Yes. You read that right. I am reviewing Silent Scream. With just over three weeks to go until the release of Dead Souls, the sixth book in the Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons, I thought it was an opportune moment to go back and look over the first five books in the series. I’ve technically reviewed them on the blog before, but certainly for three of the first four books the reviews were written before I had my blog and before I found my blogging voice (although I’m sure many would rather I still had laryngitis 😉 ) So today let me take you back to where it all began: Silent Scream.
The Official Book Blurb
Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…
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?
It’s hard to believe that it’s only just over two years since Kim Stone entered our lives. In my case it’s actually less than that as I only read Silent Scream last February, prompted to look the series up after reading an article with Angela Marsons in The Express and Star that showed up on Twitter shortly after she had sold one million copies of her books. That one million is now over two million and I can absolutely see why because, apart from the fact she’s a local lass and therefore bound to be fabulous, the books are absolutely cracking too.
What exactly did I think about book one in the series? Well what do you think? I’ve adapted my original review just a little but I do believe that first impressions count and my first impression of Silent Scream led to me giving it a mahoosive thumbs up.
So… here is my review:
Silent Scream is a story of secrets that some thought long buried, and the consequences of years of deceit and cover up. When an application to dig the grounds of an long abandoned childrens home is granted, the truth is about to be revealed to the whole world. A face from the past returns, and the five people who kept the secret are being targeted one by one, not to ensure that they maintain their silence, but for the most basic and common motive of all – revenge.
The first victim is found drowned in her own bathtub, the second suffering a far more gruesome fate, one not for the feint-hearted reader. As the link is drawn between the two victims and the site of the dig, the hunt is on to find a killer before they can claim any more lives.
Silent Scream touches upon a complex subject – children left to the ‘system’ when every one in their lives has left or abandoned them – and the actions of adults who were supposed to protect them but ultimately let them down, choosing self gratification, greed and self preservation instead.
Enter, stage left, Detective Inspector Kim Stone, a strong, no nonsense character that you are going to love. She is complex and comes complete with her own demons that she keeps in a dark secluded corner of her mind, seldom to be allowed out to play. You will get a fraction of what drives her character in this book, including her traumatic past, which is given to you piecemeal throughout. No glorification or graphic detail, just a bit by bit reveal, reflective of the way that Kim herself chooses to remember and manage the trauma in her own mind.
The reason I know that people will love Kim Stone is because she is not a hearts and flowers kind of gal. She is strong, focused, completely lacking in social skills and yet unwilling to be swayed from her mission of solving the case and moving on. She doesn’t invite humour, and the character does not have comedic moments to make you warm to her. In truth she is a very hard character to warm to. She won’t let you. She is disconnected from her emotions and avoids complicated relationships or opening up to people, including her only ‘friend’ DS Bryant. But she has a need to fight for the victims, a depth of understanding that can only come from someone who has ultimately suffered herself, and an underlying tenderness, displayed best when it comes to the character of Lucy, that is extremely well written. She might not be able to show it or say it, but you know that she cares, and she has a team that respects her all the more for it. To be honest, I do find it hard to criticise the character of Kim as I recognise a lot of her traits in myself, and as such, with the way she is portrayed on the page, I have to say she is a truly well developed and observed character indeed.
With a great cast of supporting characters, including DS Bryant, you are in for a real treat. Bryant understands Kim like no other, takes no nonsense from her, perseveres with their friendship even when you think others would walk away and is the only one she will allow to push her. You also have Dawson, a bit of a tart by all accounts, easily distracted but ultimately good at what he does when focused, and Stacey with the thick Black Country accent which I couldn’t help but smirk at. I know a ruck of people who talk exactly like that. All of the local references made me chuckle too. I’ll never look at the Hagley Road in the same way again.
Silent Scream is a brilliantly written, complex story, and a great start to a fantastic series of books. It is fast paced and gripping enough to keep you turning page after page, with several clues along the way as to who the murderer may be, enough red herrings to make you keep changing your mind and a twist at the end that you won’t entirely be expecting. Yes, your protagonist pulls no punches and has all the social grace of an angry rottweiler at times, but heck, she likes bikes. She can’t be all bad now can she?
A bostin’ opener and a strong 5 stars from me. Love these books.
Silent Scream is the first book in the Kim Stone series and can be purchased from the following links:
About the Author
Angela lives in the heart of the Black Country with her partner, bouncy Labrador and potty mouthed parrot.
It has taken many novels to find that one character who just refused to go away. And so D.I. Kim Stone was born.
You can find details of all of Angela Marsons’ books at her Amazon author page here. The other books in the Kim Stone series are Evil Games, Lost Girls, Play Dead and Bloodlines.
Keep an eye out for the Dead Souls blog tour at the end of the month. I may be a little bit excited about this one.