Evil Games – Blogtour February 6th #OntheShelfBooks

The greater the Evil, the more deadly the game…
When a rapist is found mutilated in a brutal attack, Detective Kim Stone and her team are called in to bring a swift resolution. But, as more vengeful killings come to light, it soon becomes clear that there is someone far more sinister at work.

With the investigation quickly gathering momentum, Kim finds herself exposed to great danger and in the sights of a lethal individual undertaking their own twisted experiment.

Up against a sociopath who seems to know her every weakness, for Detective Stone, each move she makes could be deadly. As the body count starts to mount, Kim will have to dig deeper than ever before to stop the killing. And this time – it’s personal.

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When I first started blogging with Netgalley, I never really saw myself as a real reviewer. I read all the time and read eclectically – yes. But that never really felt Official. Well, this week has changed all that –  as now I really do feel like a Proper book reviewer…

When the lovely Emily Burns  @Emily_BookPR  from @bonnierzaffre  wrote to me asking whether I’d like to take part in Angela Marsons’ Evil Games Blogtour  I couldn’t believe it. The fact that the date fell on my birthday week made it feel like a doubly good omen and – once I read Evil Games – I was so glad that my very first Blogtour was for such a cracker of a read.

Angela Marsons’ crime thrillers are some of the paciest that I’ve read and I’m happy to say that Evil Games is no exception. Some of you might already have met enigmatic maverick DI Kim Stone in the first of the series: Silent Scream and been desperate to read more of her exploits, well I can promise that you won’t be disappointed. Dark, tense and compulsive, you’ll tear through it as you plumb the depths of humanity with Kim and her team.

I love that Angela Marsons has chosen a female detective as her protagonist. In the current climate ,where women are increasingly being portrayed as victims rather than agents of their own fortune, this is a great comfort. Although it must be said, Kim Stone’s world is a little short of comfort itself as she pursues depraved and brutal criminal masterminds through the Black Country streets. It did strike me, when I read the fantastic letter from Doon MacKichan and friends in the Guardian this week  Read Here…that we are more in need of female heroes than ever in the last month or so and DI Stone is certainly fit to tackle any attempt at ‘pussy grabbing’ in no uncertain terms.

Crime novels are ubiquitous and paedophilia has become an increasingly popular way for writers to suckerpunch their reader with dark and twisted events in order to leave them reeling. The opening scenes of Evil Games manage to be shocking without ever stooping to lurid sensationalism. Tiny details of the rooms themselves in the house that is raided builds a convincing picture of the scene of the crime, but like the best crime novelists, Angela Marsons allows just enough of the scene to remain unsaid – leaving space for our imagination to fill the gap.

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Evil Games is so compelling because of the fact that we don’t know everything about the backstory of Kim Stone herself. Just as she is working hard to uncover the details and read between the lines of the criminal minds she is battling with, so too are we unravelling the complex and intriguing character of DI Stone herself. For crime novels to work, we have to be as involved with the detective as we are with the crime itself. Even though you don’t have to have read the first novel, Silent Scream, before embarking on Evil Games – I thoroughly recommend that you do in order to gain a fuller insight into Kim’s backstory and find out, one piece at a time, some of the things that make her such a one-off. 

Kim’s strength as a character is that you’ve never met anyone quite like her – yet you end up wishing that you get the chance to, one day. Her mind is just as fascinating as some of the psychopathic characters she comes up against and her past every bit as veiled. Her developing relationship with Bryant is one of the other key aspects of this book which makes it stand out. Every truly great detective has a fantastic sidekick and even though I know Bryant would hate to be described in this way, their relationship and dialogue is definitely one of the things that I most enjoyed about Evil Games and one of the things that’s making me so keen to read Number 3: Lost Girls

I always try hard to avoid spoilers as I really find them very off-putting, but I do think that it’s fair to warn readers that if they’re of a sensitive disposition. Angela Marsons clearly takes the feelings of her readers into account as well as thinking of the victims themselves by handling any difficult scenes very thoughtfully; without abuse being portrayed in an overly sensational or gratuitous way –  which again goes back to the ideas raised in the Guardian letter that I mentioned earlier. Women and the vulnerable are not merely pigeonholed as victims here by Marsons and it is this that I find sets this novel apart from the vast body of its rivals. Kim Stone is a survivor and we are drawn to her, despite her rather ‘interesting’ interpretation of social skills.

After finishing Evil Games, one of the things that I reflected on was the skill with which Angela Marsons manages to keep both lines of enquiry open : we are skilfully drawn into the abuse case that the novel opens with, as well as the unravelling case of a convicted rapist whose body is discovered in unexplained circumstances. The skilful weaving back and forth betwen these two intriguing storylines keeps the reader on their toes and keeps the narrative much truer to the way that a DI is compelled to function in real life, lending a real tension and pressure to the narative that I feel few crime writers can match

The character of sociopathic Dr Alex Thorne is another aspect of Evil Games that drew me in and held me there. Alex is a stunningly attractive yet warped operator who lives for her evil games. She thrives on being able to manipulate people,  and when she encounters the damaged and driven DI Kim Stone she sets her sights on becoming her final opponent. The evil games themselves become darker and more depraved as Kim battles to work with a brilliant mind with no moral compass and gets drawn into a battle that she has clearly underestimated

This is fabulous and addictive read that is plotted like a 3D chess game or a celebrity deathmatch beween two fantastically well-matched opponents. As a nemesis, Marston has drawn Alex as a beautiful and terrifying enigma whose strategically sharp mind and twisted ethics are horrifyingly compelling. It ends with a truly page turning climax and I can see this being a novel that  I’ll be forcing other people to read. It would make a fabulous book group choice as I feel that it could promote really interesting discussions about gender roles, the representation of crime and comparisons with other gritty investigators. I was totally engrossed from start to finish and there can be no higher recommendation really. You should definitely go out and buy it if you are a crime aficionado – and I bet you’ll want to devour the rest too…

Thank you to Emily Burns @Emily_BookPR  from @bonnierzaffre for providing me with a copy in return for a fair review. I think it looks totally alluring in my #OnTheShelfie.  

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If you get the chance – definitely embark upon an Angela Marsons reading binge; you won’t regret it if you love dark, gritty British crime. I loved her story just about as much as Kim Stone’s when I found out that :

“The 47-year-old has now given up her job of 19 years as a Security Guard at Merry Hill Shopping Centre to focus fully on her writing, and labels it as a ‘dream come true‘.

I had been trying numerous publishers for 25 years but constantly got rejected. They would always say ‘we like it…but not enough’ and it just felt like I would never get there,” she said.”

Read More Here 

Author On The Shelf:

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Angela Marsons is the author of the Amazon Bestselling DI Kim Stone series – Silent Scream, Evil Games, Lost Girls, Play Dead and Blood Lines.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their cheeky Golden Retriever and a swearing parrot.

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 (My Name Is and The Middle Child) 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 16 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into more than 20 languages

 

Purchase Link : Evil Games

Twitter : @WriteAngie

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