I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on book number 11 in the Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons on my blog today, Child’s Play. If you’re not yet reading this series you don’t know what you’re missing out on.
Finally we’re playing a game. A game that I have chosen. I give one last push of the roundabout and stand back. ‘You really should have played with me,’ I tell her again although I know she can no longer hear.
Late one summer evening, Detective Kim Stone arrives at Haden Hill Park to the scene of a horrific crime: a woman in her sixties tied to a swing with barbed wire and an X carved into the back of her neck.
The victim, Belinda Evans, was a retired college Professor of Child Psychology. As Kim and her team search her home, they find an overnight bag packed and begin to unravel a complex relationship between Belinda and her sister Veronica.
Then two more bodies are found bearing the same distinctive markings, and Kim knows she is on the hunt for a ritualistic serial killer. Linking the victims, Kim discovers they were involved in annual tournaments for gifted children and were on their way to the next event.
With DS Penn immersed in the murder case of a young man, Kim and her team are already stretched and up against one of the most ruthless killers they’ve ever encountered. The clues lie in investigating every child who attended the tournaments, dating back decades.
Faced with hundreds of potential leads and a bereaved sister who is refusing to talk, can Kim get inside the mind of a killer and stop another murder before it’s too late?
Whenever Angela Marsons has a new book out, I never have to read the blurb before I press the purchase button. In the eleventh book in the Kim Stone series, Child’s Play, the discovery of a body on a park bench begins a complex investigation. Angela Marsons delves into the psychology of her characters in her latest book. What she shines a light on is how crucial events in a person’s past can have a devastating impact on later moments in their lives.
What Angela Marsons does so well at in her books, is that she manages to bring each character to life, even the characters who aren’t regulars in the series. There’s a chilling opening sequence to this book. As the book begins, the story is told from the point of view of the killer, and it makes for a chilling first scene. I got the feeling straight away that this was someone who was after revenge, and I wanted to know what had happened to drive them towards this devastating decision. And this is what makes Angela’s books so gripping; she makes you want to find out more, and she hooks you right from the start.
When Angela introduces us to Victoria, the sister of the woman who has been found murdered, I knew that there were going to be a lot of obstacles placed in Kim’s way. Victoria doesn’t seem to want to help Kim and her team at all to find the person responsible. As Kim delves further into their relationship and their past, it’s clear that there’s something that Victoria does not want to discuss with them, and it’s going to be very hard for Kim to get the answers from her. From the moment Kim first speaks to Victoria, I wanted to know what was going on in Victoria and her sister’s relationship, and why she was acting the way she was.
I was not expecting this book to go down the path that Angela took the story, and this made me even more intrigued. But this part of the story only becomes clearer as Kim finds out more about what happened in Victoria and her sister’s past, so I don’t want to talk too much more about the plot.
Another character who comes to the forefront in Child’s Play is DS Penn, who is a latecomer to the series. Penn is in the middle of another investigation which is threatening to fall apart at the seams. I liked seeing his character grow in this book, and it’ll be interesting to see how his character develops in future books in the series.
Kim’s friendship with her colleague Bryant is really one of the strong points in this series. I think I may have said this in one of my previous reviews, but my favourite scenes are often when it is Kim and Bryant alone together. But also Stacey is a character who has grown stronger over the last several books, and I’ve enjoyed seeing her go from strength to strength as well. This time around a new character joins Kim’s team, and it’s going to be intriguing to see how she fits in, especially as Kim refers to her as Tinkerbell. It made me laugh a few times as Kim seems to find her cheeriness, especially irritating. But I think she’ll be a good addition to the team.
As always, what you can expect from an Angela Marsons book is a gripping story that will keep you turning those pages. The short snappy chapters keep the pace flying forward, and as ever the plot and the personality of the characters draws you in straight away. Another top read from this series.
Publication date: 11th July 2019
Print length: 352 pages
Child’s Play is available to buy: