Book Title: Play Dead
Author: Angela Marsons
Series: D.I. Kim Stone #4
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Fiction
Date Read: 05/10/16
Pub Date: 05/20/16
Westerley research facility is not for the faint-hearted. A ‘body farm’ investigating human decomposition, its inhabitants are corpses in various states of decay. But when Detective Kim Stone and her team discover the fresh body of a young woman, it seems a killer has discovered the perfect cover to bury their crime.
Then a second girl is attacked and left for dead, her body drugged and mouth filled with soil. It’s clear to Stone and the team that a serial killer is at work – but just how many bodies will they uncover? And who is next?
As local reporter, Tracy Frost, disappears, the stakes are raised. The past seems to hold the key to the killer’s secrets – but can Kim uncover the truth before a twisted, damaged mind claims another victim …?
I’m going to let you in on a little secret… Ever since my husband took me to Knoxville when we were dating to show me around his old stomping grounds and casually threw in the body farm, I’ve been obsessed. So you can imagine my pure giddiness when I saw Angela Marsons was coming out with another novel involving my favorite, surly detective AND A BODY FARM!!!!! Its like this book was written just for me; thanks Angie! 🙂 This was by far the best DI Kim Stone novel to date, but that’s like saying “Wow, this is the best bowl of ice cream I’ve ever tasted!”; all ice cream is delicious but sometimes you come across that bowl that was utter perfection. This book was utter perfection.
“There was so much about this murder that was personal. Her instinct
was telling her that Jemima had not been some random woman taken with
no thought or care. Her killer had wanted her for a reason.”
We are immediately thrown into multiple lines of action as the story begins. The book is spaced nicely with Marsons’ trademark form of including entries from an unknown character (*spoiler alert- this person always ends up bad). I love how books 3 & 4 have started with the solving of a case that we are on the outskirts of; we have some form of immediate closure that gives us some peace before jumping into what we know will be a very graphic and disturbing ride. The storyline revolves around a serial killer who is targeting seemingly familiar women.
“Of course she knew the persona she projected, and it was intentional. It was her only
form of defense… It wasn’t armor she’d been born with. it had grown over her
skin like a shield over the years, inch by inch, until she no longer knew how to take it off.”
Remember Tracy Frost, the obnoxiously sneaky reporter from Lost Girls that we all loved to hate? We finally get a better glimpse into who and what formed her into the impulsive and self-centered character we all know and love. She starts sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong in this case and it costs her more than she bargained for. However, she’s not the only character we get a deeper connection with.
“She marveled at his easy manner and affable nature. He was one of life’s charmers,
possessing the ability to relate to most people he met. She wondered how that quality
had actually been inserted into his personality. Had Bryant been the kid everyone had flocked around at school, or was it a quality that he had grown into and perfected over the years?”
Kim learns a lot in this novel, as there is a great deal of deeper character development all around in this story. There is a particular scene that I won’t spoil, but it ended up being one of my favorite moments in the book when Kim learns a valuable lesson from Bryant and Woody on how there is more than one way to get results. Bryant in turn gets to learn a little more about Kim from an old coworker. We also get another glimpse into Ted Knowles, a familiar figure from Kim’s past. I’m still hoping for the day that those two have a deep, fulfilling conversation in working through Kim’s past issues.
There is a secondary cold case the team picks up in exchange for something from Tracy involving two dead men who have yet to be identified. I don’t want to touch on this too much but it ties in nicely with the rest of the story. Do you remember Dr. Daniel Bates from Silent Scream? Well, there is a tiny bit of romantic progression this go around, although it isn’t much.
The pacing of the novel and the execution of the “big twist(s)” were flawless! I really can’t think of one bad thing to pick at, except that now I’m suffering a book hangover knowing I’m all caught up in the series and have to wait for more D.I. Kim Stone and her team!
Full disclosure- I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinions.