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.
“No matter what the day held, Barney’s welcome was enough to put a smile on her face.”
Her team respect her and are very loyal. And no wonder – Kim never asks her team members to do anything that she would not do herself. She is fiercely protective of people she cares about and has an overriding passion for her job.
D.S. Bryant, twelve years her senior, is Kim’s partner and dearest friend. Devoted to his wife and daughter, Bryant is the glue that holds Kim’s team together. Their banter is a delight to read.
This time out, Bryant is woefully distracted by his involvement in a case from decades ago when he was a patrol copper.
Constable Stacy Wood, a diligent and hard-working local girl who excels at online research and data-mining which is often invaluable to the team’s success. Stacy is in a lesbian relationship and lives with her girlfriend. They plan to marry and in this novel Stacy is unsuccessfully trying to lose weight before her wedding.
D.S. Austin Penn, is the newest member of the team, but not a complete stranger as he has worked with them twice before for short terms. Penn arrives at work every morning carrying a ‘man-bag’ and a tupperware container of cakes. When not working, he cares for his mentally challenged brother because their mother is terminally ill. This time out, Penn is more firmly entrenched in the team’s dynamic.
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. “He was a police officer at heart not a paper pusher, which made him an exceptionally good boss.”
Tiffany Moore, who we met when she filled the vacancy created by Penn’s partial absence in the last book, plays a larger role this time. Her innocent persona, sunny disposition and youthful looks is just what the team needs to infiltrate the cult. They enlist Tiff’s help…
Kim and her partner Bryant have signed off on what appears to be a tragic suicide. Upon further thought and acute powers of observation, Kim realizes that the supposed suicide is in fact a murder. A murder with ties to “Unity Farm” – a place that is reputed to be a ‘cult’ right in their midst! Kim’s not sure at first that it is a cult, but the facts mount and it seems evident that the Farm’s leader uses emotional manipulation and coercion to further his own gains.
When people try to leave ‘Unity Farm’ they have a tendency to wind up dead…
Tied to their investigation into the cult is the enigmatic character of Kane. A large, muscular man dressed in black. Kim aims to find out more about him and just what part he plays in the bigger picture of recent events.
Then, Kim is filled with remorse when she realizes that she has inadvertently placed a police officer in mortal danger.
This is the 12th novel in the fabulous D.I. Kim Stone series. If you haven’t yet started the series…. why haven’t you?
Marson’s characters are becoming more and more like family to me. The series just seems to go from strength to strength. I highly recommend though that this series be read in order to fully realize its brilliance and appreciate the evolving dynamic between the characters.
This time out, the subject matter was particularly disturbing to me as any reference to ‘cults’ and any type of mind control or manipulation makes me unsettled and distressed.
Thankfully, Angela Marsons balances her disturbing subject matter with liberal lacings of witty sarcasm which I thoroughly enjoy.
As I devoured this 12th novel in the series, I felt even more invested in the characters than I was with the previous eleven titles. I will certainly recommend the series to all lovers of gritty crime fiction. I have read all twelve novels in the series, but have not yet read the prequel. I look forward to reading the future installments in this brilliant crime series. Oh, and in case you didn’t already guess… “Killing Mind” is very highly recommended by me.
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Bookouture via NetGalley.
ISBN: 9781838887315 ASIN: B084VNRRD6 367 pages
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.