**Thanks to NetGalley, Angela Marsons & Bookoutre. I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I finished reading this book on Friday and I’m still thinking about it. That’s always a good sign – especially in crime fiction because it usually means I’m still thinking about the murder. (Please don’t say things like this in your office out of context. People will think you’re crazy).
There were lots of things to like about this book, and I read it pretty quickly. So here’s the run down:
File Size: 2479 KB
Print Length: 390 pages
Publisher: Bookouture; 1 edition (20 Feb. 2015)
Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
A bit of info:
Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …
Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country. But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.
As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?
I’d actually say that the blurb here doesn’t do the story justice. This novel is about more than just a murdered headteacher and remains at a childrens’ home. It is about the past, how childhood trauma can affect you so profoundly, how it can make you – or break you. So don’t disregard this one if you’re not sold on the blurb. There’s definitely more to this book than meets the eye.
What I liked:
- Kim Stone
Yep, we’re doing the character thing again. Kim is a great series-detective; she’s feisty, funny, angry, and doesn’t take no for an answer. She has few friends (actually, her only friend seems to be her partner/colleague Bryant) but she is a deeply interesting person. Kim Stone has her own demons, of course, like all good detectives, and she has a pretty interesting backstory. It’s the sort of backstory that could easily verge on melodrama, but Angela Marsons manages this very well and while reading the novel I found the whole thing utterly believable.
Kim is driven to investigate this crime beyond the call of duty. It becomes personal. I like when things get personal. Really personal. And Kim puts everything on the line for this – while still maintaining the respect and trust of her team, which is nice. Overall, I’d definitely stick with Kim for a series, she’s so utterly readable.
Another thing I love in crime novels is when the characters successfully achieve a level of banter that is funny yet does not detract from the seriousness of the crimes. Marsons has done this very well. I’m jealous because banter/dark humour is something I really struggle with and I think that this novel is made by the interactions between the characters.
Marsons moves very smoothly between a whole bunch of narrators. Although Kim is the protagonist. We get scenes from several other characters, including Kim’s colleague Stacey, some of the victims, and even the killer. I loved the scenes from the killer’s POV, even if it is something that’s probably been done to death. Very well written, and a clear sense of voice and tension.
This point is sort of half what I loved about this book and half what I didn’t like so much about it. But let’s talk about what I did like: the PAST. There are two strands to the plot in this book and I have to say that the murder in the past (the body at the childrens’ home) held my attention far more than the murders in the present. I felt like the stuff in the past was the real focus of the book, and I actually forgot what was happening with the current murders. Oops!
What I didn’t like:
So yeah, basically I felt like the murders in the present day sort of faded into the background a bit. That’s not to say they didn’t add anything to the plot, because they did, but perhaps I just felt like they weren’t as necessary as they could have been to my understanding of the events.
- [SPOILERS AHOY] The ending
I didn’t really dislike the ending as much as I didn’t find it as credible as the rest of the novel. Basically, and I am going to spoiler you here so look away if you’re sensitive to these sorts of things, I didn’t really like the fact that it turned out to be the work of two different killers. The cases, of course, are connected very closely, but the fact that the murders in the present were committed by somebody OTHER than the baddie – well, it sort of made the whole book a little bit less… urgent? I guess? Knowing that it wasn’t the killer from the past committing the current murders made me feel like all the times I’d been super tense about the urgency of catching the killer were sort of a trick? But this could well be a personal preference, and it didn’t really detract much from my enjoyment of the novel. I felt like I was along for a good ride, and it was only when it was over that I started to think more critically of it all.
So basically what I’m saying is, there’s very little I disliked about this book, guys. There were some instances where I was pulled out of the narrative, but honestly I can’t remember what those were now. But at no point did I consider these to be any real problem because I was enjoying the book so much. It was VERY well plotted and definitely impressive for a debut novel!
I can’t wait for book number two. I think I’ll be a fan of Angela Marsons if she carries on like this… =D