Play Dead by Angela Marsons – 4*s

Play Dead


The dead don’t tell secrets… unless you listen.

The girl’s smashed-in face stared unseeing up to the blue sky, soil spilling out of her mouth. A hundred flies hovered above the bloodied mess.

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 …?

My Review

A welcome return to DI Kim Stone in her fourth, and for me highly anticipated outing. It’s always a worry when you get hooked on a series that the next book might not live up to expectations, but Angela Marsons has yet to disappoint and this book is as good, if not better than previous titles.

The opening chapter sets the tone by introducing DI Stone and her team in action and we get a real flavour of the working dynamic that exists between them all. We get re-acquainted with Bryant, Stacey and Kev who provide the supportive and efficient chorus to Kim’s no-nonsense, blunt and single minded lead. Kim is an interesting and damaged character, she’s street smart and feisty and never really lets personal guard down except to Barney, her four legged partner. Despite the steeliness, there are glimpses of the caring and compassionate Kim buried somewhere deep inside that will surface when faced with victims and the vulnerable.

The drama really starts when Kim Stone and her team are sent to a body farm ‘for training’. However when an unexpected body turns up, their training opportunity soon turns into a hunt for a serial killer/attacker before they can strike again.

As always the plot lines are gritty, and realistic but not too graphic or voyeuristic. The dialogue is realistic and the plotting is clever. All the characters are all well drawn and everyone who appears has a role to play, it’s just not always apparent until the final reveal exactly what it is.
What was enjoyable with this plot line was the return of a couple of characters both adversarial and otherwise with added twists and surprises which were not expected.

If you like well plotted, gritty police procedurals with great characters and realistic dynamics then this book comes highly recommended. While it can be read as a standalone, it would be a shame to deprive yourself of the pleasure of getting to know Kim properly via her previous outings.

I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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