EXCERPT: The hammer rises in the air.
It falls with unflinching certainty.
The sound of bone cracking fills the silence. Then a moan, a gurgle as blood begins to pour from the hole in her head. In this light it appears black. The glistening richness of the liquid is caught in the lamplight as it escapes like lava from a volcano and runs down the line of her hair.
I am horrified by what I see and yet liberated too. There is no more indecision. No more doubt. We are beyond the point of return. It cannot be undone.
ABOUT ‘HIDDEN SCARS’: 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?
MY THOUGHTS: If you haven’t read any previous books in this series, do not start with this. To fully appreciate Hidden Scars the reader needs to know Kim’s backstory and her relationship with her colleagues. Hidden Scars definitely will not work as a stand-alone.
Where to begin? Kim is haunted but resilient, especially when the future of her team is threatened by the incompetence of the DI supposedly holding it all together in her absence.
Kim’s character continues to grow in Hidden Scars and the title of the book reflects Kim’s circumstances as accurately as several of the other characters who feature. She reveals a certain vulnerability that we have not seen before and which takes a bit of getting used to.
Bryant is somewhat responsible for this, deciding that Kim has gotten away with far too much for far too long and gives her a lesson on the meaning and obligations of friendship. And Yay! – we finally learn his first name!
Penn is having to learn a few lessons too, relating to loosening the reins on his younger Downs Syndrome brother who is a bit more switched on than Penn realises.
And where would the team be without Stacey? Dogged and determined she often bears the brunt of the desk work due to her ability to pick up on clues in background information that the others tend to miss.
The mysteries are intriguing, and the main thread is interspersed with the viewpoint of an unknown person which doesn’t quite make sense until almost the very end. The reason for this gobsmacked me! A great storyline and a great twist.
The main storyline includes a great deal of information on conversion therapy, to the point where several times I felt like I was being educated. And I was. I knew what conversion therapy was before I started reading Hidden Scars, but I really had no idea of the extremes to which it could be taken.
But the murders – some staged to look like suicide – are the main focus of the storyline. Marsons is an extremely clever writer, and I had to backtrack a couple of times to check on clues I had missed, but still I had absolutely no idea until the final reveal as to who was behind them. I loved the way the historical murder was also tied in.
I: @angelamarsonsauthor @bookouture
T: @WriteAngie @Bookouture
#contemporaryfiction #fivestarread #crime #detectivefiction #suspense #thriller
THE AUTHOR: Angela is the author of the Kim Stone Crime series. She discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.
Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.
She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Hidden Scars by Angela Marsons for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
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