Play Dead (D I Kim Stone) by Angela Marsons

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Play Dead (D I Kim Stone) by Angela Marsons

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The fourth book in the DI Kim Stone series delivers as a police procedural and as a thriller. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 390/9h35m Date: May 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1786810083

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Westerley Research Centre isn't somewhere you'd go for fun: it's a 'body farm' investigating human decomposition and you're likely to come across corpses in various states of decay in the grounds. So, nowhere could be better to dispose of a body, but it doesn't prevent DI Kim Stone and her team being called in when the body of a young woman, her face smashed in and bloodied, is discovered in amongst the other bodies. Within a matter of days a second girl is attacked and left for dead, heavily drugged and her mouth filled with soil. Stone and her team realise that a serial killer is at work. How many bodies are there in the grounds waiting to be uncovered? And who will be next? Then a local reporter disappears.

It could have been gruesome, too gory and unpleasant to read, but it wasn't. Logically, such places as Westerley must exist, in one form or another, even if their existence isn't publicised. You might hope that their security is a little better than Westerley's though. But, amazingly, this was the only point on which I felt that I had to suspend disbelief. Angela Marsons has built a superb team around Kim Stone and I really bought into how they work together and interact. There's a little friction between Stone and her superior, but the relationship is believable - he's used to her getting results and she's used to getting her own way.

The plot is impressive too. The missing reporter has never got on with Stone (to put it mildly) and the team's professionalism has to rise above any petty feelings of reluctance which they might harbour. Stone's always very definite with the team about this: they don't get to choose their victims and it's justice which matters, not what might have gone on in the past. They'll have to remember this when other victims surface.

The story's also an elegant look at how what happens to us when we're young scars us for life. No child has a perfect childhood - there's always going to be upset, loss and disappointment, but some children suffer abuse and neglect. How do some, such as Kim Stone, rise above it? And will even she ever be able to fully trust another human being?

The books in the series all read well as standalones: there might be the odd reference to an earlier case, such as an injury sustained, but there's nothing which could affect your enjoyment of an earlier book if you were to read it later. There is some character and relationship development which you might not fully appreciate if you read the books out of order and, besides, why deprive yourself of the pleasure of reading a good series in the correct order?

I listened to an audio download of Play Dead, which I bought myself. It's narrated by Jan Cramer and I enjoyed the reading. She has a good range of voices, although the children's voices annoyed on occasions, but that's me being very picky and it won't prevent me reading the next book in the series.

Angela Marsons' D I Kim Stone Novels in Chronological Order

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