The Sleepover by Carol Wyer

It’s always a great day when one of your favourite authors announces a new book. An even better one when you finally get to read it. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Natalie Ward series by Carol Wyer and the latest offering, The Sleepover, is another absolute belter. A massive thank you to publishers Bookouture for letting me have early access to satisfy my reading needs, here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Netgalley

About the Book

Roxy had a secret. Now she’s gone. 

When fourteen-year-old Roxy says she’s going for a sleepover at her best friend Ellie’s house, Cathy sees no reason to check her daughter’s story. The two families are neighbours, and the girls are in and out of each other’s homes every day. 

It is a decision she will regret. A day later, Roxy is found murdered in exclusive Linnet Lane, miles across town, in a house owned by two brothers with no apparent connection to Roxy. Detective Natalie Ward, called to lead the investigation, is determined to get to the bottom of why Roxy was in the basement of this grand Victorian mansion when she should have been eating chocolate in her pyjamas with her best friend.

As Natalie begins to look closely at Roxy’s stepfather and three brothers, she discovers that Roxy had recently been admitted to hospital with suspicious injuries. Her mother Cathy seems very jumpy and Ellie refuses to talk. Who are the people that knew Roxy best in the world protecting? 

Then Roxy’s mother Cathy disappears. 

When Cathy’s body is discovered close to where her daughter was found, Natalie is forced to face the grim fact that the killer is just getting started. She is troubled by the reaction of Roxy’s brother Seth to the tragedies and when his alibi falls through she brings him in for questioning, certain she is making headway.

But while Seth is in custody, one of Roxy’s school friends is found murdered and Natalie knows she must cast her net wider. Things take a more sinister turn when Ellie vanishes, her mobile phone switched off. What is Ellie hiding about the night Roxy died that could put her in terrible danger? And can Natalie work it out before another innocent life is taken?

Gripping, fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense, this book will keep you flying through the pages long into the night. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter.

Available from Amazon

My Thoughts

It’s hard to believe that this is book four in the series. Even harder when I consider that the weekend I spent reading the book was actually exactly a year to the day(s) that I read book one, The Birthday. 13-14th July 2018 and 13-14th July 2019. Four books, twelve months. And these weren’t the only books that Ms Wyer released in the year, making this an even more impressive feat. But did such a gruelling writing schedule affect quality? Did it ‘eck as like. This series keeps going from strength to strength and even at the end I am left wondering just how it can be topped. Rest assured that the author claims the best is still to come so we are surely in for a mammoth treat.

The Sleepover sees our series hero, DI Natalie Ward, caught up in a very perplexing case involving the death of a young girl, Roxy, in a house fire which was most likely arson. So far, so tragic but not necessarily perplexing. It’s a very simple case of accelerant + heat = raging fire. However, house + dead girl who should never have been there in the first place = something very, very wrong and the start of a massive headache for Natalie and her team. With no clear ties between the girl and the home owners, and everybody they turn to for help seemingly reluctant to tell the truth, it will push Natalie to the end of her patience as she tries to get to the truth.

One of the things I love about the series is the characters who form the central team. They are all very believable and likeable characters, even Natalie who, I’ll admit, took a little getting used to at first. She’s a very tough character with a complicated home life, but ultimately someone who anyone could relate to. Her main priority is in finding justice and in supporting her family, even if her marriage is on very shaky ground. Then you have Lucy, about to become a parent for the first time who suffers all the doubts and fears that any expectant parent would. She’s a character I have really grown to like; confident and caring, and a real asset to the team. She makes a vital bond with one of the witnesses in the case, one which could blow the whole thing wide open.

Surrounding the team on this occasion is a wide cast of characters, none of whom have any obvious relationship with each other. They are all from different backgrounds, different worlds and social classes. Even the divisions within the less privileged areas of town are somehow heightened in this book, adding to the edginess and the sense that pretty well anyone could be responsible for what comes to pass.

The complexities of this case really kept me gripped to the story. Nothing is quite as it seems and things which I felt were certain, soon became nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Just when you think you have it all worked out, Carol Wyer lobs in yet another curveball, another vital piece of evidence that will derail your thinking and make you question what you have seen so far. It was almost impossible to know who to trust, a feeling that is practically mirrored by Natalie’s home life where trust is as big an issue for her as it is with her suspects.

The Sleepover is another absolutely cracking tale, fuelled by secrets, tragedy and misdirection, and featuring a bloody strong and determined detective team that I love to read about. I cannot wait to see what comes next.

About the Author

Carol Wyer is an award-winning author and stand up comedian who writes feel-good comedies and gripping thrillers.
Her book, GRUMPY OLD MENOPAUSE won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction 2015.

Carol moved to the ‘dark side’ in 2017 with as series of thrillers. LITTLE GIRL LOST became the #2 best-selling book on Amazon, #9 best-selling audiobook on Audible and a Top 150 USA Today best-seller.

The DI Robyn Carter and DI Natalie Ward series have sold over half a million copies, earning her acclaim as a crime writer.

2019 sees the release of two romantic comedies and three DI Natalie Ward novels, including the much anticipated THE DARE and THE SLEEPOVER.
Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ”Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’ and on BBC Breakfast television. She has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’ featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and the Huffington Post.

To learn more about Carol, go to www.carolwyer.co.uk or follow Carol on Twitter: @carolewyer
Carol also blogs at www.carolwyer.com

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