“The Birthday Girl” by Sarah Ward – Book Review

If you are looking to start another crime fiction series then I think this should be the one!

The protagonist of the series, Mallory Dawson, is a former Met detective who has had to retire due to medical reasons. She worked in London and was seriously stabbed in two places by a perpetrator she was arresting. She is divorced and the mother of one teenage son who now lives with his father, another London police officer. In this book she is just starting a new job as a night  manager/security guard for a pricey boutique hotel on an island off the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales. She definitely begins in the deep end, as she is left to run the hotel by herself when a hurricane force storm settles over the island cutting it off from the mainland.

The Cloister Hotel couldn’t be any more atmospheric. It was built as a convent originally, and has inherited it’s own ghost story. The hotel, some outbuildings, and a mausoleum are the only buildings on the tiny island.

Since it is set on an island, during a storm, it makes the perfect ‘locked room’ type mystery with an almost Agatha Christie feel. The enforced isolation affects both the staff and the guests of the hotel, which heightens the inherent suspense.

As the body count continues to rise, Mallory comes to realize that there is a renowned killer among the guests. A child killer, who has been protected in the media, so no one knows what the girl might look like now that she is an adult.

The storm worsens, Mallory’s injury is increasingly painful, and her adversary is a desperate and revengeful woman who has planned her crimes with meticulous attention to detail. With only a skeleton staff of herself, one maid, and the chef, Mallory must keep the other guests safe until the storm is over and help can arrive.

I thoroughly enjoyed every page of “The Birthday Girl” and I’m eager to read more of Mallory Dawson’s exploits in the next book in this series. Highly recommended!

I purchased a digital copy of this novel from Amazon.ca

Published by Canelo Crime – Publication date: April 6, 2023

ISBN: 9781804363157 ASIN: ‎ ‎ B0BNPNQWLB – 303 pagesSarah Ward is the author of four contemporary crime novels set in the Derbyshire Peak District. Her debut novel, In Bitter Chill, was described by the Daily Mail as a ‘tense, well-told story of loss and family secrets’. Her second book, A Deadly Thaw, was called ‘relentless in its grip’ by the Financial Times. The third book in the series, A Patient Fury, was The Observer’s Thriller of the Month and The Shrouded Path was described as ‘macabre and unsettling’ by The Guardian.

Her Gothic thriller, The Quickening, published using her middle name, Rhiannon Ward was a Radio Times book of 2020. The Shadowing was published in September 2021 and was a Daily Express book of the year.

Sarah is the writer of the Doctor Who audio drama The Unwilling Assassin for Big Finish and The Perils of Nellie Bly, featuring the Fifth Doctor.

Connect with Sarah Ward via her website, or  Twitter.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in 1st in series, Book Reviews, Canelo Crime, Mystery fiction, Suspense and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to “The Birthday Girl” by Sarah Ward – Book Review

  1. Carla says:

    I do like a good locked door mystery and the isolated island during a storm definitely adds some appeal. Great review, Lynne.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: “The Birthday Woman” di Sarah Ward – Recensione libro @CaneloCrime @canelo_co @sarahrward1 #TheBirthdayGirl #BookReview – My Blog

  3. yvonnembee says:

    Sounds very intriguing, I just bought a copy. Great review xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: “The Birthday Lady” di Sarah Ward – Recensione libro @CaneloCrime @canelo_co @sarahrward1 #TheBirthdayGirl #BookReview – My Blog

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