souls
Broken Bones
Dying Truth

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Dying Truth – Angela Marsons

Crime Fiction
5*s

Angela Marsons burst onto the crime writing scene a mere three years ago and yet here I am reading the eighth book in the Kim Stone series already! This is a popular series because not only do the books have a modern feel, often the crime is based in an area that could be lifted from a news article, but the characters, particular those in Kim’s team are so realistically portrayed that it is easy to forget that this is a work of fiction.

In Dying Truth we have a thirteen year old girl who has apparently committed suicide from jumping from the roof of her expensive boarding school. The immediate narrative from those in the school is that Sadie was a ‘troubled girl’ but Kim wants to know more. Those words don’t explain to her quite how such a young girl can take such desperate measures and she’s determined to find out more.
Heathcrest Academy is an exclusive establishment and because of that there is the perception that the children, and more importantly their parents are somehow more elite than the everyday kid. Sadie Winters is a loner, the other kids with their overinflated egos pretty much ignore her but she doesn’t seem to mind. Although Sadie’s elder sister Saffie is also at the school, that hasn’t helped and when Kim meets their parents, she thinks she may understand why, but something doesn’t add up.

Then just as Kim begins to push for Sadie’s death to be investigated, there is another death and Kim is more determined than ever to winkle out the secrets that are hidden behind the fancy panelling, and opulent façade.

Angela Marsons has a great knack of writing stories that weave different strands together, never forgetting the psychology of crime but still presenting the story as a police procedural. Because of the nature of the deaths in this book our dear DI Kim Stone is forced to seek out her nemesis Alex Thorne for advice about kids who kill. This chapter is one of the most chilling exchanges that I’ve read, the truth underpinning this work of fiction is what makes the entire series so great.
There is another element to the storyline dealing with secret societies, something that has popped up from time to time in real-life tragic stories and yet each time this subject was broached in the book, I had to remind myself to close my mouth which dropped open in horror, not because I didn’t believe what I was reading could happen, but because I did!

If you haven’t started this fantastic series, do and not with this book because they are all amazing and each time I read a new one I say it was ‘the best yet’ and I’m going to again because it is true. The interaction between the characters is so natural and at times, like when Dawson tried to cheer up the ‘fat kid’ Geoffrey Piggott, it bought tears to my eyes with the careful yet supportive way he spoke, demonstrating the brilliance of the character himself, but then I love all of this small team and I can’t wait to see what life (or death) throws at them next.

First Published UK: 18 May 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
No of Pages: 386
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Previous Books featuring Kim Stone
Silent Scream
Evil Games
Lost Girls
Play Dead
Blood Lines
Dead Souls
Broken Bones

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads, Mount TBR 2018

Broken Bones – Angela Marsons

Crime Fiction
5*s

Detective Kim Stone is on her seventh outing in this up to the minute series by author Angela Marsons.
Broken Bones opens at Christmas time with an abandoned baby outside the police station. The infant is well dressed three month old and has clearly been cared for, so why has it been left on a cold winter’s night? Kim Stone is at a complete loss what to do with the small infant but fortunately others within the station have a few more nurturing instincts than Kim and the baby is looked after while they wait for social services to take ownership. The same night the body of a murdered prostitute is found and an investigation launched to find the perpetrator.

Angela Marsons has a knack of simplifying what is actually two simultaneous complex investigations making this book immensely readable and providing that ‘I must just read one more chapter feeling’ with ease. As expected there are a fair few red herrings with a large cast of characters to keep the reader entertained as we follow Kim down some blind alleys.

In many book reviews a large cast could be interpreted as you’ll never know who is who unless you take careful notes but not here. All of the characters are memorable starting of course with the sharp lead, Kim Stone and her side-kick Bryant – the banter between these two lightening the mood to avoid the book falling into a miserable read. As there are two different investigations the team are split up with Stacey getting to emerge from behind her desk to partner with Dawson as she takes her investigative skills out into the wild. The reader follows both sets of pairs along the way which really underlines the importance of the entire team with the focus not solely on our lead character. That said Kim is still as feisty and as driven as she has been in the previous books in this series which makes her one of my favourite detectives on the contemporary scene.

When I mentioned that this is crime fiction with its finger on the pulse I mean not only that it accurately takes those stories that make the headlines and puts flesh on the bones to digest, the author also emphasises through Kim as her mouthpiece that the victims are people too. The prostitute isn’t shorthand for a victim that no-one cares about and by association, doesn’t deserve the reader’s sympathy but a woman who perhaps has had to make choices that none of us would want to. In short the books are full of the details behind the headlines, yes of course they are entertainment but they also make you think without the ‘issue’ ever overpowering the storyline.

So we have an interesting premise (or two) a superb cast of characters from all walks of life but it seems to me that with each book Angela Marsons’ handling of the plot becomes ever more assured. There is no down-time in this book at all, I constantly needed to know what was going to happen next with the timing absolutely spot-on. In short, this is not a book to be missed by fans of the series and if you haven’t started this one yet, I’d get your skates on – book eight is due out in May 2018.

Broken Bones was my eleventh book of the year for my Mount TBR Challenge 2018, having been bought in November 2017 and as it is my own copy, it is worth another third of a book token so once again I have one book in the bank!!

Previous Books featuring Kim Stone
Silent Scream
Evil Games
Lost Girls
Play Dead
Blood Lines
Dead Souls

First Published UK: 3 November 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
No of Pages: 366
Genre: Crime Fiction Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

 

Posted in Books I have read, Books I want to Read, Five Star Reads, Mount TBR 2018

Dead Souls – Angela Marsons

Crime Fiction
5*s

I am a huge fan of the DI Kim Stone series set in the Black Country and so it is to my immense shame that it has taken me quite so long to getting around to reading the sixth book in the series. Fortunately this explosive episode will spur me on to reading the next one which is ready and waiting on my kindle for my future enjoyment.

When routine demonstration dig for forensic archaeologists turns into a something far more practical than expected. Bones are found in the examination site and Macedonian forensic archaeologist Dr A. summons our feisty and tenacious DI to the site. Unfortunately given that DI Kim Stone has had a difficult relationship with the neighbouring force’s Detective’s, Tom Travis, for nigh on five years so she is not overly impressed when he turns up claiming that the investigation should be led by his team. Certain that Woody will back her plea for her team to continue Kim Stone is less than impressed when she’s ordered to work alongside Travis as a new model in joint investigations, pooling resources to get results.

What happens next is a tests Kim’s patience and professionalism to the max.

The joy of reading a series is to meet up with old favourite characters as much as it is to ‘solve’ the particular crime being investigated and Angela Marsons doesn’t disappoint. Although Kim is busy working with Travis to unearth (no pun intended) the old bones, her team are forced to work on without her. A suspected suicide, the horrific attack on a Polish immigrant and road traffic accident force see DS Dawson and DS Bryant pair up together for the first time which leaves PC Stacey Banks on her own in the office. I think it was an exceptionally good idea to mix the team up, with Bryant not around to rein Kim in we see another side to both of them allowing a move away from Kim’s personal problems and see Bryant appreciating other skills apart from his boss’s and it was fabulous to have Stacey in the limelight for a change, again allowing us to see her outside her usual unflappable self.

There really wasn’t much of a chance to take a breath as essentially we’re following three strands of storylines – trying to work out why the bones were on an ancient tenant farmer’s land, meeting with a vile racist intent on moving immigrants out of his area and seeing Stacey investigate under her own initiative. What would Kim Stone think?

The plotting is superb with the answers to some of the questions seemingly obvious, but of course only once I had the answers! Angela Marsons isn’t afraid to tackle some difficult subjects in her books and nowhere more so than in this one, and yet although she doesn’t shy away from exposing hate crime she does so with what I felt was some level of understanding of the subject matter so that I didn’t feel that this was a writer using the storyline as some kind of bandwagon to leap upon but something that has been researched and digested before being offered up to her readers.

I started by saying that I have the next book, Broken Bones, ready to read and I can assure you that after this explosive and exciting read and having reminded myself why I have recommended this series to so many others, I won’t be leaving it too long before reading the next in the series.

Dead Souls was my third book of the year for my Mount TBR Challenge 2018, having been bought in April 2017 it is worth another third of a book token which means I now have one book in the bank!! 

Previous Books featuring Kim Stone
Silent Scream
Evil Games
Lost Girls
Play Dead
Blood Lines

First Published UK: 25 April 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
No of Pages: 414
Genre: Crime Fiction Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

 

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Blood Lines – Angela Marsons

Crime Fiction 5*s
Crime Fiction
5*s

Oh it is so good to be back in the Black Country with the feisty DI Kim Stone as she battles for justice in this, her fifth outing.

When compassionate Deanna Brightman is found with a single stab wound to the chest Kim Stone and the team root through her life to find the motive for the killing without much success and then, a prostitute is killed using the identical method. The team are off chasing the connection between the two women before anyone else dies.

Kim Stone is still feisty, not a complete maverick and a hard taskmaster who gets results but she has her demons and in Blood Lines we meet up with the dangerous Dr Alexandra Thorne who made her entrance in the second book in the series; Evil Games. The result is a battle of wills and while I desperately hoped Kim Stone would emerge victorious there was no doubt that Alexandra Thorne had more up her sleeve than I’d have liked.

One of the key strengths in Angela Marsons’ writing is her characterisation. No one is too insignificant for her treatment with each crime scene is a chance not only to learn about the victim and ultimately those who were close to them, but the officers attending. The depth these men and women now have has me convinced that I know them in real life, I can predict some of their dialogue because they are rooted in a reality that is reassuring and believable. That isn’t to say any of this book is predictable, far from it! The twists and turns in the investigation are, as always superb. The victims and their families are an excellent mixture of those who you’d happily strike up a conversation with, to those you may nod awkwardly at to those who you’d run as fast as you can from, preferably in the opposite direction. The author isn’t interested in giving the stereotype of the bogeyman, she is there drawing your attention to his every pimple to ensure the hairs on the back of your neck really stand up!

As always with this series there are a number of different tales being told, in Blood Lines we are following the team, led by the seemingly indefatigable Kim Stone, while they use all their skills to work out the link between their disparate victims. No stone is to be left unturned in the pursuit of the killer. The other strand is far more personal. The evil heart of Dr Alexandra Thorne is still, even in prison, masked by the attractive face, and her fight with Kim takes an ever more personal turn as the doctor uses dirty weapons in her fight. As always the plots are fantastic, one strand just as enthralling as the other and keeping me reading to find out what on earth is going to happen next.

It isn’t only the content of Angela Marsons books that I enjoy, the style, in this one including letters, journal entries as well as the straightforward narratives gives me (another) element to ponder over. Be warned though, this book has short chapters, that means you are easily tricked into an endless cycle of ‘just one more’ until you realise that you haven’t managed to have anywhere near enough sleep to propel you through the next day.

A thoroughly satisfying and entertaining read from an author who has been on my ‘must-read’ list from her first book in this series, I have to say they just keep getting better. If you love contemporary crime and haven’t yet read this series, it is one that needs to be read in order, and boy, you are in for a treat!

Previous Books featuring Kim Stone
Silent Scream
Evil Games
Lost Girls
Play Dead

First Published UK: 4 November 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
No of Pages: 380
Genre: Crime Fiction Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Play Dead – Angela Marsons

Crime Fiction 5*s
Crime Fiction
5*s

I was so excited to be approved to read Play Dead on NetGalley as each of Angela Marsons’ previous three books had me absolutely hooked, and each got awarded the full five stars. After the excitement came the slight apprehension, after all the first three had come swiftly on the heels of each other with the author releasing all three between February and November last year, would this book live up to those? The answer is a resounding yes, if anything this one was even better!

I thought I’d read what I’d written about those before writing this review so that I didn’t sound repetitive, but I’m afraid that simply won’t be possible because what I loved about this book is exactly what made the others so wonderful, but I’ll try…

The story opens with a prologue set in 1996 which haunted me throughout the book, even more so as we hear from the same narrator sporadically whilst we are watching Detective Kim Stone investigate. This investigation is on a site more unusual than most, a body farm in the DI’s native Black Country. Westerley research facility is for the scientists whose work in entomology and the like to help define the time of death of bodies left exposed to the open air and Kim Stone and her partner Bryant were visiting to be educated when a body is found. And so we’re out of the traps with a fresh body, one not chosen by the resident scientists, and it is not long before this is joined by a cold case that Kim Stone has picked up along the way! In boths cases just finding out who the victim was is the first step in a marathon.

Kim Stone is exactly my kind of protagonist; she is damaged by her past but about as far from a victim as you can get. She’s complex, not overly friendly to anyone much and yet she has the respect of her officers, and me. In this case she uses her sharp intellect as she gets to work with the unusual crime scene and follows her intuition to get her first link to the killer. But don’t worry, even this sharp cookie doesn’t own a crystal ball, so the twists and turns hold the interest at optimum level.  Angela Marsons really does manage the pace exceptionally well, there is definitely no dropping off in the middle of these books, and yet she still manages to accelerate towards the end so that you really do get that edge of the seat sensation.

One thing that draws me to crime fiction is the understanding of why the perpetrators act the way they do and in this novel the why as well as the who is put together in pieces so it is far too easy to jump to one conclusion, only to find out that maybe the answer is something quite different indeed. But it isn’t just the perpetrator that gets this treatment, all of the characters are exceptionally realistic, and we get to see behind the scenes of these too. In Play Dead we get a little insight into Kim Stone’s nemesis, Tracey Frost the local reporter.

So once again we have a fantastic plot, equally full of interest and absolute horror, complex and engaging characters from the most minimal dinner lady to the chief protagonists and enough adrenaline to fire up that fight of flight reaction – or in my case rooted to the chair reading frantically to find out how on earth it was all going to end. I love books that sprinkle enough clues to allow me to have a go with my poor investigative skills and in this instance I did have some parts right but there were plenty of aspects to make the finale a compelling read.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bookouture not only for allowing me to read Play Dead for review purposes but also for choosing such a talented author to publish and allowing us all to enjoy a fantastic series, one that is now a definite ‘must-read.’ This review is my thank you to them ahead of publication on 20 May 2016.

Previous Books featuring Kim Stone

Silent Scream
Evil Games
Lost Girls

If you are a lover of contemporary crime fiction, I really can’t recommend this series highly enough.

 

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Lost Girls – Angela Marsons

Crime Fiction 5*s
Crime Fiction
5*s

Having read the first two books featuring DI Kim Stone already this year and loved them partly because although they are crime fiction, there is plenty within the pages that allows the reader to deduce the psychology, not just of the perpetrators of the crime but those investigating it as well as the victims and their families.

In this book two young girls have been kidnapped on what should have been an ordinary day for the two friends; swimming lessons at the leisure centre and then being picked up by one of their mothers. But for Charlie and Amy the expected lift never turned up, instead they found themselves bundled into the back of a van and driven away. I must admit the scenes involving the two girls were incredibly effecting, never over-the-top but you’d have to have a heart of stone not to feel the fear that comes of the pages.

Kim Stone is the Investigating Officer requested by Karen Timmins, Charlie’s mother, who grew up with Kim although they were far from friends. Kim quickly assembles her team, old favourites from the previous books, and after visiting the parents they sets up a ‘war room.’ If you’ve read the previous books it is clear that not solving the case and bringing the girls home safely is simply not an option for Kim Stone so she starts combing the background of the parent’s lives for clues as well as trying to find a connection to a similar kidnapping eighteen months previously. In that instance, one of the girls returned home, the other was never seen again. And then the text messages start! In a horrific twist on the ransom demand expected, the two sets of parents are asked to enter into a bidding war for their daughter’s lives. The negotiator seconded to the team for the duration, Matt Ward, has a problem on his hands as it seems like the kidnapper’s motive isn’t just the money!

For a female crime writer, Angela Marsons doesn’t shy away from the worst kinds of crimes, and the worst kinds of criminals and her chief protagonist Kim Stone isn’t someone that you would want to be on the wrong side of, that’s for sure. But for all of that, these books give far more than that shiver of fear that you get when you know that this is just a story that you’re reading while safely tucked up in your secure house. In fact there is plenty to observe as the author portrays the relationships between all her characters perfectly with so much showing, rather than telling, that in some ways it feels like you are watching an exceptionally good drama on TV.Realistically the workload always makes mention of other parts of the caseload that comprises her role as DI in the Black Country, in this instance the death of a young gang member and a certain reporter that Kim is determined to keep in her place.

This book conforms to all the clichés, there is palpable tension from the start and it doesn’t really ease up at any point, so there is no sitting comfortably and enjoying a relaxing read, your heart will race, you’ll be on the edge of your seat and those pages simply won’t turn fast enough.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bookouture for allowing me to read a copy of this book in return for my honest review. Lost Girls is published tomorrow, 6 November 2015 and even though I’d suggest reading the whole series I think that this would read perfectly well as a stand-alone novel.

Previous Books featuring Kim Stone

Silent Scream
Evil Games

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Evil Games – Angela Marsons

Crime Fiction 5*s
Crime Fiction
5*s

Well Angela Marsons has done it again! Well to be honest she has more than done it again, producing a book even more enthralling than her debut novel, Silent Scream, something I didn’t think was possible. How? Well we have the same intriguing protagonist; DI Kim Stone is a woman with a mission to ensure that those who do wrong are punished, a woman who is about as far away from victim as you can imagine, despite having being dealt a rough start in life. That’s not to say she’s without her flaws but that makes her even more believable although I wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of that sharp intellect!

In Evil Games our intrepid detective is trying to wrap up a horrifying case of child abuse, she doesn’t want there to be any loopholes so that the man responsible walks free but nor does she want anyone else involved to escape justice. She spurs her team onto action despite the frustrating lack of evidence or leads when a body is discovered. The culprit is soon located but Kim Stone can’t help thinking that there is more to the crime.

This book really does delve into the workings of the mind, something that really interests me and hence why I’m drawn to psychological thrillers, so for this to occur in a more traditional crime novel makes this a truly special read. When Kim’s investigations lead her to Dr Alex Thorne’s consulting room the reader gets to read an intelligent and scary show-down as a battle of wits ensue as each woman is determined not to give ground.

There are lots of reasons why a book is a ‘must-read’ and the key for me has to be the ability of the writer not only to come up with a good concept but to be able to tell a good story. This book absolutely meets that requirement. Second to that is that the solving of the crime has to be complex enough to hold my attention without being so fiendishly difficult that I am completely out of ideas, I don’t have to be able to guess as I’m notoriously bad at that, but I must be given the clues. To be honest, in this one I picked up on a clue early on and so was able to give myself a congratulatory pat on the back, but as there are multiple elements with plenty of red-herrings there was still plenty in the reveal to be satisfying. Lastly the characters have to feel realistic, again, I don’t know how Angela Marsons did it but there wasn’t one character that didn’t feel fully formed. That isn’t to be mistaken with I need to like every character, unlikely in a crime novel, but I do have to feel that they aren’t going to behave in an unbelievable way just to further the story. As a complete bonus point, I do like the setting of the Black Country, not an overpopulated region for crime fiction, and while it probably isn’t the most picturesque region of the UK, the parts that the author describes paint a picture of an area once dominated by the Industrial revolution with disused factories turned into apartments and canals aplenty.

I can’t recommend this series enough, these are meaty books, with plenty to keep you thinking long after the final page has been turned. The only word of warning I give is don’t start it if you have an engagement you can’t get out of, you won’t want to put this one down.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bookouture for allowing me to read a copy of this wonderful book for review purposes. Evil Games is due to be published on 29 May 2015.

DI Kim Stone first featured in Silent Scream and I’d recommend that you read that one first although it isn’t strictly necessary.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Silent Scream – Angela Marsons

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

I’ll be honest I wasn’t going to choose this book, after all I follow a number of different crime fiction series and I wasn’t sure that I needed to add another to the list until I saw a number of reviews for this one and decided to see for myself, and boy, am I glad I did. Why? Well DI Kim Stone is a fantastic protagonist, driven seemingly a hard-taskmaster, yet we are shown early on that her team are determined to go the extra mile for her which indicates there is far more to her character. Secondly the mystery element is fantastically complex giving this reader plenty of information to pit her admittedly poor detective skills against.

Set in the Black Country the author gives a good sense of the place with references to the industrial revolution that shaped this area, the book opens with a group of five gather round a shallow grave to bury a secret in 2004.

In the present day Kim Stone is called in to investigate the murder of a retired headmistress, Teresa Wyatt, and her team are soon given direction by their boss. Teresa Wyatt’s was a gruesome murder and seemingly it is a mystery as to why this respectable woman has invited such horror. Led by Kim the team follow a lead to the grounds of a former children’s home which only causes the mystery to deepen.

This is a book that wears its heart on its sleeve, unusual in crime fiction where the focus was as much on the why, as the who. Every element of this book is complex, not least DI Kim Stone but not in the now ubiquitous screwed-up cop but played with far more subtlety. This book isn’t about the main protagonist, or her team, yet it gives us enough feeling of the characters, mainly by showing us in their actions, to make them easily identifiable and leave the reader wanting to know more, absolutely essential for a series to be a success. I want to know more!

With tough issues at the heart of this book Angela Marsons has made a brave move, not every reader wants to go to sleep thinking about the murder of children and yet even the younger potential victims are given rounded characters, not for this author is the stereotypical angelic child who was preyed upon, nor the troubled youngster that invited trouble in return, rather we get distinct and believable characters, both major and minor.

I was gripped by this novel and the fast pace only served to keep me turning the pages frantically, desperate to know the truth which was kept hidden from right up until the moment of the reveal. I for one will be looking out with eagerness for the next in this series and have concluded that of course there is room in my life for one more crime fiction series, especially one as good as this.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bookouture for allowing me to have the opportunity to read this book in return for my honest opinion. This book is great, you can read it now as it was published on 20 February 2015.