Blog Feed

Posted in Bookmail, Weekly Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap Up #5

I’ve been a little absent from this blog over the past couple of weeks, aside from a few pre-scheduled posts. My reading has also taken a bit of a hit, due to a lack of concentration which is a result of burn-out, so I’ve decided to take a break until I’m ready to carry on with my tbr list.

I still have some reviews planned to upload, but those are going to spaced out until I’m back, and hopefully that won’t be too long an absence.

Anyway, below are my June reads, my picks for July, and some bookmail. As usual, the book covers contain a link to Goodreads.

June Reads:

Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1)
Dead Simple
The Chain
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0)
My Dark Vanessa
The Way of All Flesh (Raven, Fisher, and Simpson, #1)
Maestra (Maestra #1)

Audio Books Finished:

This was the very first audio book I’d ever listened to, and it was an abridged adaption. Surprisingly, after the initial hesitation over how to spend my time while listening to it, I found myself enjoying it.

It was narrated by Philip Glenister (Life On Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Mad Dogs) and I didn’t find the different voices he did for each character who spoke cringey, which I’ve found in the past with some audio books and the reason why I was so reluctant to try another.

Nineteen Eighty-Four

What I’m Currently Reading:

I was impatient to return to the Tudor court with Bring Up The Bodies, and I’m already about a quarter of the way through. Its page count is slightly less daunting than Wolf Hall, but I don’t think that would have stopped me, anyway.

I started reading Domina, the sequel to Maestra, for something a bit less serious in tone, though if it’s anything like its predecessor it will be just as shocking and twisted.

Bring Up the Bodies
Domina (Maestra #2)

Book Mail:

Antigone
The Odyssey
Sense and Sensibility
The To All the Boys I've Loved Before Collection

What I’m Watching:

Series 11 and 12 of the BBC’s police drama New Tricks were back on TV in June, so I finally got round to watching it. It follows a team of detectives brought out of retirement to work on unsolved cases, and ran from 2003 to 2015 with Amanda Redman, Dennis Waterman, James Bolam and Alun Armstrong starring from the beginning.

Also started was Hidden, a TV mini-series from 2011, whose cast includes Philip Glenister, Anna Chancellor, Thekla Reuten and David Suchet.

New Tricks (2003)
Philip Glenister, Thekla Reuten, and David Suchet in Hidden (2011)
Posted in Reads Rated

Reads Rated: Dead Simple- a collection of short stories

I’m putting this under my usual book review heading, but there are 8 short stories and to review them like I normally do would be to spoil them, so I’m going to rank them from most to least enjoyed.

The collection features authors: Mark Billingham, Clare Mackintosh, James Oswald, Jane Casey, Angela Marsons, Harry Bingham, Antonia Hodgson and CL Taylor.


Dead Simple

Synopsis

A woman reports a crime to the police, with unexpected results.

The grieving widow who finds that she’s about to lose more than just her husband.

When a man attempts the perfect murder, it’s not quite as easy as he thinks.

Two men in prison play a deadly game of Scrabble.

A young woman tries to trick an old man and gets more than she bargained for.

A murderer about to be hanged finds that’s not the worst thing that can happen.


Thoughts

1- The Funeral by Clare Mackintosh

Hands down my favourite of the 8 short stories. I hadn’t read anything by Clare Mackintosh before so I had no idea what to expect. The premise itself seemed predictable in the beginning, and I thought I had the ending all sussed out.

I didn’t.

2- Dead Men Tell No Tales by James Oswald

Featuring a few of the characters from the Inspector McLean series, in this short story James Oswald does what he does best- start the story with a crime, and end it leaving you feeling like someone’s walked over your grave.

3- Hardscrabble by Mark Billingham

Kevin Connolly is in prison. Part of his daily routine is a game of scrabble.

There’s a plot twist or two.

4- Old Tricks by Jane Casey

I don’t know if you could call Nina a con artist. Maybe just a cheat, and leave it there.

Either way, she gets more than she bargained for when she goes knocking on the door of one of her elderly neighbours, and the reader gets a chill.

5- The Night Before The Hanging by Antonia Hodgson

I liked the plot of this one (a man in jail who protested his innocence all the way through the trial then just as vehemently accepts his crime) and you’re wondering with every sentence if he is innocent or just trying to get out of his capital punishment.

6- The Perfect Murder by Harry Bingham

This was an interesting read, and while I can’t say why without spoiling it, I will say that it’s reminiscent of Gone Girl, in that it gets gradually darker the more you read.

7- Tell No Lies by Angela Marsons

I think this would have worked better if it had been a little bit longer, but its twist packed a mean punch nonetheless.

8- Bird In A Cage by C.L. Taylor

I’m pretty indifferent to this one, which is why it’s at the end of the list.

Ursula, the narrator, had just got out of prison, and she’s still bitter about why she was there, and against the person she holds responsible for what happened.

She gets a chance to confront that person, but I couldn’t connect with either character.


Goodreads

Amazon/ Book Depository/ Waterstones

Posted in Reads Rated

Reads Rated: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

This book was long. 650 pages long, to be exact.

Reading it was a bit like doing that bleep test in school (anyone went to school in the UK and remembers this torture they insisted was ‘exercise’?) in that it felt never ending and I almost had a breakdown a couple of times.

But I got to the end eventually, and now feel sane enough to revisit the story for my review.


Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1)

Synopsis

England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey’s clerk, and later his successor.

Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.


// What I Liked//

Thomas Cromwell > Though a real courtier of Henry the Eighth whose real personality we can only guess at, Mantel’s portrayal of Cromwell was an interesting one. He was sharp, and had an frighteningly keen ability of being able to manipulate events and people to his advantage, whether to better his position in society or to have people owe him favours.

He was never tyrannical with the status or power he earned for himself, and everything that he did was for his family, to ensure they had good standing, and got a better start in life than he did.

The history > You don’t need to know anything about the Tudor reign in England to read Wolf Hall, which is definitely something that works in its favour.

The story isn’t told as a history lesson, and the major characters and their roles are laid out on the first page for you to keep up with who’s who.

With that in mind, if you do know a little about this particular period in history, there are loads of references that add to the world that Mantel is portraying. One I picked up on was Henry Tudor’s jousting accident, which some historians believe explains his change in personality and why he became angrier and more violent.

The writing > Something that I usually struggle with in historical fiction is the flowery language, but Mantel balanced that well. There was no jarring modern day slang which took you out of the world, but it wasn’t all ‘thou’ and ‘thee’, either, which would have been equally difficult to get through.

The characters talked, and although there was the occasional word or phrase no longer in common use, the conversations were easy to understand.

//I Could Have Done Without…//

The lack of clarity on POV > If you don’t read the synopsis, it isn’t immediately clear when you start the book whose perspective it’s from.

And even if you do know it’s about Thomas Cromwell, that’s never explicitly stated at any point. Instead, the word ‘he’ gets used a lot, as in ‘he said’ and ‘he thought’, and if the person Cromwell is talking to is also a man, it gets confusing very quickly.

It got to a point for me where I stopped trying to keep up with who was saying what, and just read the conversations as a script.

Rating

4/5

I still have to give Wolf Hall a 4, because I enjoyed it in spite of the POV dilemma, and the sheer size of the thing.

It was a good book, and an interesting take on the court of Henry the Eighth at such an important time in British royal history.


Goodreads

Amazon/ Book Depository/ Waterstones

Posted in Reads Rated

Reads Rated: Evil Games by Angela Marsons (D.I. Kim Stone Series)

I mentioned in my review of the first Kim Stone book (which you can find here) that my expectations were low when I started reading it, not because I had anything against Angela Marsons or Kim Stone, but because I’ve read so few female-led detective novels and hadn’t been inspired to try any more.

But I liked Kim’s sarcasm in Silent Scream, so decided to stick with her and read her second case, Evil Games.


Evil Games (D.I. Kim Stone, #2)

Synopsis

When a rapist is found mutilated in a brutal attack, Detective Kim Stone and her team are called in to bring a swift resolution. But, as more vengeful killings come to light, it soon becomes clear that there is someone far more sinister at work.

With the investigation quickly gathering momentum, Kim finds herself exposed to great danger and in the sights of a lethal individual undertaking their own twisted experiment.

Up against a sociopath who seems to know her every weakness, for Detective Stone, each move she makes could be deadly. As the body count starts to mount, Kim will have to dig deeper than ever before to stop the killing. And this time – it’s personal.


// What I Liked//

It can be read as a standalone, and doesn’t spend loads of time reminding readers what happened in Book 1 > In fact, there’s very little mention of the events of the previous book at all.

This worked for me because sometimes if you take a break between instalments, you forget what happened and it’s confusing trying to remember who’s who and what they did, but there’s no fear of that in Kim Stone’s second outing.

Kim was still aloof, but far less haughty than she was in Book 1 > It may have been due to the presence of the sociopath mentioned in the synopsis above and the subsequent mind game they started playing with each other , but Kim felt a lot more human this time around, and was easier to read as a result.

Amazingly, she was even a little nicer to her team.

Stacy, Dawson and Bryant saw a little more action > Stacy even got the opportunity to venture out of the office, and I loved her banter with Dawson, whose character was also explored a little further.

Bryant, on the other hand, got a little less page time (is that a thing like screen time? If it isn’t, I’m going to use it anyway) but his relationship with Kim was developed a little further near the end of the story.

// I Could Have Done Without…//

The story was less case-focused than Book 1 > Both of the cases that Kim and her team are working on are solved by the halfway point, but she still keeps her team spinning their wheels with re-interviewing people they’ve already spoken to multiple times, while she goes off to play mind games with the previously mentioned sociopath, or chase up hunches she keeps getting without no obvious trigger.

The leads she digs up on her own were still interesting, and I liked her tenacity when she realised that something wasn’t quite right with either case, but it felt more of a vendetta than an investigation, and that was never properly addressed at any point.

Rating

3.5/5

Although I wasn’t so keen on the lack of the police procedural format, given that the beginning of the book doesn’t let on there’s going to be a lack of it, there was a redeeming feature for this book, which was Kim’s character development.

She finally let herself review her mental health and what that meant for her quality of life and her work, which was a big moment for her given how against introversion she’s been since Book 1.


Goodreads

Amazon/ Book Depository/ Waterstones

Posted in Reads Rated

Reads Rated: The Hangman’s Song by James Oswald (Inspector McLean Series)

This is the third review I’ve done on the Inspector McLean series this month, so I think it goes without saying I’m enjoying it.


The Hangman's Song (Inspector McLean, #3)

Synopsis

A young man is found hanging by a rope in his Edinburgh home. A simple, sad suicide, yet Detective Inspector Tony McLean is puzzled by the curious suicide note. A second hanged man and another strange note hint at a sinister pattern.

Investigating a brutal prostitution and human trafficking ring, McLean struggles to find time to link the two suicides. But the discovery of a third convinces him of malicious intent.

Digging deeper, McLean finds answers much closer to home than he expects. Something terrifying stalks the city streets, and bringing it to justice may destroy all he holds dear.


//What I Liked//

There’s no sequel syndrome > Oswald did it well with his second McLean novel, but he continues it with Book 3.

The characters are introduced as and when McLean comes across them, and their involvement in the events from the previous two books are only discussed when McLean is thinking about it, or something makes him think about it, instead of just bombarding continuing readers with a ‘previously on’ or overloading new readers into putting the book down.

The amalgamation of the Scottish police service in 2013 is a plot point in the story, and we got to look at how that affected the detectives’ abilities at working their cases > As in real life, the fictional CID team Tony McLean works for is evolving with the unification of the Scottish police service, and we get a look at what that means for him and his coworkers.

I haven’t come across this in fiction before, and it was interesting to have it feature in an established series, and watch the characters react and change with real world scenarios.

DI McLean > In the previous two books Tony McLean was an interesting character, but in his third outing, we got a good look at what kind of person he is, and what that means for his job.

By now, everyone in the station he works with is well aware that he’s loaded (because his grandmother left him her estate when she died), and doesn’t really need to be there. And considering that McLean does a good job of getting under others’ skin, it’s understandable why they’re so bitter about his financial status.

But he takes the time to think through that himself, why he keeps coming back and putting up with the hassle of his colleagues and the grisly, depressing cases he faces almost every day, and it was interesting getting that sort of insight into his reasons and why his job matters to him.

The explanation > The Inspector McLean series features the supernatural in a supporting role, and Oswald once again balanced the line perfectly between plausible and unbelievable.

McLean himself, though up until now unwilling to accept that there are things that happen which aren’t caused by human beings, is starting to consider the possibility that there is more to life than what he can see with his own eyes, and there was a great moment at the end of the book when he’s solved his case and he realises that he can’t deny how that resolution came about.

//I Could Have Done Without…//

The paperwork> I understand that with the transition from divisional police service to the new Police Scotland meant changes and paperwork and uncertainty, but McLean spent a lot of time doing paperwork, or thinking about doing paperwork, or in his office looking at all his paperwork.

He still investigated his cases and got involved if his team asked him to, but I felt like he didn’t really get to have much of a life outside of his work, though he’d managed to balance his work and personal life in Book 2.

Rating

4/5

I don’t know what it is about the supernatural/mystery crossover that works, but Oswald is onto a winner.

Three books in, and Detective Inspector Tony McLean is still going strong.


Goodreads

Amazon/ Book Depository/ Waterstones

Posted in Reads Rated

Reads Rated: The Book Of Souls by James Oswald (Inspector McLean Series)

Oh look. It’s another book review.


The Book of Souls (Inspector McLean, #2)

Synopsis

Each year for ten years, a young woman’s body was found in Edinburgh at Christmastime: naked, throat slit, body washed clean. The final victim, Kirsty Summers, was Detective Constable Tony McLean’s fiancée. But the Christmas Killer made a mistake, and McLean put an end to the brutal killing spree.

It’s now twelve years later. A fellow prisoner has just murdered the incarcerated Christmas Killer. But with the arrival of the festive season comes a body. A young woman: naked, washed, her throat cut.

Is this a copycat killer? Was the wrong man behind bars all this time? Or is there a more frightening explanation?

McLean must revisit the most disturbing case of his life and discover what he missed before the killer strikes again 


// What I Liked//

The main characters are introduced almost straight away > In fact, most of them appear within the first two pages of the book’s opening chapter, and we get enough of an insight into their group dynamic and history that there’s no sense of being an outsider and needing to catch up with the previous book to understand who’s who.

Like Book 1, the story starts without any hanging around > Though the initial crime scene we find McLean at isn’t the one he’ll spend most of the book investigating, it’s still relevant to the overall story, and lets us know what’s been going on in Edinburgh’s CID team since their last appearance, so no time is wasted on stuff we don’t need to know about.

There’s plenty of stuff going on to keep you hooked > As in Book 1, McLean doesn’t just have one case to investigate. This time, he has a series of building fires, a drugs ring, and a series of murders to crack, each with plenty of suspects and clues and red herrings to keep you guessing.

The obvious answer isn’t always the right one > I love when a twist catches you completely off guard, especially when everything else is pointing in the other direction and you think you have the ending sussed out.

I thought I had the ending figured out by the midway point, but got proven wrong pretty quickly, and the resolution was satisfying.

No more bacon butties > I mentioned in my review of Natural Causes that McLean and his team ate a LOT of bacon butties, but my prayers were answered and in his second adventure, Inspector McLean’s diet was a bit more varied.

Bacon still made an appearance, and of course, there was coffee, but I wasn’t turning every page with dread in anticipation of what he was going to treat himself to for his breakfast or lunch.

// I Could Have Done Without…///

There was a lot of paperwork > McLean is an inspector, and supposed to be in charge of a team, so understandably he has paperwork to do. But he spent so much time in his office or taking the stuff home with him at the end of the day, it was a relief when he would eventually cave and go and do some investigating instead.

The shrink > He’d originally worked with the team investigating the previous set of murders, and had even testified at the trial of the man arrested, but the therapist/psychologist didn’t really serve much of a purpose beyond asking McLean how he felt, and insisting he could create a profile on the killer and they’d have them arrested very soon.

Except that profile didn’t make an appearance (at least not that McLean was made aware of), and he sorted of faded from existence in the final quarter of the book.

Rating

3.5/5

If McLean hadn’t been made to attend mandatory therapy sessions to discuss the possibility that the man he’d arrested for the murder of his girlfriend was innocent, and spent those sessions being asked ‘and how does that make you feel?’ I would have given Book Of Souls a 4/5.

But as it is, there were more tropes than in the previous book, and so it lost a lot of its uniqueness which I had enjoyed so much.

That being said, it was still an interesting story, and Oswald’s writing was solid, so I’m looking forward to starting Book 3.


Goodreads

Amazon / Book Depository/ Waterstones

Posted in Bookmail, Weekly Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap Up #4

Well, that’s another month gone.

I’m trying not to dwell on how slowly the days are dragging by, and keeping myself busy with working through my tbr list.

My May reads are below, including current reads, and some new additions to my shelves.

As usual, the book covers in this post will take you to Goodreads if you want to add them to your own tbr lists.

May Reads:

Natural Causes (Inspector McLean, #1)
The Cheerleaders
Everything Under
Silent Scream (D.I. Kim Stone, #1)
The Book of Souls (Inspector McLean, #2)
The Hangman's Song (Inspector McLean, #3)
The Titanic Secret (Isaac Bell, #11)
Evil Games (D.I. Kim Stone, #2)

What I’m Currently Reading:

I’m loving Wolf Hall a lot more than I expected to. Admittedly in the beginning I was a bit confused with the use of ‘he’ instead of Thomas Cromwell’s name (so it was confusing at times over who was speaking), but I was interested in the story and kept going until I could get past that.

Now I’m about 200 pages from the end, and I don’t regret sticking with it.

Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1)

My copy of the prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy arrived at the beginning of the week, and I ignored it for a day before caving and picking it up.

It’s been interesting reading The Ballad alongisde Wolf Hall, because there are quite a few similarities in terms of the power plays and politics made by Thomas Cromwell and Coriolanus Snow.

They both want to better themselves, and are incredibly cunning in how they go about that.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0)

Next Up:

I’m going to continue with the Inspector McLean series, and hopefully get started on My Dark Vanessa or The Chain.

Dead Men's Bones (Inspector McLean, #4)
My Dark Vanessa
The Chain

Book Mail:

I’m finally onto the third book in the Kim Stone series. Given how Book 2 ended, I’m interested to find out how Kim is coping with everything that happened.

Lost Girls (D.I. Kim Stone, #3)

I watched my first ever author interview on Thursday the 28th, which was hosted by Waterstones. The authors being interviewed were John Grisham and Michael Connelly and attendees of the talk were given a discount code for their new books, Camino Winds and Fair Warning.

Camino Winds
Fair Warning (Jack McEvoy, #3; Harry Bosch Universe, #33)
Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday #6

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, and to take part, all you need to do is answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

IMG_1384-0

What are you currently reading?

Progress with Wolf Hall is slow going, but the story is interesting and I like the insight into life at the court of Henry the Eighth.

Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1)

What did you recently finish reading?

I hadn’t read any Clive Cussler before this, and though the title doesn’t really have much relevance to the story, it was a good private detective story.

There was loads of action and Bell had a similar kind of dramatic flair about him as Sherlock Holmes and Poirot did with their deductions and revealing the killer, and that made his uncovering of clues and suspects interesting, because he’d go about getting them to trip themselves up in a way which managed to catch his audience (both readers and fellow characters) off guard, but without the solution being completely left-field.

Definitely a 4/5, and worth a read if you haven’t already.

The Titanic Secret (Isaac Bell, #11)

I also finished the second Kim Stone novel. I’ll be posting my review soon, but I will say that I’m still sticking with the series and loving Kim’s sarcasm.

Evil Games (D.I. Kim Stone, #2)

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’d wanted to continue on with the Inspector McLean series, but the new Hunger Games novel was just released, so I’m abandoning my tbr until I’ve finished it.

After that, though, I have a few possibilities of what to read next.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0)
My Dark Vanessa
The Chain

Posted in Reads Rated

Reads Rated: Natural Causes by James Oswald (Inspector McLean Series)

I’m currently reading the third book in the Inspector McLean Series, which is still surprising me because the first time I tried to start it, I couldn’t really get on board with the supernatural vibes Oswald works through what is on its own a standard police procedural.

But it’s been a good few years since that I abandoned Book 2, and I’ve found myself slowly moving out of my comfort genres and I decided that since I’ve got nothing but time on my hands right now, I might as well give the series another go.

As with all my previous reviews, I try to avoid spoilers, but if you haven’t read this book yet, proceed with caution.


Natural Causes (Inspector McLean, #1)

Synopsis

When Edinburgh police find the killer of a prominent city elder less than twenty-four hours after the crime, they are justifiably pleased. So the murderer has killed himself; that just saves the time and cost of a trial. But a second murder days later bears haunting similarities to the first, even though once more the murderer swiftly confesses and kills himself.

Detective Inspector Anthony McLean is investigating the discovery of a dead girl, walled up in the basement of an old Edinburgh mansion. She has been brutally murdered, her internal organs removed and placed around her in six preserving jars. The evidence suggests this all happened over sixty years ago, an attempt to re-enact an ancient ceremony that by trapping a demon in the dead girl’s body would supposedly confer immortality on the six men who took one of her organs each.

McLean’s grandmother – the woman who raised him after his parents were killed when he was a young boy – dies after months in a coma following a stroke. On top of this he has to investigate a series of unusual, violent suicides and a cat-burglar who targets the homes of the recently dead. But as another prominent Edinburgh businessman is killed, he begins to suspect that there may be a connection between the murders, the suicides and the ritual killing of the girl found in the basement. The same names keep cropping up. He just can’t find a rational explanation as to how that connection works.

As he digs deeper, and as the coincidences stack up, McLean is forced to consider an irrational explanation. Could there really be something evil stalking the city he has sworn to protect? And if so, how on earth can he hope to stop it?


// What I Liked//

McLean doesn’t have only one case to solve > It seems to be becoming more prevalent in crime and mystery novels for detectives to have several investigations on the go at once, but it’s still uncommon enough for me to mention it as something I enjoyed about Natural Causes.

And though there were a fair number of crime scenes and dead bodies by the halfway point, it wasn’t all confused together and difficult to keep up with what was happening.

His tragic backstory isn’t the main focus of the book > Orphaned as a kid when his parents died, raised by his grandmother who is now in a coma, and having his girlfriend taken by a serial killer a decade prior to the book’s opening, it would have been easy for Oswald to have McLean go down the path of alcoholism and insomnia which is standard in the crime genre, but he chose instead to have Tony McLean actually be trying to move on, and not spending every waking moment in the pub or drinking in his office.

The supporting cast > While McLean was the main character, he had plenty of colleagues and friends making an appearance, however brief, but they were all well-developed and had their own lives and interests and personalities.

My favourite interactions were those between McLean and his superior office DCI Duigid, and I’d love it if we got to find out in a later book why they hate each other so much that the superintendent of their station frequently has to keep them from tearing lumps out each other.

// I Could Have Done Without…///

The abandoned hints > There weren’t any in relation to the cases McLean was investigating, but pretty soon after his grandmother died, the lawyer who is executing her estate tells him that she had something that she wanted him to know.

Except we never find out what that secret is, and save from a teeny mention near the end of the book, McLean doesn’t seem all too bothered by not getting to hear it.

Coffee and bacon butties > It’s a small niggle in a book I really enjoyed, but McLean and his team seemed to live on poor coffee and bacon rolls.

I get they worked odd hours and probably didn’t have a lot of alternative choices, but couldn’t someone have made a sandwich or found a bottle of water somewhere?

Rating

4/5

I mentioned at the start of this post that McLean has to contend with the supernatural world while carrying out his investigations, and while I initially didn’t think it would work, I found myself enjoying that addition and I don’t think the story would have been the same without it.


Goodreads

Amazon / Book Depository/ Waterstones

Posted in Reads Rated

Reads Rated: Silent Scream by Angela Marsons (D.I. Kim Stone Series)

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.


Silent Scream (D.I. Kim Stone, #1)

Synopsis

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.

Rating

3.5/5

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.


Goodreads

Amazon/ Book Depository/ Waterstones