This review is written with thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for my copy of Dead Souls.
When a body is found on the land that crosses the boundary between West Midlands and West Mercia Police, DI Kim Stone is forced to leave her team behind and work alongside DI Tom Travis to discover who the bodies belonged to and who murdered them. Meanwhile, Detective Sergeants Bryant and Dawson are investigating a rise in hate crime in the area, and Detective Constable Stacey Wood is convinced that the suicide she has just attended is more complex than it seemed. Unexpectedly, their investigations come together, and they must find the perpetrator before he takes any more victims.
Despite being a stickler for reading books in a series in order, I was intrigued when Dead Souls came up on Netgalley. This series is one I've heard brilliant things about and I wanted to know what I'd been missing out on all this time. Marsons' writing is sharp and to the point: it really grabs you and refuses to let you go and I loved it. In Kim Stone, Marsons has created a feisty detective and I really enjoyed the way she takes no prisoners, but ultimately remains professional. The team around her also have characteristics which made it easy for me to relate to them, and even in their boss' absence, I was able to get a good sense of the relationships within the group, which have no doubt developed over time and will develop further as the series continues.
Dead Souls focuses on hate crime, an issue which I believe is very relevant to the current political and social climate. Marsons has clearly undertaken extensive research for this novel, which I imagine took her to some quite difficult places, but the novel is all the better for it. Marsons has created believable characters, and even the racist homophobes had elements to them that I could recognise in some people in society. However, more importantly, Marsons provides the reader with the opportunity to consider the more subtle prejudices that exist in society, and at times, I was forced to reflect upon my own behaviour. As such, Dead Souls is a novel that will stay with me for a long time, having a more striking impact on me than most novels in the same genre.
At the beginning of Dead Souls, there are three strands to the novel (with each sub team working on a separate investigation) and at times, I felt this caused the plot to lose momentum. However, when the three investigations do come together, it's explosive, it's tense and I couldn't put the book down! The climax had me on the edge of my seat with my jaw dropped.
I want more from DI Kim Stone and I want it now! Luckily, I have the five predecessors to catch up on.
Dead Souls is available from Amazon.