For some time now I have noticed that the D.I. Kim Stone series has been highly praised by my fellow book bloggers. Therefore, I decided that despite my lengthy TBR, I would read the series in its entirety, one title every month. What a wise decision I made!
D.I. Kim Stone – An acerbic, brusque, and driven young woman who works as a Detective Inspector for the West Midlands Police, the second largest police force in the country. She is socially inept, and has been known to break the rules, as well as to disregard instructions and protocols in her search for justice. An insomniac, she is fueled by nervous energy and lots of coffee, and is beautiful, but she works hard to hide it. She is 34 years old, brilliant, hot-headed, and damaged. As a child, she suffered horribly, and was shunted from foster home to foster home. Only once did she experience a nurturing, loving relationship – and that was very short lived…. Now, when not working, her favourite thing to do is work at restoring vintage motorbikes. Bikes are her passion, and she uses a Kawasaki Ninja as her regular form of transport.
Other than her second in command, Bryant, she is friendless. Her one real weakness is her fondness for her adopted dog, Barney.
“Barney wasn’t keen on other people and certainly not on other dogs. Kim often wondered what had happened in his early years to make him such a complex little character. She supposed he wondered the same thing about her.”
Her team respect her and are very loyal. However… one of them defaced her coffee mug. LOL
Her two nemeses are cooking (which she is spectacularly bad at), and a local journalist by the name of Tracy Frost.
- D.S. Bryant, twelve years her senior, is Kim’s partner and dearest friend. He is married and the father of daughters.
- D.S. Kevin Dawson, young, vain, fit, and not yet mature. Yet each book in the series shows his growing potential to be a great police officer.
- Constable Stacy Wood, a diligent and hard-working local girl who excels at online research which is often invaluable to the team’s work.
D.C.I. Woodward (Woody) is Kim’s long-suffering superior. Like the rest of her team, he is loyal and stands up for her when the higher-ups would have her removed from the case. Kim gives him lots of reason to use his stress ball.
Keats is the local pathologist. He and Kim Stone have an acerbic but mutually respectful relationship.
“Inspector, if you spent less time on small talk, you’d save yourself… well, no time at all really.”
In DI Kim Stone’s fourth outing we find her and her team working a murder case. When they are instructed by their boss to attend a tour of Westerley, a biological research facility that studies the effects of various natural phenomenon on dead bodies left out in the open, they expect to find corpses… but not fresh ones. During their tour they stumble upon a young woman who was killed very recently. Her head has been bashed in with a rock and her mouth filled with dirt. After some investigation the team determine that the victim’s name is Jemima Lowe. Then another woman is found at Westerley. This time, although her injuries match those of Jemima, she is still alive… The killer was interrupted by Westerley’s security officer doing his evening rounds.
Kim and her team are stymied as to WHY the killer is leaving his victims at the Westerley facility. And… what links the victims?
The narrative of “Play Dead” is interspersed with sections which give the reader insight into the mind of the killer. He seems quite juvenile and refers to his mother as “Mummy” in his mind. It is clear he has experienced a deep-seated trauma at the hands of his manipulative and twisted mother.
“Cold cases were frustrating to any officer on the force. They stayed in the back of your mind like a conversation that had ended before you’d had your say.”
Simultaneously, Kim is working a cold case suggested to her by the journalist, Tracy Frost. Three years previously the body of a middle-aged man was found with his fingers removed after death. Because his body is still awaiting identification in the morgue, and his case never solved, Kim makes it her mission to determine who the dead man is and see his case closed.
This fourth novel in the series has proved to be a worthy successor to the first three. I enjoyed every minute of the read.
This time out Kim’s nemesis, journalist Tracy Frost, plays a bigger role than in previous novels. Although Kim and Tracy will likely never be friends, we learn more about Tracy’s past and are privy to the begrudging mutual respect the two women display toward each other.
Also, this time, Kim meets up again with Doctor Daniel Bate . The two share a spark of attraction, but Kim is not ready to share her life with anyone. She sends him packing back to Scotland.
The current murder case and the cold case Kim is working on turn out to be connected in a macabre way. The villain is deeply disturbed and scores full marks for the creepiness factor.
This was another stellar installment in what is fast becoming a favourite crime series.
By the time I finished this fourth novel in the series, I was left with the feeling once again that I wanted MORE Kim Stone. Lucky for me I purchased the entire series in order that I might read one installment every month for my “Marsons of the Month” blog series. I look forward to reading the fifth book, “Blood Lines” in May. Oh, and in case you didn’t already guess… “Play Dead” is highly recommended by me.
I purchased “Play Dead“ in Kindle format.
I read this book in April, but I’m late posting my review.
Angela Marsons discovered her love of writing at Primary School. She 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 self-published two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.
After many, many submissions she signed an eight book deal with Bookouture as their first crime author. Her D.I. Kim Stone novels have sold 3 million copies.
Angela Marsons is from Brierley Hill in the West Midlands and is a former security guard at the Merry Hill Shopping Centre. She continues to live in the Black Country with her partner and their bouncy Labrador and potty-mouthed parrot.
Follow Angela Marsons on Twitter.