If, like me, you’re already a fan of DI Kim Stone, you’ll understand her annoyance at having her team split up on different jobs in this, the sixth outing for the prickly female detective. However, when the case she’s working on appears to be connected to the work her team is doing on another, they are reunited in suspense-filled and dramatic circumstances.
What’s Dead Souls about?
Dead Souls by Angela Marsons sees the return of the Black Country’s finest murder investigation team – albeit divided – as a buried skull turns up in a field right on the border with the West Mercia force. Reluctant to relinquish the impending investigation to the other force, Stone has no option but to share responsibility with her old sparring partner, DI Tom Travis – and there’s no love lost between them.
The remainder of her team, DS Bryant, DS Dawson and DC Stacey Wood, are left to deal with their own ongoing cases without the driving force of their boss to guide them. This leads to further division in the team when Stacey feels marginalised by her male colleagues. Intrigued by a suicide note left by a young male, and bored of being stuck behind her desk with little to do, Stacey decides to do some proactive investigation into what might have led him to take such drastic action.
However, when it eventually becomes apparent that the suicide Stacey is investigating and the vicious assault on a male that Bryant and Dawson are looking into both have possible links to hate crimes, events take a sinister turn and put members of the team in real danger.
Can Stone work out who is involved and how in time to stop anyone else being killed? Or will her past history with Travis get in the way of a successful investigation and put her team at risk?
What did I think of Dead Souls?
I’m not gonna lie; I’m a huge fan of the Kim Stone series, and I had high hopes for this one, now that Marsons has had time to develop characters and backstories throughout the previous five books. And she hasn’t let me down! We know right from the start, with the discovery of a skull (with an additional bone somewhere it shouldn’t be!), that the story will be intriguing. Then, when we discover that Stone will have to leave her own team and pair up with her nemesis Tom Travis, we begin to wonder what will be revealed as the rocky relationship between the two is explored in greater detail.
I love that the stories are set in the Black Country; it adds a real drabness to the scene (and it can be drab in the Black Country, believe me!) and I like that Marsons even writes dialogue in the Black Country accent for some characters, such as Stacey, giving them a certain earthiness. This time around, the story centres on hate crimes, and Marsons explores such crimes and how they can be committed by those who we may least expect, and in the most horrific ways imaginable.
This time, we also get to see more of the relationships between the characters; we watch with interest as DS Bryant is paired up with DS Dawson – an officer of equal rank but unequal experience, who has often shown something of a maverick side in the past. Will the two be able to co-operate in order to clear their case? And, speaking of co-operation, I positively licked my lips in anticipation when Kim was ordered to jointly lead the investigation into the human remains, with none other than her ex-friend and colleague Tom Travis. The two had locked horns in the past, and we just know there has to be more to the story. Plus, we know Kim is something of a control freak, doing things her way because she knows it gets results, so to see her having to bend to the will of others is very interesting!
As expected, the plot is full of twists and turns that keep you guessing right the way through the book. Marsons is becoming highly skilled at crafting great stories with interesting yet believable characters, including the return in this story of journalist Tracey Frost and the enigmatic forensic archaeologist, Dr A. There is less focus on Kim’s childhood in this book, but more on her current relationships, with even a hint of flirtation with one of the characters once again.
If you, like me, are already a fan of Marson’s writing and Kim Stone in particular, you will not be disappointed with Dead Souls. If you are new to this series, I suggest you read book 1 to 5 pronto so you can get stuck in to the sixth!
Dead Souls (DI Kim Stone Book 6) by Angela Marsons is published on 28th April and is available from Amazon, priced £1.99 for the Kindle version, or £10.99 for the paperback.