The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White

The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White
The Lullaby Girl (Angie Pallorino, #2) 
by Loreth Anne White (Goodreads Author)

30817744
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: “It affected us all, you know, finding that bleeding and mute toddler inside. She was a beautiful child – that pale complexion, the long dark-red hair, and that tattered little pink dress with frayed lace.” A pause. “We all thought someone would come forward to claim her instantly – that she had to have some family who was missing her. But no one did – not a soul. No mother presented at Saint Peter’s with injuries later. The other hospitals in this health-care region reported nothing suspicious either. It was a mystery. An absolute mystery.”
“Tell…tell me more about the child,” Angie said, her voice husky.
“Her mouth had been slashed open by a sharp weapon – it had sliced through both the upper and lower lips on the left side of her face. She was bleeding copiously from the wound. Blood saturated her dress, the bassinet. She was clutching the Teddy we’d placed inside, like a lifeline. Blood soaked the Teddy as well. She was in shock, grey eyes like saucers. And she made no sound at all. As though she was beyond crying and had perhaps been that way for a long time before.”

THE BLURB: Detective Angie Pallorino took down a serial killer permanently and, according to her superiors, with excessive force. Benched on a desk assignment for twelve months, Angie struggles to maintain her sense of identity—if she’s not a detective, who is she? Then a decades-old cold case washes ashore, pulling her into an investigation she recognizes as deeply personal.

Angie’s lover and partner, James Maddocks, sees it, too. But spearheading an ongoing probe into a sex-trafficking ring and keeping Angie’s increasing obsession with her case in check is taking its toll. However, as startling connections between the parallel investigations emerge, Maddocks realizes he has more than Angie’s emotional state to worry about.

Driven and desperate to solve her case, Angie goes rogue, risking her relationship, career, and very life in pursuit of answers. She’ll learn that some truths are too painful to bear, and some sacrifices include collateral damage.

But Angie Pallorino won’t let it go. She can’t. It’s not in her blood.

MY THOUGHTS: The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White is a fast paced, action packed read. The storyline is complex, without being complicated, the writing punchy, the characters interesting. There is romantic content and reasonably explicit sexual content, both of which are handled well and integral to the plot.

This is the second book in a series, the first of which, The Drowned Girls, I have not yet read. I probably should have as there are references to the content of that book throughout The Lullaby Girl. But at no point when I was reading did I feel lost or out of the loop, there was enough explanation of past events given to make everything clear.

The Angie Pallorino series is one I am going to follow with interest, including going back to read the first book. And at the end of The Lullaby Girl, is a teaser for the third book in the series, which has whet my appetite for more.

A good solid ☆☆☆☆ read.

Thank you to Montlake Romance via Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy of The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2144674593?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
Two Nights 
by Kathy Reichs (Goodreads Author)

30817744
Reviewed by


EXCERPT:

My right-­hand neighbor thinks I’m crazy, so she brings me cheese.

I heard the one-­two crunch of her boots on the path. A pause, then the oyster shells crunched again.

I lifted a corner of the towel covering my kitchen window. She was already five yards off, a shadow-­laced smudge among the live oaks.

Six years, and I still didn’t know her name. Didn’t want to. Had no desire to exchange recipes or comments on the tides.

I cracked the door, snagged the plastic-­wrapped package, and shoved it into the fridge.

Truth is, I don’t mind the cheese. What I hate are the sharp little eyes plumbing my soul. That and the pity.

And the goats. When the wind is right, the bleating bullies into my dreams and I’m back in Helmand with the blood and the dust.

Or maybe I’m reading the old gal wrong. Maybe the cheese is a bribe so I don’t murder Billie or Nanny.

My left-­hand neighbor hanged himself from the end of his pier. His dog curled up and died by his head. Double suicide. Maggot jamboree by the time the bodies were found.

Arthur was a wood-­carver, Prince a collie. I prefer their silent company. Fits my two-­pronged plan for life. Need no one. Feel nothing.

THE BLURB: Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct…

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

MY THOUGHTS: I kind of went off Kathy Reichs when they corrupted her Tempe Brennan series into the TV show Bones. That was a seriously bad idea.

So I was kind of wary of reading Two Nights, but my reluctance was unnecessary. This is a seriously good read/ listen.

The story is over two timelines, now while Sunday and her brother Gus (August Night as in Neil Diamond’s Hot…..) are trying to track down the bombers and the missing girl, with flashbacks to Sunday’s own traumatic experience.

This is a fast paced and engaging read. There is plenty of action, plenty of twists. Strongly recommended ☆☆☆☆ read.

I listened to Two Nights by Kathy Reichs narrated by Colleen Marlo and Kim Mai Guest via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2184734795?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Friday Favorite – Millard Salter’s Last Day by Jacob M. Appel

Millard Salter's Last Day by Jacob M. Appel
Millard Salter’s Last Day 
by Jacob M. Appel (Goodreads Author)

30817744
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: The trouble was that Millard didn’t feel seventy-five. Maybe when he bent over to retrieve one of the grandkids’ toys, or when carrying his fishing tackle out to the skiff, but not often. Some mornings, he honestly believed he might live another twenty years. Good years. Of course, there lay the dastardly trap. Nobody really believes in quicksand until they can’t extricate their feet.

THE BLURB: In the spirit of the New York Times bestselling A Man Called Ove, this is the heartwarming story of a man who decides to end his life before he’s too old—but then begins to reconsider when he faces complications from the world around him.

In an effort to delay the frailty and isolation that comes with old age, psychiatrist Millard Salter decides to kill himself by the end of the day—but first he has to tie up some loose ends. These include a tête-à-tête with his youngest son, Lysander, who at forty-three has yet to hold down a paying job; an unscheduled rendezvous with his first wife, Carol, whom he hasn’t seen in twenty-seven years; and a brief visit to the grave of his second wife, Isabelle. Complicating this plan though is Delilah, the widow with whom he has fallen in love in the past few months. As Millard begins to wrap up his life, he confronts a lifetime of challenges during a single day—and discovers that his family has a big surprise for him as well.

MY THOUGHTS: I love Jacob Appel’s writing. I love the depth of his characters, the way we get to know their little foibles, their likes and dislikes, their innermost thoughts.

And as I read, I grew to love the anti-social Millard Salter. He knows himself, warts and all. He knows he did wrong by his first wife, Carol, but even in retrospect, wouldn’t change a thing. I love the love he feels for the dying Delilah, his compassion, his devotion. I love his thoughts and opinions on the people he works with. We all have people like these in our lives at some point or another. I loved his take on dealing with people who verbally ‘down’ you, and I loved his wit and puns.

I felt sad when the book was finished. I felt like I had lost an old friend. I am going to miss Millard Salter, but on the flip side, I can pick this book up again and go visit any time I like. And I am sure I will.

Thank you to Gallery Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Millard Salter’s Last Day by Jacob M Appel for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2181625997?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Thursday Thoughts. …..

With all the lovely fine weather we have had, I am working daylight til dusk out on the farm, and so my reading has taken a bit of a back seat this week.

I have just finished Millard Salter’s Last Day by Jacob M Appel, but I am saving that for my Friday Favorite tomorrow. Yes, it’s that good!

I am currently reading

The Shadows in the Street by Susan Hill

 One of my favorite authors. And listening to
Two Nights
I am about to start
The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White
Which was published this week. And then
Dying Day: Absolutely gripping serial killer fiction
Which is due to be published tomorrow.
Books I have been approved for via Netgalley in the past week are
Beneath the Water
Killman Creek (Stillhouse Lake, #2)
The Runaway Children: Gripping and heartbreaking historical fiction
Her Best Friend
Happy reading!

The Private Patient by P. D. James

The Private Patient by P.D. James
The Private Patient (Adam Dalgliesh #14) 
by P.D. James

30817744
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: On November the 21st, the day of her forty-seventh birthday, and three weeks and two days before she was murdered, Rhoda Gradwyn went to Harley Street to keep a first appointment with her plastic surgeon, and there in a consulting room designed, so it appeared, to inspire confidence and allay apprehension, made the decision which would lead inexorably to her death. Later that day she was to lunch at the Ivy. The timing of the two appointments was fortuitous. Mr Chandler-Powell had no earlier date to offer and the luncheon later with Robin Boyton, booked for twelve forty-five, had been arranged two months previously; one did not expect to get a table at the Ivy on impulse. She regarded neither appointment as a birthday celebration. This detail of her private life, like much else, was never mentioned. She doubted whether Robin had discovered her date of birth or would much care if he had. She knew herself to be a respected, even distinguished journalist, but she hardly expected her name to appear in the Times list of VIP birthdays.

THE BLURB: When the notorious investigative journalist, Rhoda Gradwyn, books into Mr. Chandler-Powell’s private clinic in Dorset for the removal of a disfiguring, long-standing facial scar, she has every prospect of a successful operation by a distinguished surgeon, a week’s peaceful convalescence in one of Dorset’s most beautiful manor houses and the beginning of a new life. She will never leave Cheverell Manor alive. When Adam Dalgliesh and his team are called in to investigate the murder – and a second death occurs – even more complicated problems than the question of innocence or guilt arise.

MY THOUGHTS: I failed to become excited by, or engaged in The Private Patient by P. D. James, #14 in the Adam Dalgleish series. Although this was a BBC Radio adaptation, and a very good one, the story fell flat for me.

I enjoyed the final revelations, but not enough to make up for the tedium of getting there.

2.5 stars for The Private Patient by P. D. James, the audiobook of which was beautifully narrated by Richard Derrington and Deborah McAndrew. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Just because I didn’t enjoy this book doesn’t mean that you won’t. If you enjoyed the extract and the blurb piques your interest, you may well be one of the many people who enjoy Private Patient. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2184691149

Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride

Close to the Bone (Logan McRae, #8) 
by Stuart MacBride

30817744

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: She holds up the book of matches, licks her lips. She’s practised the words a dozen times until they’re perfect.
‘Do you have anything to say before I carry out sentence?’
The man kneeling on the floor of the warehouse stares up at her. He’s trembling, moaning behind the mask hiding his face. ‘Oh God. Oh Jesus. Oh God. Oh Jesus.’
The chains around his wrists and ankles rattle against the metal stake.
A waft of accelerant curls through the air from the tyre wedged over his head and shoulders. Black rubber and paraffin.

THE BLURB: The first body is chained to a stake: strangled, and stabbed, with a burning tyre around its neck. But is this a gangland execution or something much darker?

Someone’s leaving little knots of bones outside Detective Inspector Logan McRae’s house, but he’s got more pressing things to worry about. Rival drug gangs are fighting over product and territory; two teenage lovers are missing; someone’s crippling Asian immigrants; and Logan’s been lumbered with an ambitious new Detective Sergeant, a mountain of paperwork, and the unwelcome attention of his superiors and the local crime boss.

When another body turns up, it looks as if the similarities between these murders and the plot of a bestselling novel are more than just a coincidence. And perhaps those little knots of bones are more important than they look…

MY THOUGHTS: The blurb doesn’t do Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride justice, anywhere near justice. Reading this book is a nail-biting, roller-coaster ride of an experience. MacBride has long been a favorite author of mine, but with Close to the Bone, he has taken his writing to a whole new level. This is the best book by this author that I have read.

I have a strong stomach, there isn’t much in the written word that makes me cringe, yet MacBride managed it. Amongst all the horrific descriptions of what the characters in this book are doing to one another, the graphic descriptions of the crime scenes and the decomposing bodies, there is a girl who picks the scabs off her knees AND EATS THEM! That brought me to my knees.

And interspersed with all this, are little gems of MacBride’s black humor. An example – ‘You told me he was dead.’ ‘He got better.’

I loved this book. MacBride had me running the gamut of my emotions. He shocked me, he had me worried, he made me sad, he made me laugh, he broke my heart.

I listened to Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride, narrated by Steve Worley who did a magnificent job, on audio via Overdrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1020255342

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake 
by Anna Quindlen

30817744
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: Every once in a while we meet our long ago selves across a dining table or a desk, when younger women come to ask for advice or to interview for a job. They’re so eager and so smart, with their dresses and their shiny hair, and we know exactly what they want because we once wanted it, too. They want a formula, a plan,a set of directions, an assembly kit. Connect A to B, C to D, and in the end, there it is, the life you crave. The job, the salary, the companion, the home.
It’s so hard to tell them the truth, that there is no formula, no plan. It’s harder still to communicate that your life has been filled with accidents and that they have determined so much of how things turned out. Some have been happy accidents, some not. There were plans for a family but the right partner didn’t come along, or came along too late. There were plans for a big family but after the first child there was no other, or plans for an only child that were changed by an accidental pregnancy. My early plans to have no children at all morphed into plans to have four, and we wound up with three. And now that seems exactly right, even fated somehow. It’s amazing how resilient people are, and how the things that didn’t come true become, after a while, simply the way things are.

THE BLURB: “[Quindlen] serves up generous portions of her wise, commonsensical, irresistibly quotable take on life. . . . What Nora Ephron does for body image and Anne Lamott for spiritual neuroses, Quindlen achieves on the home front.”—NPR

In this irresistible memoir, Anna Quindlen writes about a woman’s life, from childhood memories to manic motherhood to middle age, using the events of her life to illuminate ours. Considering—and celebrating—everything from marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, parenting, faith, loss, to all the stuff in our closets, and more, Quindlen says for us here what we may wish we could have said ourselves. As she did in her beloved New York Times columns, and in A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen uses her past, present, and future to explore what matters most to women at different ages. Quindlen talks about

Marriage: “A safety net of small white lies can be the bedrock of a successful marriage. You wouldn’t believe how cheaply I can do a kitchen renovation.”

Girlfriends: “Ask any woman how she makes it through the day, and she may mention her calendar, her to-do lists, her babysitter. But if you push her on how she really makes it through her day, she will mention her girlfriends. ”

Our bodies: “I’ve finally recognized my body for what it is: a personality-delivery system, designed expressly to carry my character from place to place, now and in the years to come.”

Parenting: “Being a parent is not transactional. We do not get what we give. It is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: We are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leave us.”

Candid, funny, and moving, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is filled with the sharp insights and revealing observations that have long confirmed Quindlen’s status as America’s laureate of real life.

MY THOUGHTS: I liked Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen, but I didn’t love it. I think I was expecting something quite different from what I actually got. This is not so much a memoir, as a philosophical essay on aging.

I was expecting more of Anna’s life. She does make reference to incidents in her life from time to time to illustrate a point she is making, but that is all. And while I may feel slightly disappointed, Quindlen makes a lot of valid points about aging, about how we are aging differently to how our parents aged and to how our children will age. She talks about the opportunities and choices we had that our parents never had, and how many more of these our children have.

I think that this is a book that I will pick up again in the future and reread. While I didn’t find it funny, there is a great deal of wisdom contained within. And next time I read this, I will be ready for it.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2168092255

Broken Bones (D. I. Kim Stone series)

Broken Bones by Angela Marsons
Broken Bones (D.I. Kim Stone, #7) 
by Angela Marsons (Goodreads Author)

30817744
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘It is lucky for you that I have a way for you to pay me back. You’re not the first, you see. You craved your independence, sought a way to speed your journey to adulthood and you have succeeded. This is your debt and your responsibility. You got exactly what you wanted.’
(She) could not deny that there was some truth in his words.
‘You have been successful in escaping the clutches of your mother. She is no longer in charge of your decisions and this next one you will make yourself.’
(She) held her breath. There was a mesmerizing quality to his voice that, although it filled her with fear, she felt compelled to listen to.
‘You are here, alone, with no money, no friends and no safety net yet you have the one thing that will set you free.’
(She) frowned.
He raised one eyebrow and looked her up and down. ‘You have your body.’
For a few seconds, (she) was confused. She thought about her hands, arms, legs, feet and as she thought about the bits in between her fear turned to abject horror.

THE BLURB: They thought they were safe. They were wrong.
The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As three more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

MY THOUGHTS: Angela Marsons just keeps on writing absolutely compelling, gripping thrillers. Broken Bones is #7 in the DI Stone series, and mostly by now, with a few notable exceptions, the author has either run out of steam and is rehashing tired old story lines, or I have become bored with the series. Not so with Marsons. I made the mistake of beginning Broken Bones when I went to bed. At 1.30 am I was still reading.

Marsons character development is crucial to her success. With every book in this series we learn a little more about Kim, about what makes her tick, and we see progression in her relationships with her team, and of those between the team members.

I haven’t always liked Kim. I understood why she was like she was, but I didn’t like her. Admired, but not liked. However, over the series, Kim has grown and in Broken Bones we see a side of Kim that we never previously knew existed. And I wanted to hug this prickly, independent woman.

This is a story of human greed, greed for money, for position, for power. But it is also a wonderfully touching story of mothers, and just how far they will go to protect their children. But beware, there is also an extremely evil mother in evidence, one who sees in her daughter the way to escape her own sordid life.

5 very bright stars. 💓☆☆☆☆☆💓

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Broken Bones by Angela Marsons for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2171468915

Kisscut by Karin Slaughter

Kisscut by Karin Slaughter
Kisscut (Grant County, #2) 
by Karin Slaughter (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: At twenty-eight weeks old, Jenny Weaver’s child might have been viable outside the womb had its mother not tried to flush it down the toilet. The foetus was well developed and well nourished. The brain stem was intact and, with medical intervention, the lungs would have matured over time. The hands would have learned to grasp, the feet to flex, the eyes to blink. Eventually, the mouth would have learned to speak of something other than the horrors it spoke to Sara of now. The lungs had taken breath, the mouth gasped for life. And then it had been killed.
For the past three-and-a-half hours, Sara had tried to reassemble the baby from the parts Jenny Weaver had left in the bathroom and in the red book bag they found in the trash by the video game room. Using tiny sutures instead of the usual baseball stitches, Sara had sewn the paper thin flesh back together into the semblance of a child. Her hands shook, and Sara had redone some of the knots because her fingers were not nimble enough on the first try.
Still, it was not enough. Working on the child, tying the tiny sutures, was like pulling a thread on a sweater. For every area repaired, there was another that could not be concealed. There was no disguising the trauma the child had been through. In the end, Sara had finally accepted that her self-appointed task was an exercise in futility. The baby would go to the grave looking much the way it had looked the last time her mother had seen her.

THE BLURB: Saturday night dates at the skating rink have been a tradition in the small southern town of Heartsdale for as long as anyone can remember, but when a teenage quarrel explodes into a deadly shoot-out, Sara Linton–the town’s pediatrician and medical examiner–finds herself entangled in a terrible tragedy.

What seemed at first to be a horrific but individual catastrophe proves to have wider implications. The autopsy reveals evidence of long-term abuse, of ritualistic self -mutilation, but when Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver start to investigate, they are frustrated at every turn.

The children surrounding the victim close ranks. The families turn their backs. Then a young girl is abducted, and it becomes clear that the first death is linked to an even more brutal crime, one far more shocking than anyone could have imagined. Meanwhile, detective Lena Adams, still recovering from her sister’s death and her own brutal attack, finds herself drawn to a young man who might hold the answers. But unless Lena, Sara, and Jeffrey can uncover the deadly secrets the children hide, it’s going to happen again . . .

MY THOUGHTS: Grant County is a series that needs to be read in order, from the beginning, to get the full benefit from the storyline.
Kisscut by Karin Slaughter is not a pretty story. It is not a pleasant read. It contains references to child abuse, and while it doesn’t go into specific detail, we all know enough to fill in the blanks. But Kisscut is compelling reading. Even though this is a reread for me, I found myself totally embroiled in the plot and the fates of the characters.
This is Slaughter at her best, and I still love the Grant County series best of all.
I listened to Kisscut by Karin Slaughter,narrated by Kathleen Early, on audiobook via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2177382184

Friday Favorite – Silent Scream by Angela Marsons

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

I am currently reading Broken Bones by Angela Marsons, #7 in the DI. Stone series, and newly published just this week. It is not often that an author can maintain their focus and momentum through a series of seven books, but Marsons has done just that.

So while I am up in the middle of the New Zealand night devouring Marsons latest offering, I thought I would introduce you to the first in the series, Silent Scream.

WARNING: Unless you are planning on a sleepless night, don’t start this when you are going to bed, otherwise you will find yourself doing as I am, sitting up all night reading because you are going to read just one more chapter before you turn out the light. ..

Silent Scream by Angela Marsons
Silent Scream (D.I. Kim Stone, #1) 
by Angela Marsons (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT:
PROLOGUE
Rowley Regis, Black Country, 2004
Five figures formed a pentagram around a freshly dug mound.
Only they knew it was a grave.
Digging the frozen earth beneath the layers of ice and snow had been like trying to carve stone but they’d taken turns.
All of them.
An adult-sized hole would have taken longer.
The shovel had passed from grip to grip. Some were hesitant, tentative. Others more assured. No one resisted and no one spoke.
The innocence of the life taken was known to them all but the pact had been made.
Their secrets would be buried.
Five heads bowed towards the dirt, visualising the body beneath soil that already glistened with fresh ice. As the first flakes dusted the top of the grave, a shudder threaded through the group. The five figures dispersed, their footprints treading the trail of a star into the fresh, crisp snow.
It was done.

THE BLURB: Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…

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?

Fans of Rachel Abbott, Val McDermid and Mark Billingham will be gripped by this exceptional new voice in British crime fiction.

Watch out for more from D.I. Kim Stone
A Detective hiding dark secrets, Kim Stone will stop at nothing to protect the innocent. Silent Scream is the first book in the series – watch out for EVIL GAMES coming soon.

MY THOUGHTS: The cover states that this is an edge of the seat serial killer thriller – and yes, it does deliver what it promises!
A headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.
Then human remains are discovered buried in the grounds of a former children’s home, threatening to bring to light a legacy of disturbing secrets.
How far will the killer go to protect these secrets?
The characters, some of whom are quite horrifying, are all well portrayed and well rounded.
This book had me gasping in shock, then shedding tears at moments of extreme compassion and tenderness.
Strongly recommended. But beware – this book is almost impossible to put down.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Silent Scream by Angela Marsons for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1180418128