Today it is my great pleasure to be taking part in the #booksontour event for Angela Marsons’ latest Kim Stone thriller, Child’s Play. Thanks to Kim Nash of Bookouture for inviting me to join in and to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review. Before I share my thoughts on the book, here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
Finally we’re playing a game. A game that I have chosen. I give one last push of the roundabout and stand back. ‘You really should have played with me,’ I tell her again although I know she can no longer hear.
Late one summer evening, Detective Kim Stone arrives at Haden Hill Park to the scene of a horrific crime: a woman in her sixties tied to a swing with barbed wire and an X carved into the back of her neck.
The victim, Belinda Evans, was a retired college Professor of Child Psychology. As Kim and her team search her home, they find an overnight bag packed and begin to unravel a complex relationship between Belinda and her sister Veronica.
Then two more bodies are found bearing the same distinctive markings, and Kim knows she is on the hunt for a ritualistic serial killer. Linking the victims, Kim discovers they were involved in annual tournaments for gifted children and were on their way to the next event.
With DS Penn immersed in the murder case of a young man, Kim and her team are already stretched and up against one of the most ruthless killers they’ve ever encountered. The clues lie in investigating every child who attended the tournaments, dating back decades.
Faced with hundreds of potential leads and a bereaved sister who is refusing to talk, can Kim get inside the mind of a killer and stop another murder before it’s too late?
The addictive new crime thriller from multi-million copy, number one bestseller Angela Marsons explores the dark side of child prodigies and will have you absolutely hooked.Available from Amazon | Kobo | Googleplay | Apple Books
There is something about picking up a Kim Stone book that is like returning home to family. Not my family, obviously, as I probably see more of Kim Stone than I do of most of them, but a family nonetheless. You know what you are getting with each and every instalment – great story, great characters, cunning plotting and all round entertainment. Child’s Play is no different, another absolute belter.
I did chuckle on the day that the book was announced as it was the exact same day that Mark Hamill introduced the world to Chucky 2.0 from the Child’s Play movie franchise. Absolutely fitting in many respects as the story is far more Chucky than it is hopscotch … although if you read the book that might be an unfortunate comparison. Now I’m not saying this book is about a demon doll. the malevolent being in this story is something, or someone, far more mundane but just as deadly. From the very twisted and macabre opening, you are given a real taste of where this book is heading, and I can quite honestly say that it had me well and truly hooked. Damn that little thing call work for getting in the way again as I didn’t want to walk away from the book at all.
One of the key successes in this series is the author’s ability to create a variety of complex, sometimes flawed, but always colourful characters and she has excelled at this once again. From the first time we meet Veronica, you get a real sense that there is something very complicated about her relationship with her sister, Belinda, but as to whether any of this was the cause of Belinda’s murder remains to be seen. Certainly there is no love lost between them, or seemingly not, and in some ways I could identify with Veronica quite well, although I am the baby in my sibling quartet. I must admit there were quite a few surprises uncovered, and it just goes to show that you should never judge a book by it’s cover, or spinster by the state of her piles … Belinda was a hoarder of the most extreme kind.
Alongside Kim’s case, relative newby, DS Penn, has a challenging case of his own to resolve. Called back to his old force under Kim’s one time nemesis, DI Travis, he is about to give testimony in what should be the open and shut case of an armed robbery which resulted in the death of a young man. Sadly it appears nothing is to go to plan and doubt is soon cast over the guilt of their prime suspect. When a key witness disappears and another retracts their statement, Penn has to work long and hard to get to the truth and see the killer brought to justice. I’ve loved getting to know Penn over the past couple of books, details of his life and character being drip fed to readers. But with him taking centre stage in his own investigation, I think it really helped to strengthen the growing bond that you feel when seeing him as part of the team.
This is another stellar story, one which will draw in readers be they brand new to the series or long term fans like me. For anyone who ever spent the long summer holidays hanging around the play park with their friends, loitering on the swings or under the slide, it will take you back to those old memories while simultaneously making you rethink the whole situation and wonder, what if? I’m never going to view a children’s roundabout in quite the same way again, that’s for sure. Magic? Er … not this time. The murders are gruesome, if not graphic, but you get enough of a glimpse of the after effects to know exactly what’s going on.
With the usual mixture of shocks, thrills, fast pacing and a pitch perfect blend of character, gravity and humour, fans are absolutely going to love it. So was this really all Child’s Play? Not this time. Not by a long chalk. Ms Marsons is once again dealing out a whole world of pain on her (fictional) victims but you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.
About the Author
Angela Marsons is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of the DI Kim Stone series and her books have sold more than 3 million in 3 years.
She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their cheeky Golden Retriever and a swearing parrot.
She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read “Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people’s”.
After years of writing relationship based stories (The Forgotten Woman and Dear Mother) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.
She is signed to Bookouture.com for a total of 16 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into more than 27 languages.
Many of her books, including Blood Lines, Dead Souls, Broken Bones, Fatal Promise and Dead Memories reached the #1 spot on Amazon on pre-orders alone.
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