You would think that by now the series would be running out of steam, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The prologue hooked me in a way no other start to a book ever has.
In places the story had me holding my breath till I was turning blue.
And the last page left me Gob Smacked and reaching for a glass of Jack Daniels.
A family dead. Mom, Dad, and two children all shot and the mother is still holding the gun.
Surely this is a straight forward murder suicide.
DI Kim Stone’s not sure. As she starts to dig into the family history she starts to uncover secrets. Helen, the mother has history of depression., but is that enough to tip her over the edge.
The team dig deeper and the clues start to surface, but it’s not just clues which are surfacing, so is a face from Kim’s past.
She receives a threat to her life. Typically she shrugs it of but this one’s serious and it has her rattled. Rattled enough to send Barney away on a holiday for his safety.
As she continues to lead the team looking at the death of the family a psychopath that is getting close, metaphorically and physically.
I challenge anybody not to read this in one sitting. It’s a book that brings a new meaning to the word tense, there was no way I could put it down
Angela Marsons has a way of writing that has always engaged with me. One of the things that her writing has is a realism that I can associate with.
It’s not just that her stories are based where I live, it’s not just the fact the characters are so realistic. It’s the empathy I have with Kim Stone.
That empathy really hit home in this book.
In all the crime scenes I attended, in all the fires I investigate, there has only ever been one thing that got to me. It was the normality of the scene. The rooms that hadn’t been affected. The rooms where it looked like the people who lived there were about to walk in and start their day.
In this book Angela Marsons captures that through Kim Stone better than anybody has captured it before.
The bar just got raised again.
Pages: 425. Audio book length: 8:33. Publisher: Bookouture Available now.
When a man, Steven Harte, walks into a Police Station and asks to speak to Detective Inspector Kim Stone, with information about the disappearance of a young girl 25 years ago she initially gives him short shrift.
But when he says she will want to talk to him again soon, just as another little girl goes missing under very similar circumstances , he gets her attention.
Is he building an alibi, does he know something relevant, or is he just playing with Kim’s head.
And, as if one person playing with her head isn’t enough, the Queen of Psychopaths, Kim’s nemesis, Dr Alex Throne is sitting in prison trying to plot her way to freedom.
She knows Kim won’t be able to resist visiting her if she can get a message to her, all she needs is a phone with a number Kim doesn’t recognise. Easy for a functioning, psychotic, sociopath. But somebody will have to suffer.
Meanwhile. Kim’s team are investigating the latest disappearance and Stacy starts to notice a pattern.
The little girl that went missing 25 years ago was never found, but was she the first.
To find the clues that will help the team find the latest girl the team start to dig into historical cases, none of which had been solved.
How can respected business man Steven Harte possibly be linked to all of these cases?
Why is he leading Kim on a merry dance across the Black Country. He seems to anticipate their every move, and ingratiates himself with her team.
Can he possibly be a cold blooded kidnapper, and killer?
All the time the investigation is going on Dr Alex is plotting, should Kim be spending more time making sure she stays locked away, or is she being blindsided.
This is a belter of a story.
I recently watched a live Stream with Angela Marsons talking about how she comes up with stories for this amazing series. The way a little thing will catch her attention, then develops into a plot.
The way she is intrigued by finding out about specialist fields within Criminology and Forensics. The fact that she has bookshelves full of research text books.
It’s not a coincidence that this is the favourite series of so many people, selling millions around the world. Was it Tiger Woods who said “the harder I practice, the luckier I get”
Angela puts the hard miles into her research, often digging deep just to give a short chapter authenticity and realism.
The people, the settings, the stories, are all very realistic.
But there was something she said in the live stream that really resonated with me. Readers don’t need to know the little things, “like how many forms a cop needs to fill out” What they want to read is what they actually expect of a crime book, based on their knowledge from TV series and documentaries.
Nobody does this better than Angela. I work in the forensic field and have been involved in major investigations. I’ve never once thought anything she wrote was unrealistic.
Yet I have an acquaintance who could not be further removed from that life. Who has no experience of the police, or a police investigation, who is absolutely hooked on these books.
If Angela can keep both of us enthralled, and eagerly waiting for each instalment, she is definitely doing something right, very very right.
This year has been a stellar year for Crime Fiction books, but Angela Marsons still sits reading get at the top of my charts and looking at Amazon Chart today, the day after publication for this book, right at the top of most other readers must read list as well.
It must be hard coming up with inspirations for new stories in a long running series but Angela Marsons just keeps raising the bar and in Twisted Lies she’s done it again.
I don’t know where she gets the ideas, or what her Google history looks like, but the methods of death in the murders in this book are brilliantly original and gruesome.
At the start Kim Stone has to deal with her worst nightmare. Her not-so-favourite journalist, Tracy Frost, has been granted an all access day with Kim, a day that is going to have quite an impact on Frost in more ways than one
That day is cut short by the discovery of a body, but not before Frost has accompanied Kim on a visit to the family of a domestic murder victim.
And so opens up two strands of what is an absolute cracker of a story that had me hook-line-and-sinker from the first page right up till the last full stop
Frost is off trying to dig up the dirt on the abusive husband of the domestic murder victim. He’s media savvy and he’s trying to paint himself as the innocent man.
Kim and her team have the first of a series of gruesome murders to solve. But nothing in this case is as it seems and the team hit dead end after dead end.
As frustrating as the case is Kim’s team carry on relentlessly as the body count mounts.
The chapters in this book flew by a a breathless pace, and when the end arrived I though I could take a breath, until, the last few lines started with “you have a call” and the rest of the sentence had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up.
Now I have to wait till November to find out where that phone call will lead.
Angela Marsons fans will already know the characters in this book. Kim and her team have a great relationship with themselves and the readers.
I was trying to work out why this series sticks out, why it has remained my favourite series when there are so many good one out there.
The crimes, and the crime stories, are always stunningly well written, well described, well placed, and realistic.
The recurring characters of Kim and her team, as well as the recurring occasional characters, such as Tracy Frost are so well written I’m half expecting to bump into them on the streets of the Black Country, where I live.
But the fact that the characters that only appear for a couple of pages are just as well written, and described, as all of the main characters really lifts these books
This is not just a Police Procedural series, or a series of Psychological Thrillers, although it is both. This is destined to be one of the Classical Crime Series, the Classical Crime Series of our generation.
Angela Marsons and Kim Stone are what Colin Dexter and Morse were to the 1980’s and 90’s and Sue Grafton was to the 2000’s with her Alphabet books
The wait is over, DI Kim Stone is back. I really can’t say how excited I get knowing that the next instalment is due. Since book one this has been my favourite Crime Thriller / Police Procedural series.
Why, because Angela Marsons gets cop humour, and uses it to bring a bit of light into what are often very dark crimes stories, and she gets the community she sets the crimes in. I live right in the middle of Kim Stones patch and not once have I said, that’s not right, or that wouldn’t happen.
Most of all, I love the fact that not everybody is safe. She’s already killed off one of the central, and much liked, officers in the series. That means she might do it again, so there’s never the ease of sitting back and thinking “It will all be ok in the end” That alone makes every book suspenseful.
So, Deadly Cry, what is this story, and will everybody make it through to the end.
In a reverse to most crimes, a little girl has lost her mother in a shop on the local high street, but its not the girl that’s in danger, her mom has been killed in a lies dead just around the corner.
She is just the first victim, and it appears that the killer is trying to communicate with Kim, asking her for help to stop hurting people, and they are escalating, so time is of the essence.
Meanwhile there are two major distractions from the investigation. Stacy has been asked to look at Cold Cases rotated from other teams, and she thinks she’s found a serial rapist. As well as leaving Kim’s Team short handed, by going against Kims wishes and continuing her own investigation, is she putting herself in danger, again.
Kim herself is given the run around by her boss, who is insistent that she organises the Police protection of a Wag who is publishing her kiss and tell book, and is receiving threats from trolls on line. I have to say, that as serious as this story line is, there is one comment from Bryant that made me spit out my coffee with laughter when I read it.
So with all of these distractions it’s inevitable that something is going to get missed. There was a time in the story when I said out loud “make the connection” when a team meeting was taking place. My wife knew what I was reading and just looked at me saying “Its only a book” How wrong could she be.
As well as the crimes there is the ongoing personal stories. Kim and her team are so much more than just Police Officers, they have lives, families, emotions, all of which add to the stories. It’s a shame that so much more of our community can’t see past the uniform or warrant card, and realise there’s a human doing a job.
For those of you who have read the series, and or my reviews, you will know I loved the character Dr Alex Throne, a real psychopath, who was a recurring character in a few books. Well I think we may have another one making their first appearance in this book, and what a character they are.
I have been lucky enough to be in to this series since it started, and here, in book 12, we have the best one yet.
Where Angela Marsons manages to pull new, original, and gripping plots from, whilst keeping us engaged in her cast of central characters, is a mystery but long may it continue.
Detective Inspector Kim Stone works out of Halesowen Police Station. A perfect place to set a crime series as it sits right on the edge of the Black Country and the rambling countryside, giving Angela plenty of scope to have realistic crimes in real areas.
This book stretches across both. Vulnerable people are being recruited around Dudley and introduced to a “retreat” at the remote Unity Farm.
That alone wouldn’t come on Kim’s horizon but, when a girl is found dead that does. At first inspection it looks like a suicide but something pricks at Kim’s mind and she looks a bit deeper. Before long she is convinced the girl has been murdered and that the scene has been staged.
Why did the girls social media footprint end 3 years ago. Why are her parents behaving suspiciously when they talk to the Police.
Meanwhile more bodies are found and some tenacious work by one of the team manages to link the finds with people who went missing under dubious circumstances
Eventually Unity farm becomes the focus of inquiries but how can the team penetrate the façade that the owner puts up of an innocent retreat.
I’m not taking this any further because I don’t want to give the plot away. Needless to say it’s a gripping story, and for those of you who have read the other books you know that nobody is safe and that not all of the books have a happy ending.
This made this book even more suspenseful. There were time when I caught myself holding my breath. There were other times when I exclaimed out loud, prompting raised eyebrow from my wife.
Five years ago today the first DI Km Stone book was published. I read that first book a few months later and immediately read the second.
I haven’t stopped reading them since, with book 12, Killing Mind, out soon I thought I’d look back at my first review which looked at both Silent Scream, book 1, and Evil Games, book 2
Silent Scream & Evil Games Angela Marsons
Two books one blog. There’s a reason for that. I read the last page of Silent Scream and immediately opened the first page of Evil Games.
I don’t like giving plots away so I’m not going to talk too much about the story line of each of these, I’ll just talk about the writing and main character.
I enjoyed these books more than most others I’ve read over the last few years. Angela Marsons has created a brilliantly complex character in Detective Inspector Kim Stone and hopefully we’ll have a few more outings with her and her team in the future.
Silent Scream introduces DI Stone in a tale centred on child abuse at a Local Authority Home. Are current day murders linked with abuse at the home? In todays society we are becoming more aware of these abuse cases and it makes the book relevant and up to date.
Stones own history mirrors that of the children who stayed at the home, and her back-story is slowly revealed as the book moves on.
The conclusion of the book is not as easy to predict as some stories of the same genre, and with twists and turn to the very end this book is a great read.
Evil Games follows on, but can be read separately, from Evil Games.
In this book Stone identifies the link between several serious crimes, including a murder. More of Stones back-story is revealed and the reader is given a greater insight into her psyche.
Along the way Stone comes into contact with her nemesis and an intellectual and psychological battle takes place that kept me enthralled right to the end of the book.
Twists and turns throughout show that Angela Marsons has a knack for complex plots without resorting to fanciful and unbelievable stories.
Angela Marsons has set these books close to where I live. Her descriptions of the places and people are perfect. It is a testament to her that at one time in the Evil Games I shouted out loud that she had something wrong, only to realise she was inventing a shop in which a suspect child abuser was working, maybe it is best to use a fictional premises in that case.
Further testament to her research skills is found in the derelict children’s home she uses in Silent Scream. It used to exist, it had a bad reputation amongst the locals, and it had a fire. I know this because I investigated it when I was still in the Fire Service.
I have a feeling that, like many other authors, Angela Marsons is only published locally.
One of the great things about e-books and companies like Amazon is it has allowed me to read books by people I would never have had access to by simply walking into my local shop.
So wherever you are in the world, get a copy of these books. Sit back and enjoy
For those of us who are already hooked by this series, this is a great prequal. For those of us who haven’t read any of the DI Kim Stone books, this is a great introduction to the best crime series on the shelves right now.
Either way this is a brilliant read which will have people turning the pages at a feverish rate.
First Blood takes us right back to the formation of Kim’s team, and her first day at Halesowen Police Station.
It’s a last chance scenario with Kim having made too many enemies to be accepted at most nicks in the West Midlands.
However she has an ally she knows nothing about, somebody who has known her for many years before she joined the force, and has kept an eye on her career since she joined.
This story looks at why Kim is a bit of a pariah in the force. She is definitely an acquired taste to work with, but her conviction rate should out-weigh that.
On her first day she meets her team. DS Bryant, a middle aged man who should be at least a DI at that stage in his career, so why isn’t he, and how will he react to a young DI.
DS Kevin Dawson, and I’d forgotten what a pain in the behind he was when the series first started. A man capable of disrupting even the most evenly balanced relationship, and certainly not a team player.
Brand new DC Stacey Wood, a shy almost naïve, young woman whose hidden talent is soon found to be “data-mining” from a desk. Not what DS Dawson considers to be real policing.
The first day should be an easy welcome session, but a body is found staked out on the Clent Hills. The body has been stabbed, decapitated and had the genitals removed.
Kim judges the team by how they react to the scene, and as the investigation goes on, she watches the dynamic of the team, how they work, how they bond, all the time sussing out their strengths and weaknesses. At the same time Bryant, Wood, and Stacey are doing exactly the same.
At times the team, and Stone, have as many questions about each other as they do about the case. One of the team decides to research Stone’s past and makes some startling discoveries. Will this affect the way she’s looked at?
The solving of the crimes is the main thread in this book; but just as enthralling is the thread that explores the team members and how they reacted to each other when they first meet, and during this first investigation.
I loved this book from cover to cover. It can be read as a stand-alone, or the first in a series, or as I look at it the latest in the best series there is.
The book fills some gaps and explains the relationship between many of the characters in the series, not all of them on the team.
There is a saying “There is only one chance to make a first impression” In this book we see those first impressions as the team is brought together.
But this book is a contrary to that saying. This is a second chance for those of us who follow the series to have that first meeting with Stone and the gang, and it’s absolutely brilliant.
As if this series needed a hook to get you into a book. Yet Angela Marsons has started this one with the most original, and toe curling, murders of the series.
The book starts with a murder in a kids playground. It’s a bit of a mystery where this murder fits in as its set years before the main body of the book, but fit in it does, and it’s part of a brilliant mystery.
Moving forward to the present day Kim and her team are called to a murder in a local park (and when I say local its where I take my dog for a walk most days). The murder victim is posed and the murderer has left a signature, but what does it all mean.
Kim lets her team work to their strengths. Stacy is set to work trawling the internet, whilst Kim and Bryant hit the streets.
The newest member of the team, Penn, is called back to his old team, and the story that unfolds for him is every Police Officers worst nightmare. Has he put the wrong man in jail. This story alone would have made a great book.
Kim is also fighting the Brass in the Police force. Owing to recent reviews showing that officers are burning out, along with the constrictions of austerity, she is forced to make her team work the case on a 9-5 basis, she and they hate it.
To make up for the lack of Penn, and the lack of available work hours, Kim is given a new officer, a 24 year old PC called Tiffany, who is a bubble of energy and enthusiasm. At first Kim, and Stacy, try to reject the help but soon realise they are stuck with their new yappy (and for us from the Black Country Yampy) puppy of an officer.
As the bodies mount Kim’s team are stretched to the limit. Will burn out claim any of them?
Book 11 in the DI Kim Stone series and again Angela Marsons has given us a brilliantly crafted book.
It’s no secret this is my favourite series in the crime fiction genre. I do wonder sometimes if it’s because the books are set where I live, but then I read the blogs from other reviewers around the world, and realise that if they were set in Mongolia I’d still love the stories.
Angela Marsons has created a fictional team in a real world. The crimes she writes about are all too realistic. The worries and concerns of the Police Officers, the Victims, the Witnesses, and the Criminals are written in a way that lets the reader engage. Empathy and sympathy for some characters, and anger at others are emotions which each of the books evokes aplenty.
In my very first blog, about my life and how reading has been my companion, hobby, and at times escape, I recall how I read all of the Sven Hassle war books on my first ship. I wrote how when I’d finished the series I felt like I’d lost some friends. I don’t know when this series is going to end, I hope not for a while yet, but I have the feeling I’m going to miss Kim and her Team just as much, and probably a lot more.
Its not often I’m lost for words, but I’ve run out of superlatives to describe this series. Ten books ago Angela Marsons introduced us to a series of characters based in the Black Country.
The main character is DI Kim Stone. A DI in the Major Investigation Team in Halesowen Police Station in the West Midlands.
Halesowen is a small town on the outskirts of the urban sprawl that makes up the Metropolitan Borough of the West Midlands. Its right on the border of what most people would call the area of greater Birmingham, and the sprawling countryside of Worcester.
It’s actually in the borough of Dudley, one of the seven boroughs that make up the West Midlands, but more importantly it’s part of the Black Country.
That is what makes it such a special place to set crime stories.
Dudley has some of the most affluent parts of the West Midlands, close to the country, and some of the poorest parts where it borders Sandwell. It has rich gated communities, run down industrial areas, and some of the poorest social housing estates in the UK. Its population commute into Birmingham City Centre to sit in smart offices and high end retail shops, or work in the manufacturing, scrap meatl, or haulage business.
The black Country has a hard working history, and this ethic is seen daily in its population; but just like everywhere else there are the freeloaders who never intend to do a day’s work as long as the state will give them benefits.
Then there are the people who pray on both ends of the community. Drug sellers target the rich with designer drugs and well cut class A drugs, and at the same time pray on the vulnerable with less well, and dangerously cut, class A drugs and marijuana.
Addicts are addicts and once hooked will look to fund their next hit. The desperate will turn to crime.
Prostitution has been forced indoors over the last decade with sex being sold in private flats or thinly veiled massage parlours. This has led to illegal immigrants being forced into the sex trade alongside some desperate local people.
Illegal immigrants are also being used as slaves in retail and manufacturing.
Street kids are turning to violence.
Post code gangs are frequently a problem, fighting for territory to sell their wares, both human and chemical.
But most of its population are just your average family members trying to get along with their neighbours.
So, as you can see, Angela Marsons has chosen a great area to set her crimes. Just about anything that could make up a serious crime happens in the area, and so can be portrayed realistically in her books.
The characters she writes about are just as real as her crimes.
Kim Stone is epic. A kid-from-care made good.
In the first few books her character is established as one of the best cops in British Crime Fiction, her back story is slowly revealed showing how her life has evolved and how she has become the successful detective she has.
Her team also have good back stories. The ever reliant Bryant, her Detective Sergeant is every bit as fundamental to these stories as Lewis is to Morse, or Watson is to Holmes. He acts as her stabiliser and suffers the frustration of seeing Stone struggling through some investigations, but more significantly her personal life.
DC Stacy Wood, the quiet detective that is really good at information trawling and working on a computer, but not so good on face to face encounters. Watching her develop through the series, as she finds her confidence, and becomes a tour-de-force of a cop, is something that would not ever be achieved this well in a single book, or short series.
DC Kev Dawson, young, handsome, cock-sure, but an integral part of the team. His character changes as much as Woods, but in a totally different way.
Then there’s the fringe characters that keep recurring, Keats the pathologist with his love hate relationship with Stone. The Forensic Teams, and Senior Police Officers
Then there’s reporters. One in particular, that has a strange relationship with Stone, to say they use each other when they want something is an understatement. But they both know they need each other and their fraught working relationship is entertaining throughout the series.
Of course, there’s the criminals. A vast array of them over the ten books, all realistically written, all with back stories to help the reader engage with them. Some of them recurring through several stories; and for every criminal there’s a victim who is equally well portrayed, often eliciting as much empathy as sympathy from the reader.
That brings us back to this book. DEAD MEMORIES finds Stone and the team looking at some of their past investigations as a murderer appears to be using Stone’s history to set their crimes. Is it a message to her, or is it the prelude to an attack on her. Is somebody trying to ruin her reputation, her life, or kill her.
I love this series, and as I said at the beginning of this blog I’ve run out of superlatives to describe the books in this series.
Safe to say Silent Scream, book one in the series, was one of the best books I’ve ever read, and each book has just got better and better.
My review of DEADLY MEMORIES will be on-line in February as part of the Blog Tour, but if you haven’t found Angela Marsons yet get yourself on Amazon, or down to the bookshop, and treat yourself to what I think is the best crime series out there.
If I wasn’t already a massive fan of this series I would have been hooked in the first few pages.
DI Kim Stone is back at work, freshly out of the plaster that protected the leg she broke in the previous book. Her leg may be healing but her emotions, and that of her tight knit team, are still in tatters.
When a body is found in a park, not 2 miles from Kim’s Police she is stunned to find that it is that of a man that was so closely linked to her last investigation.
As more bodies pile there seems to be a link to Russell’s Hall Hospital, but what has this hospital and Heathcrest School got in common?
Is it just a coincidence that the team are investigating a crime that is linked to the place where none of them really want to be, back where one of their friends, a colleague died so recently.
The story looks at the secrets kept by groups and families, and how loyalties can forged on the most ridiculous of assumptions or beliefs.
It looks at how feelings can fester and cause hidden harm.
But as good as the plot of the crimes and the investigations of them are, this book is about much more.
This book is a rollercoaster of a ride through the investigation of some startlingly believable crimes, which is being carried out by a team that is struggling with the loss of a close friend.
If you have read the other books in this series, you will know the cast of characters well. You will understand what they are going through, and you will empathise that they each do it in their own particular ways. Just like in real life this team is trying to pull together in a time of grief, whilst almost self-destructing in their self-imposed isolation.
Then there was always going to be the question of how Angela Marsons would replace one of her main characters that has been an integral part of the previous 8 books.
Well she found a very interesting character that had appeared a couple of times in the previous stories and dropped him into the team.
It was never going to be easy for the team to accept him and the awkwardness in the office is captured beautifully.
Will the team ever accept a replacement, is this the right guy.
Will his eccentricity help him, or hinder his integration?
When book 8 was published social media was full of reviews saying they were in tears at the end, I might have had a bit of dust in my eyes myself.
For me the end of this book is even more emotional. A conversation between 2 of the main characters wrung so many bells for me it left me with a handful of dust in my eyes.
Every time a new book in this series becomes available I review it and say that it’s the best one yet.
Well its happened again, this is the best one yet.
If you are new to the series this book could be read as a stand-alone, but I would suggest reading the previous book , The Dying Truth, first.
In fact if you are new to the series I would suggest reading them all in order. I can’t think of a better way of recommending 8 fantastic Crime Thriller books.