Publication Date: May 29, 2015
DI Kim Stone is back. She's just cracked a case involving child abuse and child pornography, but there's something unsettling about the case. Almost like something is missing.
Meanwhile, a rapist turns up dead. Kim and her team are called in to investigate, which soon reveals a much more sinister plot than a vengeful murder. Someone is conducting a twisted experiment with these murders.
Dealing with a sociopath who knows her weaknesses, Kim engages in what might be the most personal battle of all.
Something Angela Marsons does really well is grabbing my attention. From the moment I started this book, I've been thinking about it. Even when I'm not reading it, the story is still in the back of my mind. I don't know about you, but I love it when this happens while I'm reading. I love having books that constantly stay in the back of my mind.
I started this around the same time as Crown of Midnight, but I focused on that for awhile so that I could finish it. Also, I wanted to be able to have a review go up during NaNoWriMo because I didn't think I'd have the time to read a book. Sneaky? Not so much. Planned? Yeah, that sounds about right.
This series is written in such a way that you don't have to read them in chronological order to understand what's going on. Like most crime series, each book can be read as a standalone. So, if one of the books in this series doesn't interest you, that's perfectly fine and you can just skip it.
I've already said that the plot gripped me from the beginning, which it really did, and I think I might like this book better than the first. There's something about a person conducting experiments with murders that appeals to me on a....dangerously disturbing level. I think it's partly because there's a sociopath involved and I'm really intrigued by sociopathy and psychopathy. Okay, enough of me being weird and creepy about this. I really enjoyed seeing how the plot unfolded and how the investigation panned out. One of my favorite things about crime and mystery novels is the process of investigating the crime, coming across clues, and solving it. For some reason, that just really appeals to me.
This book deals a little more with the psychological side of things, as there's a sociopath involved. I really liked that because, like I said before, the psychology of things really interests me. It was fun to see why people did what they did, how easy it can be to influence someone through psychology, and how little things affected people in different ways. And I've always liked it when a book makes me wonder why a person acts the way they do and what their reasoning is. It's simply the process of understanding how a person's mind works that fascinates me so much.
Something I really like about this series is that there's no romance involved. There's no worry about love interest, no distractions from the case, and no angsty chapters where characters talk about their love lives. I always find it refreshing to read a book that doesn't have any kind of romance in it, which is probably another reason why I love this series so much.
I'm not going to go into much detail about the case or anything else about the plot because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. I also don't really know how to talk about this without giving away spoilers.
I do want to say, though, that this series can be pretty dark. If you've read the first book, you'll know what I mean. Angela Marsons chooses to write about plots and people who are more twisted than most novels feature. The murders aren't necessarily gruesome or gory, nor are there any excessively explicit scenes, but the events can be pretty dark. Ranging from memories to motives, these things are often a lot darker than you would expect. Characters often have dark pasts too. If you're someone who is easily disturbed or unsettled by disturbing memories, I would caution you to go into these books with the knowledge that you might have to put it down at some point in order to space out the darkness. I'm not saying that it'll affect you, necessarily, but you should be cautioned just in case. However, this is actually one of the reasons why I love her books so much. I enjoy the fact that she's willing to delve into a darker side of things.
The ending was really great! I thought I knew how things would turn out, but then there was a twist that took me completely by surprise. The way everything wrapped up was so satisfying, I honestly couldn't have asked for more. This has to be one of my favorite endings to a mystery book, because everything was so well explained in the end, and also made me excited for the next book, which is already out.
I really like Kim Stone. She's such an interesting character, and with each book, I enjoy her more and more. The way she develops and the way we learn more about her, it makes me feel so much compassion toward her. There's just something about her backstory that constantly brings my mind back to this series. I can't say that I necessarily relate to her, but there are a few little aspects of her personality that I can find similarities with.
There are several other characters we see again in this book, mostly Kim's team, but I don't feel like I know them well enough to really say anything. I do think it's really interesting to see how they interact with Kim and the different relationship dynamics, but that's all that I can really talk about. I would love to learn more about them in future books, or even have a case that involves one of her team members on a more personal level, just so I can get to know them better.
5 stars. I would really recommend this series if you enjoy crime and mystery novels. If you enjoy books like these with darker plots and character, I think you should definitely check this series out and pick up one of the books.
Thank you to NetGalley for hosting this on your site. Thank you also to Bookouture for approving my request to read this in exchange for an honest review.