My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - as able over 2 days
Pages - 359
Publisher - Bookouture
Source - ARC
Blurb from Goodreads
Finally we’re playing a game. A game that I have chosen. I give one last push of the roundabout and stand back. 'You really should have played with me,’ I tell her again although I know she can no longer hear.
Late one summer evening, Detective Kim Stone arrives at Haden Hill Park to the scene of a horrific crime: a woman in her sixties tied to a swing with barbed wire and an X carved into the back of her neck.
The victim, Belinda Evans, was a retired college Professor of Child Psychology. As Kim and her team search her home, they find an overnight bag packed and begin to unravel a complex relationship between Belinda and her sister Veronica.
Then two more bodies are found bearing the same distinctive markings, and Kim knows she is on the hunt for a ritualistic serial killer. Linking the victims, Kim discovers they were involved in annual tournaments for gifted children and were on their way to the next event.
With DS Penn immersed in the murder case of a young man, Kim and her team are already stretched and up against one of the most ruthless killer’s they’ve ever encountered. The clues lie in investigating every child who attended the tournaments, dating back decades.
Faced with hundreds of potential leads and a bereaved sister who is refusing to talk, can Kim get inside the mind of a killer and stop another murder before it’s too late?
We kick off with a pretty brutal murder, in a play ground leading us, the team, to our newest investigation. Stone is under orders to keep an eye on her team, rest them, no excessive working hours and we have a newbie added to the squad. She is young, full of life, energy and new annoying habits. In between our team working on the gruesome playground murder one of our team, Penn, is attending court for a previous case, the killing of a shop keepers son. The difference in how Penn and Stone liase with the victims family and indeed the characters themselves are night and day. Two different stories, side by side and the layers of everything else in between. The team dynamics, new working relationships, new conditions and another body along the way, just another day in thew office for Stone and co.
I love Stone, the team, Betty the plant (may she live and be fought over forever!) and the difference in interactions with the officers and the victims family (from one case to the other). There is always minimally one complex character and whether you like them or not you can help but be drawn to them, their disclosures or what they are hiding, why are they hiding something, are they hiding something. Eek you are reeled in like a fish pretty much from page one, a style we have come to know and expect from Marsons.
Murder, police investigation, teamwork, relationships and as with all that we still get the personal insights, albeit briefly for some, for me it gives the story some heart. We know they work hard and it is awesome seeing them as cops but I love we get to see parts of them outwith the team, makes the characters more human. That and how they do their job, I just love pretty much the whole team, the writing, the build up of the story and the pace it keeps. If you haven't read Marson's before you could start here but you would be doing yourself and the series a disservice, book one is Silent Scream go check it out, 4.5/5 for me this time, great series, great book, roll on number 12 already.
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