Sunday, January 20, 2019

Review: The Birthday by Carol Wyer

Title: The Birthday
Author: Carol Wyer
Series: Detective Natalie Ward, #1
Published: September 2018, Bookouture
Format: ARC E-copy, 304 pages
Source: Netgalley via Publisher

One hot summer's afternoon, five-year-old Ava Sawyer went to a party. She never came home ...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?

My thoughts:  This is the first book in Carol Wyer's Detective Natalie Ward series, but not my first time reading Carol Wyer. I loved her DI Robyn Carter series and while I was bummed to see that series come to an end, I am excited to see her create a series with another strong female lead!

I think this is a great start to a new series. Detective Natalie Ward is a dynamic character, one that is flawed with many issues in her personal life. She also feels that she needs to prove herself with this latest case. She's got a good work ethic, but might this need to be the most effective be her downfall in future cases? I loved that Carol Wyer provides us with just enough background on Natalie for us to get to know her but dangles a few things about her past that leave us wanting to know more...and I can't wait to see how this is explored in future books.

This case was very intriguing. Children that kept going missing and all having a connection from a birthday party years ago? Talk about a case that gets under your skin! And having chapters every once in a while that are from the killer's head from when the killer was a young child - not only did this give you insight into the killer, but it totally adds to the creep factor of the story overall.

This book moves at a pretty good pace. It's well-balanced between the case work and character development, where we meet the characters, some of which will be the bread and butter of this series. I think this was handled well as some events were hinted at that I am excited to see explored more fully. 

I'm glad I picked this one up and will be reading the next book in this series, The Last Lullaby, very soon!

Books in this series:
  1. The Birthday
  2. Last Lullaby


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