Hidden Scars, by Angela Marsons

Detective Kim Stone Book 17

Book blurb:

While Jamie’s cold, lifeless body lay in the morgue, Detective Kim Stone stared at the empty board in the incident room and felt her anger boil. Why were there no photos, details, or lines of enquiry?

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?

My review:

Hidden Scars is a tense and thoroughly enjoyable crime thriller. Fragile yet tough-as-nails Kim is back after her horrific near-death experience – having expertly faked a full recovery during her psych evaluation. Instead of heeding the advice of her empathetic boss and taking it easy, she cannot tolerate the inept, despicable, misogynistic and ambitious DI who’s been standing in for her – especially the negative effect he’s having on her precious team.

She soon gets rid of him in her typically direct and undiplomatic way and is back on the job in full force, much to the gratitude of Bryant, Stace and Penn. While her management style is certainly not to everyone’s taste, she sure makes things happen and has the utmost respect of her team.

Reading a Kim Stone novel is like being welcomed back into the bosom of a favourite family. I adore catching up with the personal stories of this diverse police team as much as I enjoy the gritty crimes they tackle. (Each of the novels in the series, by the way, can be read as a standalone book.)

In Hidden Scars, Kim and her team investigate a number of supposed suicide victims, each of whom seems to have links to dodgy practitioners who try to change a person’s sexuality. Marsons turns her considerable skill to exploring conversion therapy, or turning gay people straight. In parallel with this thread is an investigation into the mysterious disappearance of a seemingly normal husband.

Hidden Scars is written with Marson’s wonderfully fluent and gripping writing style, complete with her trademark humour and a cast of characters ranging from the truly despicable to the absolutely delightful. It’s clever and surprising and utterly readable.

About the author:

Angela Marsons is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of the DI Kim Stone series and her books have sold more than 5 million in 7 years.

She lives in Worcestershire with her partner and their 2 cheeky Golden Retrievers.

She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read “Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people’s”.

After years of writing relationship based stories (The Forgotten Woman and Dear Mother) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.

She is signed to Bookouture.com for a total of 28 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into 30 languages.


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