The second outing for DI Kim Stone and her team and bostin’ one it was too. In Evil Games, Kim is pitted against Socipathic Alex, a woman who believes to have found in Kim a kind of ultimate toy for her game of manipulation and perhaps the only person she feels a worthy adversary.
This is a departure from the first story, in that during Silent Scream you were kept guessing until the end just who it was that was committing the murders. In Evil Games, much akin to a good episode of Columbo, you know from the outset who dunnit and why. There are difficult themes touched upon, such as the ongoing story of child abuse which runs alongside the main murder investigation, and a serious sexual assault, neither of which are dealt with in too graphic detail but are well written and give the reader just enough. With Alex working hard to distract Kim and to get to the reason behind her outwardly hostile persona, you question whether Kim will ever find the truth.
The team are perhaps featured less in Evil Games as it is very much a battle of wits between Kim and Alex, with only Kim able to see beneath Alex’s carefully crafted veneer to the empty soul within. They contribute enough though, with Stacey pushed out into the field and Dawson back to his man whoring ways. The investigation pushes Kim to the limits and you are right there with her as she fights to keep her past buried, just the way she likes it.
The prose is well crafted as ever, often taking you into the minds of the two women, and there are still enough surprises and turns to keep the story moving at a fast pace. We know also know much more of the trauma Kim suffered in the past, and why it is she has so hard a time communicating with others and yet understands perfectly those who struggle to communicate themselves. Kim is as stoic and detached as ever but there is a small moment of softness when she opens up to Bryant, introducing him to her brother. And there’s an unexpected addition to her family, showing the world just how unlike Alex she truly is.
5 stars. Another excellent book – looking forward to reading the third instalment.