I am a busy blogger. I have lots that I need to achieve over the next couple of months, least of which is my actual ‘work’ workload. In order to accomplish all that I need to do, I have a very detailed and very comprehensive reading plan. There is very little which will see me deviate from this plan, however tempting a book may be. And yet when Bookouture announce that the new Angela Marsons book is now available on Netgalley… Well there really is only one thing a girl can do. That very night, all other plans and books were cast aside (sorry authors) and I dove straight in. But was it worth it? Did Broken Bones meet all my expectations and justify my betrayal of all those other fabulous books still in my list? Well, we can find that out in just a moment, as soon as we’ve taken a look at what the heck this seventh (yes seventh!!!) book in the most excellent Kim Stone series is all about.
The Official Book Blurb
They thought they were safe. They were wrong.
The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.
As more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.
At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.
The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.
A gripping new crime thriller from the Number One bestseller – you will be hooked until the final jaw-dropping twist.
Oh. My. Word. You have done it again Ms Marsons. Created an absolute cracker of a book which blends just the perfect amount of tension, humour, camaraderie and emotional turmoil to keep readers hooked from the very first page until the very last. There is just something so familiar, so intrinsically right, about opening up the pages (or in my case, the kindle cover) and stepping back into the world of DI Kim Stone that it is almost like a homecoming. Yes, there is the familiarity of setting. I am, while not a native Black Country gal, a Midlander born and bred, part of my education being in the wonderful town of Dudley, and I know the area so well that all the local references really do make me smile. And Kim and the team, over the course of the seven books, have grown and developed before my eyes until there is a literary kinship with each and every one of them. It really is fabulous being back in their world.
So what about the book itself, the story? Well Angela Marsons has not let her readers down. Not one bit. After the tense action in the last book, Dead Souls, which saw one of the teams lives placed in great jeopardy, it was a big ask to expect Ms Marsons to be able to create such a nail-biting read again, but by golly she proved more than up to the task. The books opens in a fairly unassuming way, just a young girl escaping her neglectful mother on a rather bitter Christmas Day. It could be any one of a number of under-privileged children. Nobody that we know. And yet in this short, but oh-so-effective prologue, the atmosphere, the tone of the story is made abundantly clear. The setting for the majority of Kim’s investigation, a run down estate in which organised crime and prostitution is rife. But it is the ending of that prologue, so quick, so unexpected, that will set you thinking and make you need to read on. You will have to know the what, the why and most certainly the who.
The central investigation is focused upon the murder of a prostitute, Kelly Rowe, who has been forced onto the street in order to pay off a debt which may never be cleared. Her story is one of the oldest in the book, the most recognisable, and yet it is not treated as a cliché, a stereotypical ending for a troubled young soul. Kelly is bright, a young mother who should have all the opportunity in the world had fate not worked against her. Many would write off her murder, class her as someone not important enough to care about, but not Kim Stone. To her, everyone matters and she resolves, as one would expect, to bring a killer to justice. The case is far from straight forward, the list of suspects long, none of them more likely and more menacing than the girl’s pimp, Kai Lord. But there is more to this than meets the eye, and from a tip off from an old friend and an anonymous source, Kim is set on a path which will see her and Lord clash repeatedly. The kind of clash where there can be only one victor.
Although the world of prostitution and murder makes a very stark backdrop for the story, it is not all moments of darkness. There is one rather amusing moment at the beginning where Kim makes an unexpected discovery in the station car park. It is decidedly out of her comfort zone, and more than a little bit of a stretch for Kim to manage this new ‘emergency’ and she calls upon Bryant for assistance. Her reaction, and that of her team, provide some chucklesome moments before leading Kev Dawson and Stacey into a rather harrowing, and equally disturbing case, one involving potential human trafficking and perhaps something far worse. Their pairing is brilliant, Dawson taking somewhat of a protective older brother approach towards Stacey. I really liked the dynamic that is created here and they do make a perfect team, both savvy in their own ways with Dawson proving once again that he is far more capable and dedicated than his past exploits may have indicated. Theirs is a very difficult case to solve, one which highlights some of the worst crimes in modern society – human exploitation, particularly of immigrants. Sad but shockingly authentic in its portrayal
Speaking of inspired pairings, Kim and Bryant are back, but this time it is Kim being a calming influence on Bryant nearly as often as he is on her. Don’t get me wrong, Kim is as forthright and impetuous as ever. The book wouldn’t work if she wasn’t, but the case really does get to Bryant, especially when it takes a sinister turn and the full extent of Lord’s operations become clear. There are subjects touched upon which are truly abhorrent, but the beauty of Angela Marsons writing is that the emotion is felt without the situation ever being made overly gratuitous or the horrific nature of the crimes being simply glossed over. The balance is perfect. So is the pacing. The chapters short and pacy, giving the reader just enough to make them turn just one more page… Then another… Then another… You get the picture.
I love the way in which the books capture the character of the Midlands, not least of all by the way in which we are treated to the local vernacular courtesy of the wonderfully Black-Country Stacey. There is a true sense of the region which comes through in the writing, the blend of the urban and the rural. And in this book in particular you get another look at the very human, very caring nature which exists within Kim. She may like to portray to the world a hard and focused exterior, but in reality you know that within lies a heart of gold.
And oh. Those final chapters! Really? You don’t do things by halves do you? From the frantic and tension filled, edge of the seat, adrenaline pumping action to a concluding moment of almost calm and purity which could make the hardest heart soften. This may not be quite as action packed as its predecessor but it still left me feeling a mixture of wow, and awww and where the heck is book eight? Bloody brilliant.
And yes. You may have guessed it, but the book is fluffing well getting one of these – my Red Hot Reads badges because I loved it.
Broken Bones launches today, 3rd November, and is available from the following retailers.
With thanks to Bookouture for providing an advance copy of Broken Bones for review, and to Kim Nash for asking me to be a part of Angie’s publication day launch. I think ??? 😉 If you would like to see me fluffing my way through this review on YouTube, you can watch my disastrous efforts right here or on the Bookouture Facebook page.
About the Author
Angela lives in the heart of the Black Country with her partner, bouncy puppy 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. The D.I. Kim Stone series has now sold over 2 million copies.