I am super excited to be part of the blog tour for Blood Lines by Angela Marsons. As you might know I’m a huge fan of the Kim Stone series. You can also read a Q&Athat I did with author Angela Marsons and my review of Play Dead, also in the Kim Stone series and The Forgotten Womanwhich is a standalone book.
But today we are here to celebrate Blood Lines, the fifth book in the amazing Detective Kim Stone series.
My 4.5* review:
If you’re a regular reader of If Only I Could Read Faster then you will know that I am a huge fan of author Angela Marsons and her Detective Kim Stone novels, so it was with much excitement that I started to read Blood Lines.
Blood Lines is book five in the Kim Stone series, and although Marsons has always been clear that they can be read as standalone books, as time goes on I think that the reader would definitely benefit from reading the series from the start. And frankly, if you didn’t you’d miss out on some brilliant books.
Marsons is signed up to write a whopping 16 Kim Stone books and I have to admit that as much as I love the character I am unsure how Marsons will manage to maintain her for that many books. But thankfully she appears to be a long way from running out of steam with Blood Lines.
Book number two, Evil Games, featured a character that was so brilliantly written that she scared the bejeebers out of me. it was one of the best portrayals of a sociopath that I had read. So when I heard that Alex Thorne was to make another appearance in Kim Stone’s life I was even more excited.
For some reason, the relationship between Stone and Thorne just didn’t click for me in the same way and Thorne did not make my skin crawl as she had in Evil Games. This was disappointing for me. I felt that Stone dealing with Thorne and the chaos she was creating took up a lot of the story, but at the same time Stone was the lead detective on a puzzling murder investigation. For me, I think that it would have been better for the story to focus on one of these things, and to save the other for another book, as I felt that neither could be dealt with satisfactorily.
Having said that Blood Lines is still a very good book and will no doubt satisfy the many Kim Stone fans desperately waiting for another book in the series. I was pleased that we got a teeny bit more about Stacey and Kevin, two of Stone’s team but I’d love Bryant and Stacey to feature more.
Marsons is a skilled writer who is able to write in a way that makes the stories flow and feel so real. I’ve said it before but I do feel that each time a new Stone book comes out I get to catch up with a friend. The Detective Kim Stone books have been phenomenally successful and Blood Lines doesn’t let the team down and it gets a great 4.5* from me.
Thank you to the publishers, Bookouture, for a copy of Blood Lines.
How do you catch a killer who leaves no trace?
A victim killed with a single, precise stab to the heart appears at first glance to be a robbery gone wrong. A caring, upstanding social worker lost to a senseless act of violence. But for Detective Kim Stone, something doesn’t add up.
When a local drug addict is found murdered with an identical wound, Kim knows instinctively that she is dealing with the same killer. But with nothing to link the two victims except the cold, calculated nature of their death, this could be her most difficult case yet.
Desperate to catch the twisted individual, Kim’s focus on the case is threatened when she receives a chilling letter from Dr Alex Thorne, the sociopath who Kim put behind bars. And this time, Alex is determined to hit where it hurts most, bringing Kim face-to-face with the woman responsible for the death of Kim’s little brother – her own mother.
As the body count increases, Kim and her team unravel a web of dark secrets, bringing them closer to the killer. But one of their own could be in mortal danger. Only this time, Kim might not be strong enough to save them…
A totally gripping thriller that will have you hooked from the very first page to the final, dramatic twist.
I don’t normally do rambling posts on here, meaning posts that aren’t about something specific, like a book review or blog tour. But today I am.
I wanted to share with you all what I will be doing in November, and why, all going well, this blog might be a bit quieter than normal.
Apparently, approximately 80% of people want to write a book. That’s an awful lot. Now generally I like the fact that I tend to be a bit different to the norm, I have rarely in my life conformed to be considered normal or common but in this instance I am. Yes, I want to write a book.
Now I have very little faith that this is something that I will actually manage to do, there are many reasons for this including a lack of time and my inability to see things through. I tend to get bored and lack motivation for anything that I don’t have to do. But I’m going to give it a go.
Normally this isn’t something that I would tell anyone about, then no one has to know about my failure. But I am doing something called NaNoWriMo in November, and author Elizabeth Haynes (who wrote the amazingly brilliant Into the Darkest Corner, among others) who is a pro at NaNo told me that I should tell everyone. Her reasoning being that when you ask me how my book is going that the shame of telling you that I haven’t written anything will spur me into keeping going and finishing NaNo. So no pressure folks, but I’m relying on you to shame me here!
So what is NaNo I hear you say? It is National Novel Writing Month, it happens every November and thousands around the world take part in it. The aim is to write 50,000 words in the month of November to be crowned a NaNo winner.
Now if that sounds easy to you then I’m afraid that you are wrong. Google ‘How hard is NaNoWriMo’ and you will get a lot of hits telling you just how hard it is, I quite like this article (apologies for linking to The Torygraph).
So far I have written an amazing (yes, that is sarcasm) 1000 words. Doing so has taken me approximately four hours. So if I need to write 1667 words every single day during November you can see that this might be a bit of a problem. My problem is that I keep going back and tweaking what I have written. I need to stop doing that. One of my favourite authors, Angela Marsons, told me that if I keep stopping and going back to tweak then the story can’t move forward cos I’m busy going backward (she explained it a lot better than I did!). That makes a lot of sense but I suspect will be a hard one for me to crack.
Another potential problem is that according to NaNo I am what is known as a ‘pantser’. A pantser is someone who doesn’t plan, have an outline, or much preparation at all before starting NaNo. I decided in September that I was going to do NaNo, and I started off planning. I then changed my mind on what book I was going to write, so all that go scrapped. And since then I have done pretty much nothing. I have a vague idea of how my book will end, I have a basic outline of the main character but I just cannot settle on her name, and that’s it. Not a jot else. I have a strong feeling that I’m going to regret that in a couple of weeks time!!
So that’s what I hope to be doing in November. As I said I have very little faith that I will finish NaNo, but even if I don’t and end up with say 10,000 words, that’s 9,000 more than I have now! So if you ask me how NaNo is going and I mumble a response about it going slowly then please gently encourage. If I proudly tell you that it’s going well then please celebrate with me and if I tell you that I’ve quit then please don’t judge me.
I think that most followers of If Only I Could Read Faster know that I love author Angela Marsons. Her crime book series about DI Kim Stone are, without a doubt, my favourite crime series so I was excited to read a non crime book by the author. I give The Forgotten Woman an easy 4*.
‘I am a huge Angela Marsons fan, her crime series Kim Stone books are brilliant in so many ways. I knew that she had written two book before her Kim Stone series and had bought them both but had yet to read them. When I heard that Bookouture was re-releasing them I was excited, I heard there had been some tweaking and editing so decided to read the newer version.
The Forgotten Woman tells the story of Kim and Fran, two women who appear to have nothing in common. After meeting in an AA meeting the two forge an unlikely friendship, helping and supporting each other to rebuild their lives.
Both women have complex histories involving prostitution and a brief mention of sexual child abuse. They learn to deal with their past and move on in their lives. I really liked Kit and Fran, they worked really well together and were both believable as characters. I felt that it was a shame that the AA meetings weren’t portrayed more positively, and that they appeared to play no part in Kit and Fran’s recovery from alcoholism.
At times while reading The Forgotten Woman I couldn’t help but wonder how much of it was based on the author’s own experience. There was something about it that felt so real and raw that at times it made for uncomfortable reading.
While The Forgotten Woman didn’t blow me away like Angela Marson’s Kim Stone books it was still a really good read. It will open your eyes and make you think. For a first novel this book shows that Angela Marson’s is a talented author who definitely has more to tell us. I can’t wait to read more books by her and hope that she keeps writing for a very long time.
I received The Forgotten Woman from the publisher, Bookouture, via Netgalley in return for an honest review.’
I am so excited to share a Q&A with Angela Marsons. Angela is the author of the brilliant Detective Kim Stone novels. I have read and reviewed all four of the Kim Stone books and I’ve given them all 5* which is pretty impressive. She has also written two other books, The Middle Child and My Name Is which I have yet to read.
Angela thank you so much for joining us at If Only I Could Read Faster!
1. Can you tell us something about you that we, your readers, don’t know about you?
I rode a moped until I was almost forty years of age. I am terrified of moths and heights which I know makes me a bit of a wimp!
2. Do you have any strange or quirky writing habits?
I’m not sure about quirky or strange but I do still like to write the first draft of my books with pencils and A4 notepads. Each time I start a new journey I have to have a new box of pencils and some brand new colourful notepads.
3. How do you come up with the names of your characters?
For me the name has to match the character traits that I’m trying to convey. When I was looking for a name for my main character it had to be short, sharp, to the point, one syllable, no fuss – a bit like the character herself and once the name Kim came to me I knew it was the right one. A name like Felicity would not have suited the sharpness of her character. My characters have been known to change names half way through a book if their personality has changed or developed beyond what I originally had in mind.
4. Are any of your characters based on you?
Ha, not really. There are elements of Kim that I suppose come from me. Before being lucky enough to write for a living I managed a diverse team of 70+ security officers at Merry Hill shopping centre. It’s not a job you can do without a certain level of directness. However, I do like to think I have slightly better social skills than Kim.
5. Have any of your books had an alternative ending that you didn’t end up using? If so can you tell us any of them?!
The ending in Silent Scream with regard to the relationship between Kim and Lucy was going to be very different. Initially, I had planned that Kim was going to help Lucy in an altogether different kind of way (by ending her misery) but as I was writing the book my gut started to react unfavourably to this idea and the very notion of writing it began to make me angry, always an indication that I’m taking the wrong path somewhere. As the relationship between them grew I knew that I had to end it differently and as soon as I thought about what Kim does for Lucy I knew it felt right.
6. What research did you do into the character Alex, in Evil Games who was a psychopath? How did you find it writing about that character?
I have always been interested in the sociopath/psychopath personality. I am intrigued by a person that is unable to feel empathy for other human beings. To research I read a lot of books on the subject and trawled the internet for more background information. I really enjoyed writing about Alex (quite worrying I know) but it was enlightening having that freedom to explore the personality of someone without conscience.
7. What is the most surprising thing that you learnt while writing Play Dead?
Play Dead was not an easy book to write. The idea had been in my head for quite some time but when it came to putting it onto paper this one would not behave itself. When I sent it off to my editor I was convinced she was going to send a note back saying ‘start again’. Luckily she loved it and I learned to trust in the process. Each journey will be different and some will be harder than others but I learned to trust that it will work out in the end.
8. A lot of Play Dead takes place in what is commonly known as a body farm. And what research did you do into what goes on in a body farm? Is there a body farm in the UK?
There isn’t a body farm that I know of but perhaps that’s a good thing. I did my research by reading about the facilities in America. I spent a great deal of time reading up on the type of experiments they do and the results they are hoping to achieve.
9. Would you donate your body to a body farm?
Yes, I think I would. If anyone can learn something useful from my body after I’ve gone then that’s a good thing.
10. D.I. Kim Stone is such a wonderful, but complicated character. If a movie of your Kim Stone books were to be made who would you like to play her?
The picture in my head is Kate Beckinsale from the Underworld films. Her attitude is SO Kim Stone in those films and I think she is a fabulous actress. And I’d have Bradley Walsh to play Bryant.
11. You are mainly known for your Kim Stone books but you have written other books before, can you tell us a bit about them and why we should read them? I have them on my kindle ready to read but haven’t quite got there yet.
My other two books are stories that explore human relationships and subjects that I find intriguing. I have always been interested in the ‘why’ of people’s actions. I want to know what drives them and these two stories gave me the opportunity to do that. My Name Is focuses on a friendship that builds between two very different women who both suffer with alcoholism. The Middle Child explores the complex relationships between three sisters raised in a physically abusive home.
12. If you were going to be stuck on a desert island who would you want with you? You can choose three people.
a. a character from one of your books – It has to be Kim Stone – she is very resourceful.
b. a character from someone else’s book – Jennifer Knight from Caroline Mitchell’s books. She has paranormal abilities and could let someone know where we were (I’m assuming we haven’t got phones!)
c. someone famous that you don’t know in person or on social media. Aaron Sorkin. He wrote The West Wing (my favourite program) and I would love to have him as a captive and grill him.
You can also choose one book to take. Disclosure by Michael Crichton.
13. And finally can you tell us where people can find you on social media?
I think that Angela Marsons is now firmly my favourite author. I’ve loved all her books and this one is one of her best. Read them!!!
‘Angela Marsons has exploded onto the psychological thriller scene in the last year. I read her first book in the Kim Stone series, Silent Scream, and loved it. This is the fourth book in the series and they only get better. I have now given all four books five stars which is pretty impressive as I’m quite careful about giving them.
DI Kim Stone is not the most likeable character, but she is an excellent police detective and goes to all lengths to solve a crime. Her trusty team back her up with total faith, and Bryant knows his boss so well that he manages (some of the time) to reign her in. Stone is not the most tactful of people!
I have always felt that the characters were well formed but they have grown and developed as the books have gone on. Marsons writing in Play Dead feels so natural, she knows her characters so well which really adds to the reading experience. It feels like the book just flows, there’s no unnecessary drama, it feels real and there’s no wasted words.
While each book can be read as a standalone book I’d really recommend reading them all, they are a joy to read and I’ve no doubt that you will enjoy the book even more if you’ve read them all.
If you haven’t read any of Angela Marsons DI Kim Stone books then you’re in for a real treat. She is proving herself to be a brilliant writer and I cannot wait for book number five. Play Dead is a book that grabs you and pulls you in, just remember to breathe when you’re reading!
I was given a copy of Play Dead to read by the publishers, Bookouture, via Netgalley in return for an honest review.’
Play Dead will be available from 20th May 2016 and can be preordered from Amazon UK and Amazon USA