It is my absolute pleasure to wish a massive happy publication day to Angela Marsons and to take my place on day one of the blog tour for Hidden Scars, the 17th Kim Stone novel. And what a book it is too. My thanks to Kim Nash of Bookouture for the early copy and the tour invite. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
While Jamie’s cold, lifeless body lay in the morgue, Detective Kim Stone stared at the empty board in the incident room and felt her anger boil. Why were there no photos, details, or lines of enquiry?
When a nineteen-year-old boy, Jamie Mills, is found hanging from a tree in a local park, his death is ruled a suicide. Detective Kim Stone’s instincts tell her something isn’t right – but it’s not her investigation and her temporary replacement is too busy waiting for the next big case to be asking the right questions.
Why would a seemingly healthy boy choose to end his life?
Why does his mother show no sign of emotional distress at the loss of her son?
Still mending her broken mind and body from her last harrowing case, Kim is supposed to be easing back into work gently. But then she finds a crucial, overlooked detail: Jamie had a recent injury that would have made it impossible for him to climb the tree. He must have been murdered.
Quickly taking back charge of her team and the case, Kim visits Jamie’s parents and is shocked to hear that they had sent him to a clinic to ‘cure’ him of his sexuality. According to his mother, Jamie was introverted and prone to mood swings. Yet his friend speaks of a vibrant, outgoing boy.
The clues to smashing open this disturbing case lie behind the old Victorian walls of the clinic, run by the Gardner family. They claim that patients come of their own accord and are free to leave at any time. But why are those that attended the clinic so afraid to speak of what happens there? And where did the faded restraint marks identified on Jamie’s wrists come from?
Then the body of a young woman is found dead by suffocation and Kim makes two chilling discoveries. The victim spent time at the clinic too, and her death was also staged to look like a suicide.
Scarred from an ordeal that nearly took her life, is Kim strong enough to stop a terrifying killer from silencing the clinic’s previous patients one by one?
A compulsive page-turner that will have your heart hammering in your chest and leave you absolutely reeling when you discover the explosive final twist. If you’re a fan of Karin Slaughter, Val McDermid, and Robert Dugoni, you’ll love Hidden Scars.
Kim Stone is back and, oh my, what a book this is. So many layers and such a complex and emotive case that it’s no wonder it gets right under Kim’s skin. She’s exactly the kind of Detective to take this case personally, even when she hasn’t faced danger and her own mortality head on, but given what happened in the previous book, Six Graves, Kim is nursing new demons that add a layer of volatility to an already focused and determined mind.
Actually, I say an emotive case, there are actually two cases on the go, one that takes the focus of the majority of the team, the main premise of the novel, and one that has really hit a nerve with Stacey. The first is the death of a young man, framed to look like a suicide, that leads the team into a very murky world with prejudice and intolerance at its very heart. The second is the case of a missing husband who, to all intents and purposes, looks as though he has left of his own accord. But this is a Kim Stone story, and whether seemingly innocent or not, something has to be a miss for it to have caught Stacey’s attention. No longer ‘just’ the junior of the team, she’s really developing great instincts and it’s been wonderful seeing the author chart her journey and her growth as a character and as a police officer.
The two cases intersect each other seamlessly, to a point where you don’t really see one stop and the other begin. This is one of Angela Marsons’ real skills – she manages to engage the reader’s interest on both on each investigation that whilst one may take a back seat for most of the book, there is enough attention given that it always had me wondering ‘what if’? Could this be an elaborate double bluff by Ms Marsons? Were there things that linked the two cases that none of us could see yet. Given how the lead case evolves, you would easily think that anything was possible, so be prepared for misdirection and sleight of hand. Nothing is as it seems in this book.
Well … nearly nothing. One thing that does happen exactly as we expect is the camaraderie and the team spirit between our main characters. Do not get me wrong – Kim Stone is damaged in ways far beyond what the eye can see. The author has brilliantly captured that turmoil, the conflict within Kim that affects her in ways that occasionally upset the rhythm of the team. But what it doesn’t do is change her tenacity and whilst the team, Bryant especially, may have to work extra hard to keep in step with Kim, you know that eventually, physical and mental impairments aside, Kim is going to come good.
I love this team, their a great mixture of characters, and I like that we get to see some more of the personal side of their lives now too. The more we see of them outside of work, the easier it is to understand the way they act and work together inside of it. There’s real friendship there, even if Kim is not the first one to show it, and the way this is expressed in the book makes you feel a real part of the team – of the family – as you embark on each new thrilling instalment. And shock f all shocks there is one major revelation I definitely did not see coming. Completely unexpected and, to be fair, I’m not sure I had cottoned on that we didn’t know it before. But now we do. And what has been told, cannot be unsaid …
There is a real feeling of pace and tension throughout this novel, as well as themes that will make any rational persons blood boil. With a touch of gaslighting, a huge amount of catfishing and an unhealthy dose of obsession, prejudice and murder, it’s a sure fire, action filled investigation, that leads to the high stakes, jeopardy laden conclusion of the case, just the way we like it. There is the usual banter, although it is often muted, understandably, as Kim’s fuse seems even shorter than normal – also understandably.
But it is in the tender moments in this book that I think the real power lies. In the people who make their presence felt in Kim’s life, sometimes in poignant ways, other times in humorous ones. The closing chapter has an emotional resonance you will find hard to ignore and in which we, for once, see part of Kim’s vulnerability laid bare to those she holds dearest. What an ending.
Not as shockingly intense as its predecessor, but in its own subtle but effective way this is another most definitely recommended book.
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 5 million in 7 years.
She lives in Worcestershire with her partner and their 2 cheeky Golden Retrievers.
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 28 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 and the translation of Dead Souls, La Verita Sepolte, recently won the prestigious Primo Bancarella award.
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3 thoughts on “Hidden Scars by Angela Marsons”
Great review Jen. I started this today. Riveting. I think I will be reading all night. ❤📚
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Thank you. It’s definitely one of those reads. I liked seeing how Kim copes after what happened before. Great seeing a slightly different side of her.
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