The Sleepover – Detective Natalie Ward #4 by Carol Wyer

REVIEW

DI Natalie Ward and her team work hard and fastidiously to unearth the pieces that will connect all the dots in this latest mystery.

Oh WOW!  Where do I start with this one?  DI Natalie Ward’s family life is falling apart around her but when a young girl is found dead in a house fire, a house she shouldn’t have been in, then she must put her personal issues aside to lead her team in this investigation.

Everyone connected with the fire and the young girl, Roxy, seems to be lying, whether it is to Natalie, to their families, or to them themselves. The case becomes even more in-depth when Roxy’s mother goes missing, only to turn up dead the next day.  When a third body is found, Natalie must race against time to find the culprit before they kill again.

I’m not sure what was more exciting in this book, the murder investigations or Natalie’s personal life.  David is keeping secrets from Natalie again, but in all fairness Natalie is keeping a few of her own.

Her kids are going through the rebellious teenage faze, her husband is falling off the wagon, and she is having feelings for her work colleague that she perhaps shouldn’t be having.  Trying to juggle life and work is taking it’s toll and something is going to break soon. At least the team seems mostly settled now, except for Ian who is still undecided about his work/relationship situation.

I do need to comment on the end of this book because…..

Spoiler Alert (do not read any further if you do not want to know what happens between Natalie and Mike)

Oh My God!  Finally they kissed! I really do think they are much better suited but it is going to be interesting to see where this development goes. And David saw the whole thing.

Can’t wait to see what happens in the next book in the series – The Blossom Twins – due to be published 12th December 2019.

Listen to via Audible. Narrated by Diana Croft

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

Roxy had a secret. Now she’s gone.

When fourteen-year-old Roxy says she’s going for a sleepover at her best friend Ellie’s house, Cathy sees no reason to check her daughter’s story. The two families are neighbours, and the girls are in and out of each other’s homes every day.

It is a decision she will regret. A day later, Roxy is found murdered in exclusive Linnet Lane, miles across town, in a house owned by two brothers with no apparent connection to Roxy. Detective Natalie Ward, called to lead the investigation, is determined to get to the bottom of why Roxy was in the basement of this grand Victorian mansion when she should have been eating chocolate in her pyjamas with her best friend.

As Natalie begins to look closely at Roxy’s stepfather and three brothers, she discovers that Roxy had recently been admitted to hospital with suspicious injuries. Her mother Cathy seems very jumpy and Ellie refuses to talk. Who are the people that knew Roxy best in the world protecting?

Then Roxy’s mother Cathy disappears.

When Cathy’s body is discovered close to where her daughter was found, Natalie is forced to face the grim fact that the killer is just getting started. She is troubled by the reaction of Roxy’s brother Seth to the tragedies and when his alibi falls through she brings him in for questioning, certain she is making headway.

But while Seth is in custody, one of Roxy’s school friends is found murdered and Natalie knows she must cast her net wider. Things take a more sinister turn when Ellie vanishes, her mobile phone switched off. What is Ellie hiding about the night Roxy died that could put her in terrible danger? And can Natalie work it out before another innocent life is taken?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46285397-the-sleepover)

The Dare – Detective Natalie Ward #3 by Carol Wyer

REVIEW

When a young girl goes missing then turns up dead the next day, Detective Natalie Ward finds herself on a case that hits a little too close to home.

Natalie and her team are back on the hunt for a killer.  Savanna Hopkins is the first girl to go missing and later found dead near some bins, but when a second girl also disappears, could they be searching for a serial killer.  Natalie is baffled by the lack of connection between the two girls until leads start linking them together.  It seems the girls have more in common than originally thought but who is telling the truth and who is lying?

When a dare website, ‘Disappear’, turns up that both girls have looked at the disappearances take on an even more sinister twist. But time is of the essences when Natalie’s own daughter disappears!

Another fantastic mystery by Carol Wyer.  From start to finish the story grabs hold and keeps the reader guessing throughout. I love trying to figure out the who, why and how but there is always that little piece missing until the end.  I also get distracted by the team’s side-stories, Natalie and her family are having problems, Lucy and her baby, Ian and Murray’s continued altercations, plus the obvious tension between Natalie and Mike.

Listen to via Audible, narrated by Diana Croft

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

Jane’s daughter is a good girl. What is she hiding?

When thirteen-year-old Savannah Hopkins doesn’t come straight home from school, as she always does, her mother Jane immediately raises the alarm.

Leading the investigation is Detective Natalie Ward whose daughter Leigh is the same age as Savannah. Soon Natalie’s worst fears are confirmed when the teenager’s broken body is found in nearby shrubland.

Evidence points towards a local recluse, but just as the net is closing around him, one of Savannah’s friends, Harriet, is reported missing.

As Natalie delves into the lives of both girls, she soon discovers a sinister video on their phones, daring the girls to disappear from their families for 48 hours.

But Natalie isn’t quick enough for this killer, and she is devastated to find Harriet’s body on a fly tip a day later.

Caught up in the case, she takes her eye off her own daughter and when Leigh goes missing after school she knows she must be in terrible danger. The clock is ticking for Natalie. Can she catch this killer before her little girl becomes the next victim?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43704495-the-dare)

Last Lullaby – Detective Natalie Ward #2 by Carol Wyer

REVIEW

A gripping and chilling thriller that will leave you wondering if anyone is who they claim to be. DI Natalie Ward and her team are back, this time on the hunt for a killer who beat a woman to death in her own home.

When the body of wife and mother, Charlotte Brannon, is found beaten to death by a baseball bat, Natalie seeks to find the truth about what really happened that evening.  With alibis that turn into lies flying around it is hard to get any story straight, but as the pieces of the puzzle begin to align is the real picture forming or is someone playing games?

With the discovery of a second body, DI Ward is on a race against time to track down the culprit and ensure that they can’t strike again.

A captivating mystery suspense that had me picking suspects all the way through and then discarding them as new information was revealed. Natalie is not shy in showing her frustration when the case is not going her way and her team are right behind her.  There is a great dynamic within this team and a connection that goes beyond simple work colleagues.  Natalie’s home life is still up and down, David is keeping secrets and blaming Natalie for just about everything. With home and work demanding more and more from her, Natalie seems on the edge of breaking point, lets hope someone will help her pick up the pieces if/when it happens.

Great series. Next in the series – The Dare

Listened to via Audible. Narrated by Diana Croft

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

Charlotte’s baby is safe. But is she? 

When the body of young mother Charlotte Brannon is discovered by her husband in their immaculate, silver bedroom, Detective Natalie Ward is first on the scene. The killer has left a chilling calling card: the word ‘Why?’ written on the wall in blood. 

Determined to find justice, Natalie quickly discovers the husband is hiding a troubled past, and she’s sure the teenage babysitter’s alibi doesn’t quite add up. 

But before Natalie can dig deeper, another mother is murdered, her young son left distraught, staring at a fresh ‘who’ scrawled beside her. 

Natalie knows it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again, but all the key suspects have alibis. It’s her toughest case yet, and with her marriage hanging by a thread, the cracks are beginning to show. 

Just when Natalie finds an unsettling clue she thinks could solve the case, another young woman and her baby disappear, and a member of Natalie’s team is put in terrible danger. 

Can Natalie stop this twisted killer and save one of her own before more families are torn apart forever? 

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42105401-last-lullaby)

The Birthday – Detective Natalie Ward #1 by Carol Wyer

REVIEW

From the Author of the DI Robyn Carter Series comes a new detective who will stop at nothing to find her killer.

DI Natalie Ward and her team find themselves on the hunt for a child serial killer, two years after the disappearance of a young girl from a birthday party.  When the body of Ava Sawyer turns up at the very place she went missing it starts the hunt for her killer but, following the murder of two more girls from the same party, DI Ward finds her list of suspects is extensive.  Is the link between these murders the birthday party or is just a coincidence.  Time is running out and DI Ward must find the killer before another girl goes missing.

Natalie Ward is a completely different character to Robyn Carter.  She is married, although not entirely happily, with two teenage children.  Finding the balance between work and home is a struggle and when a big case turns up, home takes a backseat.  She is close to all her team and they work well together, despite the occasional bit of rivalry. I’m not one to condone infidelity but I’m also not one who believes that you should stay in an unhappy marriage (plus I quite like Mike), be interesting to see where this side of Natalie’s personal life leads.

Carol Wyer never fails to produce an intriguing story-line, well defined characters and captivating plot twists. The Birthday will have you postulating over suspects, speculating over alibis and  conjecturing over motives.  A fantastic murder mystery from one of my favourite mystery authors.

Listened to via Audible. Narrated by Diana Croft.

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

When five-year-old Ava Sawyer goes missing from a birthday party at a local garden centre, the police are bewildered by the lack of leads. That is until two years later, when Ava’s body is found and another little girl, Audrey Briggs, goes missing. Audrey also attended that party …

Leading the investigation is Detective Natalie Ward. A mother of two teenagers, this case chills her to the bone, and is a disturbing reminder of the last job she worked on. One that ended very badly.

Natalie soon discovers that Ava’s mother has some worrying gaps in her alibi and as she digs deeper, she’s sure Ava’s father is not telling the full story. And what did the owner of the garden centre Elsa see that day? Something that she’s not telling Natalie …

Just as Natalie is facing up to the grim possibility that Ava and Audrey were killed by someone close to home, another little girl from the party doesn’t come home from her ballet lesson. Can Natalie find a way to stop this killer before more innocent lives are taken?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40682386-the-birthday)

The Silent Children – DI Robyn Carter #4 by Carol Wyer

REVIEW

DI Robyn Carter finds herself embroiled in secrets yet again when people start being murdered for no apparent reason.

When a man is found shot in his car, an investigation will lead DI Carter and her team to have to try to piece together the who, what, why and whereabouts of friends and family, in order to solve this case.  But as the team dig deeper more people are turning up dead and the links between them are tenuous at best.  Secrets and lies are in abundance but who can Robyn believe?  Red-herrings and misconceptions thwart the investigation at every turn.  What is everyone hiding and is it worth killing for?

Yet another page-turning, gripping mystery from one of my favourite mystery/thriller writers. The Then and Now sections that intersperse all of the DI Carter novels so far give the story more depth and the reader more intrigue.  Who is the ‘then’ referring too? Why does it impact on what is happening now?  It definitely creates more mystery for the reader whilst developing a backstory for the antagonist.

Robyn’s abilities to use her gut instinct where murders are concerned is getting her noticed with the higher-ups but she always ensures that her team receive the praise that they deserve.  I am really getting into the back story about Davies as well now.  Is he alive and stalking Robyn?  Where has he been for the last two years.  I really hope we find out soon.  I’ll be honest, I hope he does come back and, for whatever reason he had to disappear, Robyn forgives him and they actually get some happiness (Ok, so I’m a romantic at heart!) but I have a feeling we are a little way off that yet.

(I did actually read book 5 as an ARC before I started this series, so I have vague idea where it goes from here, but that was a while ago and I have resisted rereading what I put until I have listened to the audio version and can update it)

Listened to via Audible. Narrated by Emma Newman.

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

The boy studied the bruise turning yellow at the base of his neck. With quick fingers his mother tightened his tie, and pulled his collar high above it. Her eyes alone said, We will not speak of this… 

Years later, a man is found shot dead in a local park. On his phone is a draft text: I can’t keep this secret any longer. The recipient is unnamed. 

Detective Robyn Carter knows this secret is the key to the case, but his friends and family don’t offer any clues, and all her team have to go on is a size-ten footprint. 

Then a woman is found in a pool of blood at the bottom of her staircase, and a seemingly insignificant detail in her stepdaughter’s statement makes Robyn wonder: are the two bodies are connected, and has the killer only just begun? 

When another body confirms Robyn’s worst fears, she realises she’s in a race against time to stop the killer before they strike again. But just as she thinks she’s closing in, one of her own team goes missing. 

Buried in the past is a terrible injustice. Can Robyn uncover the truth before another life is lost? 

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36266645-the-silent-children)

 

The Missing Girls – DI Robyn Carter #3 by Carol Wyer

REVIEW

DI Robyn Carter and her team are up against the clock in this latest thriller by Carol Wyer.

Robyn’s expertise are called upon when a young girls body is found during a drugs raid on a warehouse.  When a second body is found, Robyn believes that the girls may have been killed by the same person despite the difference in circumstances.  With links on social media, online dating sites and train stations connecting the girls, the team have to work overtime to cover all areas and narrow down the list of suspects.

When Amélie’s best friend, Florence, starts exhibiting unusual behaviour, Amélie looks to Robyn for guidance but is it just teenage hormones or is there something more going on?  Robyn needs to find their killer before one more young life is wiped out.

On top of everything, Robyn is thrown into turmoil when she receives a surprise package. Is someone playing a trick on her or has she been lied too?

Due to the content of the story I found it interesting to listen to, mainly because I could relate it to having two teenagers of my own.  Admittedly they are both boys, however they are regularly attached to devices, normally with headphones, and as a parent there is a fine line between needing to know what they are watching and who they are talking to whilst still allowing them independence and privacy.

This is a very well-written, hard-hitting story about the consequences of our actions and the affect social media and online-sites can have on our lives.

Listened to via Audible. Narrated by Emma Newman.

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

One girl found dead. Another girl gone…

Long shadows danced on the tin walls. Inside the trunk lay Carrie Miller, wrapped in plastic, arms folded across her ribcage, lips sealed tight forever…

When, a girl’s body is found at a Midlands storage unit, it is too decomposed for Detective Robyn Carter to read the signs left by the killer.

No one knows the woman in blue who rented the unit; her hire van can’t be traced. But as the leads run dry another body is uncovered. This time the killer’s distinctive mark is plain to see, and matching scratches on the first victim’s skeleton make Robyn suspect she’s searching for a serial killer.

As Robyn closes in on the killer’s shocking hunting ground, another girl goes missing, and this time it’s someone close to her own heart.

Robyn can’t lose another loved one. Can she find the sickest individual she has ever faced, before it’s too late?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35514147-the-missing-girls)

Little Girl Lost – DI Robyn Carter #1 by Carol Wyer

REVIEW

Carol Wyer knows how to bring suspense and conceal secrets in this first DI Robyn Carter novel.  An exciting and gripping story that had me hooked from the first page.

Little Girl Lost begins when a young girl is indecently assaulted by her soon-to-be step-brother and the fallout from this incident, along with the tragic events that follow, send the girl on a road of anger and revenge.

When Abigail Thorne starts to receive anonymous letters and phone calls she knows that her secrets may not stay secret for much longer.  But who can she trust?  Is her husband having an affair?  Does she hear voices? Is someone trying to make her crazy? Or is it all in her head?

Whilst on temporary leave and working for her cousin’s PI firm, DI Robyn Carter finds herself embroiled in a missing persons case. When Robyn notices a link between the missing person, a murder, and the unusual incidents happening to Abigail, she must find out how and who connects them.  The truth must be told if the Little Girl Lost is to be found.

This story starts with an harrowing incident and spirals into a world of secrets and suffering.  As the reader, we know who is doing it, we just don’t know who ‘she’ is!  The twists and intrigue associated with this story kept me listening at every opportunity, whilst ideas and thoughts bounced around inside my head as to who the girl actually is.  Very well written, and although it took me a while to get used to the narrator of this audio version, I soon became lost in the story.

Listened to via Audible. Narrated by Emma Newman.

Rating 5/5 

Synopsis

A perfect family hiding disturbing secrets. A killer who wants the truth to be told. 

A teacher goes missing under suspicious circumstances. 
A millionaire is murdered at a local reservoir. 
For Detective Robyn Carter, there’s no obvious link between the men. But as she starts to delve into the cases, her investigations lead her to Abigail, perfect wife and mother to beautiful little Izzy. What was Abigail’s connection to the victims? And why is she receiving threatening messages from an anonymous number? 

But as Robyn starts to inch closer to finding the killer, Izzy is abducted. 

Unless Robyn gets to the twisted individual in time, a little girl will die … 

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32762388-little-girl-lost)