4-star rating

Play Dead by Angela MarsonsSynopsis.

The dead don’t tell secrets… unless you listen.
The girl’s smashed-in face stared unseeing up to the blue sky, soil spilling out of her mouth. A hundred flies hovered above the bloodied mess.

Westerley research facility is not for the faint-hearted. A ‘body farm’ investigating human decomposition, its inhabitants are corpses in various states of decay. But when Detective Kim Stone and her team discover the fresh body of a young woman, it seems a killer has discovered the perfect cover to bury their crime.

Then a second girl is attacked and left for dead, her body drugged and mouth filled with soil. It’s clear to Stone and the team that a serial killer is at work – but just how many bodies will they uncover? And who is next?

As local reporter, Tracy Frost, disappears, the stakes are raised. The past seems to hold the key to the killer’s secrets – but can Kim uncover the truth before a twisted, damaged mind claims another victim …?

The Good Bits.

I’ll admit that when I read the first DI Kim Stone novel a few pages in I had to stop myself from a DNF. I did not like it. But then I got a few chapters in, I started flipping the pages, and now four books later I’m hooked on the series. The premise for this book was as interesting as the others and I was really drawn in with the whole body farm concept. It was something I had never even heard about, the concept of creating multiple scenarios and leaving bodies there to study their decomposition.

This novel brought back the familiar cast and some previous supporting characters including reporter Tracy Frost and kind-of-maybe-sort-of love interest whose name I forget because he’s forgettable. But I was happy to see Tracy reappear again. I love how much of a gray area character she is. Sometimes she would do something to make me hate her, and the next I felt sorry for her, but I was always interested in what she was up to. In this novel, you get to learn more about her backstory and how she became who she is today. Kim, as usual, was fantastic. In terms of character she’s a goody-two-shoes cop, but her methods are anything but. She’s not afraid to bend the rules to deliver justice. You also get a look into Kim’s past in this novel and it’s heart-breaking. I had to work to hold in tears, which is the most emotional I’ve gotten with this series.

The thriller aspects themselves I liked. I was invested in the mystery and how all the victims were connected. And overall, it kept me turning the page rapidly and the stakes were high enough to keep me engaged.

Sour Grapes.

The kind-of-sort-of-maybe love interest whose name I can’t remember. When he showed up on the scene in this book I was aware he was from a previous book, but I couldn’t remember him to save my life. I had thought he was the negotiator from the last book who Kim seemed to be flirting with, but then I realized he wasn’t. He was some sort of archeologist or similar from a book before that even and I couldn’t have cared less about him. In my ideal world, Kim would date a woman that could cook much better than she can, and they would live together with their dog and it would be beautiful. Hmm… maybe I should pitch this to Angela on Twitter?

I guessed at what I assumed was meant to be the big twist, but I will say that it took me until halfway through the book to figure it out. And there was a final twist at the end that I hadn’t anticipated. Though I did feel the ending wrapped up a little too nicely.

The Last Bite.

Another great installment of the DI Kim Stone series and I can’t wait until the next one comes out. If you’re looking for an intriguing serial killer mystery with a tough as nails female detective, you could do no wrong with any of the Kim Stone books, least of all with Play Dead.

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What do you think of supporting characters getting bigger roles? Good? Bad? Don’t Care?

Let’s do lunch again next week!