Today its stop four on my countdown to Dead Souls, the latest Kim Stone novel by Angela Marsons. Stop four can only mean one thing – I get to look back at Play Dead, the book review which became my first ever blog post. Before we take a trip down memory lane, here’s what the book is all about.
The Official Book Blurb
The dead don’t tell secrets… unless you listen.
The girl’s smashed-in face stared unseeing up to the blue sky, soil spilling out of her mouth. A hundred flies hovered above the bloodied mess.
Westerley research facility is not for the faint-hearted. A ‘body farm’ investigating human decomposition, its inhabitants are corpses in various states of decay. But when Detective Kim Stone and her team discover the fresh body of a young woman, it seems a killer has discovered the perfect cover to bury their crime.
Then a second girl is attacked and left for dead, her body drugged and mouth filled with soil. It’s clear to Stone and the team that a serial killer is at work – but just how many bodies will they uncover? And who is next?
As local reporter, Tracy Frost, disappears, the stakes are raised. The past seems to hold the key to the killer’s secrets – but can Kim uncover the truth before a twisted, damaged mind claims another victim …?
Play Dead. The book that reunites Kim with her dishy doc from Dundee and makes a target of one of her greatest headaches. I loved this book and here is just how much…
Yes, yes, yes. Ladies and gents, Kim Stone, Angela Marsons’ brilliant fictional Detective, is back and I am a very happy bunny. Intrigued by the local setting of these stories (Midlands born and Dudley educated for my sins) I raced through the first three books in the series and have had a Kim shaped void in my reading list for too long. (Ok, it’s only actually been a couple of months but I am a very needy reader.) I have been thinking long and hard about what I want to write in this review. It should be the easiest thing in the world to write as the quality of the writing speaks for itself. It is in a word, brilliant. And there is the problem because after reading it, I can’t help feeling that nothing I put down will do it justice.
I love the Kim Stone series. Kim is a great character, strong and single minded and while not completely oblivious to the manner in which her brusque nature may be viewed by others, not entirely caring of it either. And yet the camaraderie with her team is strong, their respect for her clear in the way the way the whole team dynamic is explored. From reliable sidekick Bryant, to impulsive and yet competent Dawson and the tech savvy Stacey, all of them work and add a real value to the story. I really do love the way in which the friendship between Kim and Bryant is written – it always makes me chuckle. But the real star of the show is Kim. We learn more of her past in this story as well as that of Tracy Frost and realise that as with all good ‘frenemies’ they have more in common than they think.
This is a real page turner. I know this phrase gets thrown around a lot but for me it really was the truth. I had to force myself to go to bed last night rather than finish the book (a tough choice, believe me, but one made with the welfare of my fellow road users in mind as I had a 350- mile commute to look forward to.) It is a thriller in every sense of the word, the story draws you in and won’t let you go. I was willing Kim and the team onward, devouring it, engrossed in the action on every page all the way to the dramatic showdown with the killer. It left me with a mix of emotions, like all good books should. Much like Kim I had some empathy for the killers and what had driven them to their actions but not acceptance for their chosen method of retribution.
The writing is slick and fast paced. I love, love, love all the local references (even if they make me feel reaaaalllly old). The dialogue between the characters is sharp and the impact of the different character flaws and the events which have informed them upon the individuals extremely well observed. I had to look over my shoulder a few times just to make sure I wasn’t being watched as I recognised far too much of myself in both Kim and Tracy Frost. Worrying perhaps but that is a sign of good writing as it means they are the most important thing of all – believable characters.
And the best bit – Daniel Bate is back. Yes, him. The dishy Doc from Dundee we met in Silent Scream, the one with the clear chemistry with Kim. It still remains to be seen if anything would ever come from this encounter – Kim remains extremely aloof as you would expect – but you know fans of the series will hope it does one day.
So, as I might have said – loved this and a mahoosive thanks to Angela Marsons for creating one of my fave characters and book series of recent times, and feeding my compulsive reading habit.
It is a happy and sad day for me today. Happy to have been able to read this early and a big thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the opportunity. Sad because it is all over and I have to wait again for the next one . I really must try and practice delayed gratification. I’ve heard self-denial is good for building character but I’m not convinced.
5 Stars – as if it needed to be said!
Play Dead is the fourth book in the Kim Stone series and is available to purchase from the following retailers:
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 Silent Scream, Evil Games, Lost Girls 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.