Monthly Archives: May 2016

Monthly Round Up – May 2016

May Overview

Well May has been a pretty mad month, in a good way. Bloomin’ Brilliant Books went from being just a Facebook page to this blog! Being a bit of a technophobe it took some doing (spending seven hours trying to suss out how to point my domain name to my host was not a particular highlight!!!) but I got there and I’m quite pleased with it. I still have some bits to sort out on it but I’m sure it will be a continuous work in progress. We also hit Twitter which initially for me was a bit like social media with ADHD but I’m slowly getting used to it.

Reading wise, it’s been a hell of a month!!! I have been in an addictions therapy group in Mark Billingham’s Die of Shame, met Jack and Vera from Corrie on a body farm in Angela Marsons’s Play Dead (my hubby informs me that body farms do exist in the USA!), been wooed by an alleged serial killer in Sharon Bolton’s Daisy In Chains, was blown away by Jane Corry’s debut thriller My Husband’s Wife and chased chickens with Kitty Lewis in Christie Barlow’s Kitty’s Countryside Dream! I have been lucky enough to love every book I have read this month and am grateful to all the authors, publishers and Netgalley who have granted ARCs in return for reviews.  I can highly recommend each of these books.

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Plans for June

My reading for next month will include The Transition by R J Tomlin, a young author who is self published and publicizes his books on the streets of Leeds.  This is a venture into a different genre for me, being a sci-fi/dystopian novel, but I like to try new things!  I will also be reading two cracking looking thrillers – Last To Die by Arlene Hunt and Baby Doll by Hollie Overton – which I am really looking forward to.  The reading group I am part of are reading Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain, an old favourite of mine (how could I not love a book that is narrated by a dog!) so I’m looking forward to re-visiting that.   I will also be reading Kate Hewitt’s  Now and Then Friends ready for Bloomin’ Brilliant Books first ever blog tour, which I’m really excited about! So my reading for June is going to be an eclectic mix, which I love.

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Reviews will also be posted for two fantastic books – Louise Jensen’s The Sister and Joanna Cannon’s The Trouble With Goats and Sheep – both stunning reads.
I have been so lucky to come across some lovely, friendly, supportive bloggers, authors and publishers. All in all May has been a blast!

I hope you have enjoyed reading my reviews and continue to visit. Please feel free to comment, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  Your support is really appreciated.

My Quote of the Month

‘…one never really knows a person properly.  Especially ourselves.  Every human is a melting pot of contradictions.’ (My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry) 

Review – Kitty’s Countryside Dream by Christie Barlow

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The Blurb

New home.  New life.  New beginning.  Love affairs can blossom in the most unlikely places…

When Kitty inherits Bluebell Lodge from her grandmother, a farm in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside, it’s time for fresh air and a fresh start.  Up to her elbows in chickens and ponies, Kitty soon realises there’s an awful lot to learn about farming.  Still, at least the locals seem friendly, not least her handsome neighbour Tom…

But just as Kitty is beginning to find her feet, and the possibility of love, the discovery of a long-hidden diary, by a mysterious character called Violet changes everything.  Who is Violet and what is her message for Kitty?  As Kitty fills in the lost pieces of her family jigsaw and discovers some shocking revelations, will her countryside dream and blossoming relationship fall to pieces?  When it comes to life in the country, nothing is ever quite as it seems…

My Review

The cover of this book is gorgeous and the contents are equally gorgeous! A great story with fantastic characters, Kitty’s Countryside Dream is an absolute delight from start to finish. Part romantic comedy part mystery, this book had me both laughing out loud and sobbing!

Kitty is left a flat and a chicken farm by her late grandmother – a grandmother she had no idea existed! The perfect new start for her following the death of her mother, however, Kitty is unprepared for the secrets she discovers her family have been keeping from her.

The characters in this book are easy to relate to and I could not help but love all of them. Christie has written them with such warmth and in a way that fully immerses the reader into their lives. For the two days it took me to read this book, Kitty, Tom, Lucinda, Robin and Jeannie were like old friends. You cannot help but empathise with Kitty from the start. I found myself rooting for her and hoping her new life in the countryside would be everything she wanted it to be.

The wonderful descriptions had me feeling as though I was living Rosefield and I missed the setting and the characters when I had finished the book!

Kitty’s escapades with the chickens when she first arrives at the farm are really funny and Christie has written the book with real wit and insight into how a ‘townie’ would cope in that situation.

The second half of the novel has a more serious storyline with Kitty discovering devastating family secrets. Written with sensitivity, I couldn’t help but be moved and touched by Kitty‘s plight, yet Christie still manages to keep the balance of humour which drew me more to Kitty’s character.

Heartbreaking at times yet ultimately heart-warming and uplifting, this is a really lovely tale of friendship, love and family. This book turned out to be so much more that I was expecting, I thoroughly enjoyed every page of it and highly recommend it.

Published by Bookouture on 25 February 2016.

Review – My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

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The Blurb

It’s the perfect love story.

Lily Meets Ed at a party, and on their second date, he proposes.  She’s a lawyer, he’s an up-and-coming artist.  They own a small but beautiful flat in London and mix with all the right people.

But Lily has a secret.  Something from her past, that is soon to collide with her present.  And she thinks her new husband is hiding something too… 

The vows they made will soon be tested to the very limits.  ‘Till death us do part…’

My Review

‘Can a marriage end in murder? Even if it’s already dead?’ 

I was intrigued from the start by the title of this book, which raised a whole lot of questions for me before I had even started reading.  Is there a secret wife and the husband is a bigamist?  Is the wife referring to herself?  I love a great title and cover and this title certainly whet my appetite for this book. 

To be honest I had this book sitting on my Kindle waiting to be read for a while and I had pretty much forgotten the book’s description when I had started reading.  I read the description after I had finished and I don’t think it does the book justice.  This is such a multi-layered, cleverly crafted plot and this does not shine through for me in the blurb. 

It begins with us being told about the death of artist Ed Macdonald and then rewinds back fifteen years.  The story is split into two parts and told, chapter by chapter, by newly-wed, successful lawyer Lily, in first person narrative, and nine year old, daughter of Lily’s neighbour, Carla, in third person narrative.  An interesting way of writing the two voices, the different narrative structures adding a distinctly different tone to both characters. 

My Husband’s Wife is a slow burner.  The first part concentrating on Lily and her husband’s life and the life of Carla and her mother.  Lily and Ed married very quickly after initially meeting.  It is clear that all is not well within the marriage and both spouses are harbouring their fair share of secrets and lies. 

‘But that’s how some lies start.  Small.  Well meaning.  Until they get too big to handle.’ 

Carla and her mother, Francesca, are Italian and do not have any contact with their family in Italy.  Carla is having a difficult time at school and is not helped by her mother who, for the most part, seems to be more interested in meeting her own needs.   Carla, Lily and Ed meet following an incident at Carla’s school and their relationships are formed when Lily and Ed care for Carla while her mother is supposedly at work.  I did wonder at first what exactly Carla’s role was in the story, however, it all begins to make sense. 

The second part of the book takes us forward a few years and Carla is now an adult.  It all comes together beautifully, and the first part of the book is needed to gain an understanding of the actions and events that follow. 

The characterisation is fantastic.  Lily is guilt-ridden, trying to escape from her past experiences.  Her meeting of Joe Thomas, who she represents through his legal appeal after being found guilty of murder, impounds on her feelings about her past and, through him, she feels she can gain some redemption for her previous actions. 

Carla is a precocious child, however, I really felt for her.  Her life with her mother is not easy and she is impacted upon by her mother’s actions.  I could really empathise with the anxiety she feels during the first part of the book.  As an adult she is manipulative and conniving, yet with glimpses of a conscience which, for me, made her a more authentic character.  She misplaces the blame for the way her and her mother’s lives have turned out. 

There are so many twists and turns in this book. My jaw dropped open so many times with each revealed revelation it began to ache!

‘..one never really knows a person properly.  Especially ourselves.  Every human is a melting pot of contradictions.’ 

For me this is a story about trying to escape from your past, misplaced blame and the impact of guilt.  Jane has written so eloquently about how the past and the actions of others can affect your behaviour it made me hold my breath.  Added to this are the plot twists I never saw coming, all making for a brilliant read. 

A very accomplished debut novel that I cannot recommend highly enough.  This book blew me away!  I cannot wait to read more by this author. 

Thank you Jane Corry, Penguin Books and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

E-book version out 26 May 2016, paperback published 25 August 2016 by Penguin Books.  

Review written 27 May 2016.

A Favourite Books Review – Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

I have written a few reviews for my all time favourite books when I have re-read them, either for pleasure or if they have come up as part of the reading group I take part in.  I hope you don’t mind me sharing these reviews with you and if you have read them or go on to read them I would love to hear your opinions!

 

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The Blurb

When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D’Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her ‘cousin’ Alec proves to be her downfall.  A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future.

My Review

‘But, some might say, where was Tess’s guardian angel? Where was the providence of her simple faith?’

I have always been a fan of Thomas Hardy and was pleased when Tess of the D’Urbervilles was chosen by the reading group I am part of.  It had been many years since I last read it and I thoroughly enjoyed re-visiting this book.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles is a tragic tale about what happens to the heroine when her poor, lower class family discover they are descendants of an old, aristocratic family and she goes to seek assistance from who they believe is a family member.  Her innocence and purity are stripped away and this affects the course of her life.

Written in the 19th century, Hardy caused outrage with this book due to his commentary on the Victorian class system and it’s inequalities, religion and Victorian morals which he saw as hypocritical and unfair.

A desperately sad story, we see Tess struggle against what life has thrown at her.  It is made even more tragic as Tess is a pure and innocent girl with good morals.  Hardy uses the concept of fate throughout leaving the reader to contemplate how much we can control what happens to us and how much is a predestined path which we are put upon following certain events and actions.

Hardy’s prose is stunning and the backdrop of the Wessex countryside is richly described and beautiful.  His portrayal of the main characters have you changing your opinions of them throughout the book, swinging from liking them to despairing of them.  Tess herself evokes empathy through the futility of her situation and the fact she is essentially a victim of the society she is a part of.

Quite rightly a literary classic, Tess of the D’Urbervilles takes you to the dubious ,moral centre and harshness of Victorian England.  I would urge anyone who is interested in history to read this stunning book, however, have tissues ready as you will need them!

Published 30 January 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published 1891).

Review written 30 December 2015.

 

Review – Last Kiss Goodnight by Teresa Driscoll

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The Blurb

‘I stroked the top of my baby’s head and whispered to him gently that I would find a way.  I will not let them take you…’

Once upon a time Kate’s life was full of love and smiles and laughter.  A time where she dared to dream and hope.  But then her perfect family unit is shattered in the most unthinkable way.  And now Kate is silently and steadily falling apart. 

When she meets Martha, Kate recognises a kindred spirit.  Martha is searching for a lost love; tragedy has touched her life too.  Why are they inexplicably drawn to one another?  And why are they both keeping secrets about their pasts? 

As Kate and Martha are forced to face the painful memories they’d each locked away, can they save each other and learn to live again?

My Review

The first of Teresa’s books I have read and I was not disappointed.  Well written and a moving story, I was captivated from the start.  This is an emotional read, however, there is also a lot of laughter and I felt uplifted at the end.  Loss, grief, secrets and lies feature heavily, but so do love and friendship. 

I couldn’t help but like and care about all of the characters and I love the way Teresa has entwined all of their stories.  I really felt I knew them all and was fully immersed in their lives.  As a former social worker, Martha and Matthew’s experiences really touched me.  Thank God times have changed!  Teresa has perfectly captured Matthew’s range of emotions, his loss of identity and belief in who he is, as a young person in this situation, and she has written this with acute sensitivity. 

There are some beautifully written moments in this book – when Martha sees Josef the first time, playing the cello, really stands out for me. 

The pace of the novel is perfect, just revealing enough at certain points to keep you interested and wanting to know more about what has led Kate and Toby, Martha and Josef, Matthew and Geoffrey, to be in their current situation. 

On the whole, a great book which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Highly recommended.  I will definitely be reading Teresa’s first novel and look forward to more in the future.   

Thank you to Teresa Driscoll, Bookouture and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Published 25 March 2016 by Bookouture.  Review written on 10 March 2016.

Review – Die of Shame by Mark Billingham

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The Blurb

Every Monday evening, six people gather in a smart North London house to talk about shame.  A respected doctor, a well-heeled housewife, a young male prostitute…they could not be more different.  All they have in common is a history of addiction.  But when one of the group is murdered, it quickly becomes apparent that someone else in that circle is responsible.  The investigation is hampered by the strict confidentiality that binds these individuals and their therapist together, which makes things difficult for Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner, a woman who can appreciate the desire to keep personal matters private.  If she is to find the killer, she will need to use less obvious means.  The question is: What could be shameful enough to cost someone their life? And how do you find the truth when secrets, lies, and denial are second nature to all of your suspects?

My Review

What act could be so shameful that you deserve to die for it?

When a member of an addictions recovery group is found murdered, suspicions fall on the six people who attend the weekly meetings. The investigation is hampered by the strict confidentiality imposed by the therapist and the group members.

Any one familiar with Mark Billingham will know DI Tom Thorne very well. This is a standalone novel, although it was nice to see some familiar characters. Nicola Tanner is a totally different detective to Tom Thorne but I liked her character. I wonder if we will be seeing her again in the future?

The book switches between the current investigation and the events leading up to the murder, it is well paced with a drip feed of information that all comes together at the end. This results in you having to read more to find out what happened and gradually the jigsaw puzzle is pieced together. It’s a difficult book to put down!

It is set within a therapy group for those recovering from various addictions and I loved this.  A totally disparate group of people who would normally never come together makes for interesting reading. Mark’s characterisation is brilliant and you get to know all of the characters pretty well. I didn’t really like any of them and was suspicious of all of them.  All of the flaws within human beings – greed, gluttony, lust, envy, pride, anger – are seen within these characters. Heather, the member who is murdered, is, ironically, the one I warmed to the most and my suspicions as to who killed her and why changed from chapter to chapter. This book certainly kept me guessing!

It is clear that Mark has well researched therapy groups and addictions. The characters are believable and the lying, denial and selfishness that go hand in hand with addiction are all there along with the reasons as to why these people have become addicts. The therapy sessions are also believable. Focusing on and confessing to actions that have caused them to feel shame during the sessions draws you in to find out what the act is that someone finds so shameful that Heather deserves to die for it.

It is fair to say that Mark has, once again, written a brilliant book. I was drawn in immediately, was compelled to keep reading throughout and the ending surprised me. Fantastic!

Thank you Mark Billingham, Grove Atlantic and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Published by Grove Atlantic, Die of Shame is out now.

Review – After The Lie by Kerry Fisher

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The Blurb

One little lie can make one big difference…

Lydia has the ‘right’ kind of friends, her children are at the ‘right’ kind of school and she’s married to the ‘right’ sort of man – kind, steady, reliable Mark.  Her wedding business is flourishing and even though she is at loggerheads with her mother, she couldn’t ask for anything more from life. 

But the truth is that Lydia has been lucky.  She has been living a lie for years and Mark has no idea who he is really married to.  But nothing lasts forever and the past has a funny way of catching up with the present.  When a person who knows all of Lydia’s dark little secrets turns up at the school gates, his presence threatens to blow Lydia’s life apart. 

What is Lydia’s terrible truth?  Once the secret is out,  you can’t put it back….

 

The Review

After The Lie tells the story of Lydia who has been living a lie for years following an incident in her childhood. The lie she has been living eventually catches up with her, impacting on her life and those around her.

Told over two time spans, the 1980s and now, I was drawn into the book immediately. Kerry’s description of the 1980s is fantastic and took me straight back to that era. It also highlighted how much we live our life in public these days. Kerry’s writing style and the first person narrative made me feel as though I was friends with Lydia and that I was conversing with her. Despite her behaviour being questionable at times I couldn’t help but like her. There were some brilliant parts in the book too which made me laugh out loud.

I was intrigued from the start as to what the lie was. You find out pretty quickly (it is after all called AFTER The Lie!) and the book is about the aftermath of this lie and the impact on Lydia and future generations. I didn’t feel the secret was such a big deal, especially to be kept from her husband, however Lydia is a character who has been dominated and criticised by her mother and lives in an area where appearances and status counts. We see how a relatively small lie can spiral out of control and go onto affect your relationships. I could fully understand her husband questioning the trust he had had in her but also empathised with Lydia, as with the passage of time it gets harder and harder to tell the truth.

Without giving the plot away, Kerry has written about something that is now a huge issue with the advent of the internet and yet is not unique to today’s generation. I enjoyed the social commentary side, it made me question my views on how life was pre-internet compared to today. Kerry also does a great job of looking at difficult relationships between parents and children.

An enjoyable read which gives food for thought. Despite the nature of the story Kerry has managed to add humour and the book is well written. 

Thank you to Kerry Fisher, Bookouture, and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Published 29 April 2016 by Bookouture. 

Review written on 21 April 2016.

Review – A Dog Called Hope by Jason Morgan and Damien Lewis

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The Blurb

When special forces agent, Jason Morgan, awoke from a months-long coma he was told he would never walk again.  Discovered face-down in a Central American swamp after a jungle mission had gone wrong, he had a smashed spine, collapsed lungs and several broken bones.  It was a miracle he’d even survived. 

Months of painful surgery followed, with Jason’s life balanced on a knife edge.  Released from hospital in a wheelchair and plagued my memory loss, Jason’s life fell apart.  Left alone to raise his three infant sons, all hope seemed gone, until Jason met Napal, a handsome-as-hell black Labrador provided by a very special charity. 

With this one incredible dog at their side, Jason’s life and that of his family would never be the same again.  With Napal’s help Jason was able to conquer his paralysis, eventually completing a marathon and winning numerous medals in the Wonded Warrior Games.  More than that, this amazing service dog helped heal a family and taught Jason to be the father his kids needed him to be. 

A Dog Called Hope is the moving and heart-warming story of how Jason rediscovered his life’s mission, his strength as a father and, through his beloved dog, his hope.  It’s the story of closeness between one man and one dog like no other, and how this mesmerizing duo changed countless lives. 

Inspirational, tear-jerking and laugh-out-loud uplifting, this is a story that will brighten any day and warm every heart.

My Review

If you have ever loved a dog and been loved back by a dog, you will enjoy this book. 

A Dog Called Hope is an inspirational story about one man’s courage over adversity and the incredible bond between a man and his dog. 

I knew from the prologue that I would shed tears throughout this book and I wasn’t wrong!  It does not just start with Jason’s accident and injuries to him then meeting Napal, it takes you through Napal’s training to be a service dog and the man responsible for making him a fantastic canine.  I really liked the way Jason’s progress after the accident ran parallel with Napal’s training progress.  I often found myself looking at my own (less well trained!) dogs, amazed at what Napal had learnt to do and the potential that dogs have.  I really felt for Jim Seigfried, Napal’s puppy trainer, when the time came for him to hand him over and I admire him for the work he has done.  Yes, tears flowed at this point.

Written very much through Jason’s voice, you are with him every step of the way and feel as though he has become a friend.  You can never fully place yourself in the shoes of a person who has suffered a life-changing accident, but Jason and Damien express the emotions felt by Jason and those close to him so well you deeply empathise.  Chapter nine was very difficult to read as the anguish comes through clearly.

You really get a sense of the strong bond and friendship that develops between Jason and Napal and how important they become to each other.  Like me, you will fall in love with Napal. 

A highly recommended book about two real heroes, Jason and Napal.  I am a dog owner and dog lover, however,  I think this story will be enjoyed by those who are not.  You cannot fail to be moved by this book. 

Thank you Jason Morgan, Damien Lewis, Quercus and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Published on 10th March by Quercus. 

Review written 21 March 2016. 

 

 

Review – Daisy In Chains by Sharon Bolton

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The Blurb

Famous killers have fan clubs

Hamish Wolfe is no different. Locked up for the rest of his life for the abduction and murder of three young women, he counts countless adoring letters everyday. He’s handsome, charismatic and very persuasive. His admirers are convinced he’s innocent , and that he’s the man of their dreams.

Maggie Rose is different. Reclusive and enigmatic; a successful lawyer and bestselling true-crime writer, she only takes on cases she can win.

Hamish wants her as his lawyer, he wants her to change his fate. She thinks she’s immune to the charms of a man like this. But maybe not this time….

Would you?

My Review

‘All notorious killers have a fan club’

The description intrigued me and it’s written by Sharon Bolton, so I really wanted to read this book and Sharon has done it again with another beautifully written, intricate thriller.

A psychological thriller that gets right under your skin and yet is so much more. Hamish Wolfe is the charismatic, charming prisoner serving a life sentence for the abduction and murder of three women, who receives scores of letters from women professing to be in love with him and convinced of his innocence. How can a rational woman fall for a man she hardly knows, that has been convicted of terrible crimes and cannot provide the things you would normally expect within a relationship? This happens, however, outside of fiction and the novel explores this through the mixed media Sharon uses to tell the story of Hamish.

Maggie Rose is the independent, intelligent, quirky, somewhat reclusive, successful lawyer and true crime writer. Maggie follows her own path in life and surely she would not succumb to Hamish’s charm? I had mixed feelings about Maggie. There is definitely something ‘off’ about her and the fact she represents clients through appeal who she does not believe are innocent makes her somewhat unlikeable. However she is very intriguing and you just have to read more to understand her.

Sharon’s skill at weaving together a story that keeps you guessing and changing your mind is second to none and her characters are so interesting. I had doubts throughout the book about Hamish’s professed innocence – is he or isn’t he? – and even doubted the integrity of Detective Pete Weston, the character I warmed to the most.

The relationship between Hamish and Maggie makes for compelling reading and at times I was holding my breath. There are so many questions that are raised throughout the book about their relationship as we see them get to know each other. Is Maggie falling for him? Is Hamish falling for Maggie? Is he using her to suit his own needs ? And how will this all end?

As mentioned earlier, mixed media is used throughout the book to tell the unfolding story and this really added an extra layer to me. How women of a larger size are treated and how women become involved in relationships with men serving life sentences for heinous crimes are all explored. Sharon manages to combine social issues within the story without detracting from the plot and it all fits together perfectly. Via this you are kept guessing as to Hamish’s innocence and his possible motivations if he is guilty.

Full of twists and turns, I did not predict the ending and was totally taken by surprise. Sharon is so talented at weaving a tale that takes you to places you don’t expect.

I was worried that it wouldn’t come close to Little Black Lies, a book I adore, but I was not disappointed. If you want an intelligent, intricately woven thriller full of twists, turns and red herrings I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to Sharon Bolton, Random House UK Transworld Publishers and Netgalley for the advance copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Published on 02/06/2016 by Transworld Publishers

Play Dead by Angela Marsons

Play Dead by Angela Marsons is published tomorrow.  I was lucky enough to be gifted a copy of this bloomin’ brilliant book for review by Bookouture and Netgalley.

 

The Blurb

The dead don’t tell secrets unless you listen.
The girl’s smashed-in face stared unseeing up to the blue sky, soil spilling out of her mouth. A hundred flies hovered above the bloodied mess.
Westerley research facility is not for the faint-hearted.  A ‘body farm’ investigating human decomposition, it’s inhabitants are corpses in various states of decay.  But when Detective Kim stone and her team discover the fresh body of a young woman, it seems a killer has discovered the perfect cover to bury their crime.
Then a second girl is attacked and left for dead, her body drugged and mouth filled with soil.  It’s clear to stone and the team that a serial killer is at work – but just how many bodies will they uncover? And who is next?
As local reporter, Tracy Frost, disappears, the stakes are raised.  the past seems to hold the key to the killer’s secrets – but can Kim uncover the truth before a twisted, damaged mind claims another victim…?
The latest utterly addictive thriller from the No.1 bestseller Angela Marsons.

My Review

Ok, so you will probably think I have been living under a rock as this is my first novel by Angela Marsons. My mum has been raving about her, but I had not got round to reading her books, so I jumped at the chance when Play Dead came up for review. I’m so glad I did, and in this case it’s certainly true when they say that “Mum is always right” as I was not disappointed.
In brief a woman’s body is found at Westerley Research Facility with her head smashed in and dirt coming out of her mouth, soon followed by another body and a woman who is left for dead. DI Kim Stone must find the killer and stop the fourth from meeting the same end.
This is the fourth in the DI Kim Stone series, however it works as a stand alone novel, I had no problems getting to know the characters and did not feel I was missing anything by not having read the first three. The characterisation is fantastic and I can see why Kim Stone is so popular. Straight talking, no-nonsense, competent, but also compassionate with an interesting back story, I warmed to her pretty much immediately. Angela also puts detail into other minor character’s back stories, including the killer’s, which makes for a more interesting read. I really liked the way the story was punctuated by the killer’s voice at various chapters.
The backdrop of the body farm (do these places really exist?) make it incredibly creepy and gruesome but it also has dark humour (Cher, Jack and Vera) which I love.
Angela is very talented at telling a story and her writing is great. Each chapter ends at precisely the right moment (or not, if like me you are reading in bed and need to get to sleep!) to keep you intrigued and having to read just one more chapter, which inevitably turns into two or three or more.
I tried, as I always do, to work out who the killer was and was totally wrong with every guess, which is great as there is nothing worse than working it out halfway through. The twist at the end surprised me, but was also believable, and it fitted together perfectly.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, one of the best detective based novels I have read in a while, and Angela is going straight up there as one of my favourite crime authors. Kim Stone and I will be meeting again as I catch up on the first three books. Fantastic!
Thank you Angela Marsons, Bookouture and Netgalley for the advance copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.