I can count on one hand the number of mystery novels I’ve read that featured a female detective as the lead character, and while I could very easily go on a rant about why I’m not a fan, I’ll leave it at not understanding why they think emotions are weak, and subsequently consider anything remotely feminine ‘girly’ or nauseating.
So needless to say, it’s been a while since I read a female-led mystery novel.
With that disclaimer in mind, I hadn’t read anything by Angela Marsons, though I’d seen lots of positive reviews for book 9 when it was released, and with the recent publication of the 12th book in the series, I decided now was as good a time as any to see what all the fuss was about.
Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …
Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.
But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.
As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?
// What I Liked //
Kim was unapproachable and pretty aloof for most of the story, but she had the occasional human moment which brought a touch of emotion to the case she was investigating > Her attitude towards her colleagues and suspects was rude and I felt a little too extreme sometimes, but when she allowed herself to reflect on her own childhood and how it related to the series of murders she was investigating, I could understand why she was so impatient to find the answer.
With that in mind, I’m hoping in Book 2 she’s taken the chip off her shoulder at least a little bit, and stops snapping at everyone when they tell her post-mortems and lab tests take time.
The team > Kim is the officer in charge of a team of three detectives, and I liked the dynamic they each had with her and within their group.
Dawson and Stacey’s bickering kept the team briefings from being overly grim as they reviewed their progress on the case, and I liked the moments Bryant had with Kim when she was a little less bitter than usual.
Kim never pretended to be anything other than who she is > While sometimes her snapping and scowling made it difficult to feel anything positive towards her, it was surprisingly refreshing to have that complete and total honesty.
If she hated someone or didn’t agree with them, she didn’t mince her words or keep her face devoid of expressions to keep the person on side, and she’d happily admit to not caring remotely for the politics of her rank or what people thought about her digging up their pasts.
//I Could Have Done Without…//
The hints only Kim understands > I get she’s a super-genius and a good few steps ahead of everybody else, but there were a couple of instances when she’d work something out and didn’t explicitly spell it out, so we were left to wonder what had been so significant that inspired her brainwave.
The prologue > It’s technically the first chapter of the book, but set a few years before the main story’s events, and introduces us to a secret that some of the character Kim meets are in on.
But when Kim works it out near the end of the book, the main plot has overshadowed that beginning chapter, so it doesn’t really have a massive significance, and felt more of a subplot than anything else.
That being said, I did like the final twist, even though it wasn’t made clear how Kim had solved it.
In spite of my initial reservations, I’m leaning more towards liking Kim Stone than not- which is completely unexpected, but there you go.
I’ve even ordered myself a copy of the second book in the series, and while I’m trying to keep my expectations to a minimum, I’m actually quite looking forward to finding out where Angela Marsons takes her characters next.
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