Source: Review copy (Netgalley)
Publication: 9 November 2020 from Bookouture
Thanks to Bookouture for an advance copy for review
I am delighted to welcome guest reviewer Grace Mitchell to Live and Deadly. Grace is an avid reader and is a long-time fan of Angela Marson’s D.I. Kim Stone series.
When a nineteen-year-old boy, Jamie Mills, is found hanging from a tree in a local park, his death is ruled a suicide. Detective Kim Stone’s instincts tell her something isn’t right – but it’s not her investigation and her temporary replacement is too busy waiting for the next big case to be asking the right questions.
Why would a seemingly healthy boy choose to end his life?
Why does his mother show no sign of emotional distress at the loss of her son?
Still mending her broken mind and body from her last harrowing case, Kim is supposed to be easing back into work gently. But then she finds a crucial, overlooked detail: Jamie had a recent injury that would have made it impossible for him to climb the tree. He must have been murdered.
Quickly taking back charge of her team and the case, Kim visits Jamie’s parents and is shocked to hear that they had sent him to a clinic to ‘cure’ him of his sexuality. According to his mother, Jamie was introverted and prone to mood swings. Yet his friend speaks of a vibrant, outgoing boy.
The clues to smashing open this disturbing case lie behind the old Victorian walls of the clinic, run by the Gardner family. They claim that patients come of their own accord and are free to leave at any time. But why are those that attended the clinic so afraid to speak of what happens there? And where did the faded restraint marks identified on Jamie’s wrists come from?
Then the body of a young woman is found dead by suffocation and Kim makes two chilling discoveries. The victim spent time at the clinic too, and her death was also staged to look like a suicide.
Scarred from an ordeal that nearly took her life, is Kim strong enough to stop a terrifying killer from silencing the clinic’s previous patients one by one?
I’m a big fan of Angela Marson’s Kim Stone series and Hidden Scars is no exception. Despite being the 17th outing, the series continues to be strong. We know all the main characters now and enjoy their strengths and weaknesses.
We enter with Kim returning from extended sick leave having almost lost her life in a brutal attack documented in the last book. Her team have been placed with the over ambitious corner cutting copper who failed to take the threat against Kim seriously in the last book. She returns to find her team being badly managed and demoralised. Stacey in particular isn’t being given the chance to follow up leads and as always her instincts are on the money.
An initial look at a suicide that has already been brushed aside has Kim certain the boy was murdered and from there, more bodies appear and a link is established both with a gay aversion therapy clinic and a local relationship counsellor.
Kim however is back in the thick of it too quickly and it is taking its toll….
This is an interesting plot dealing with a subject we all assume has been dealt with, the homophobia in society and the lengths people will go to deny their own sexuality or that of their children. There’s a nice little sub plot runs too with the disappearance of a husband from a seemingly happy and secure marriage.
Verdict: If you’ve not read this series, it’s not too late! Set in the Black Country Midlands, it’s a satisfying read.
Angela Marsons lives in the heart of the Black Country with her partner, bouncy puppy and potty mouthed parrot. It has taken many novels to find that one character who just refused to go away. And so D.I. Kim Stone was born. The D.I. Kim Stone series has now sold over 3 million copies.