Today’s book review of a crime novel is brought to you by yours truly, Morgen Bailey. If you’d like your book reviewed or to send me a book review of another author’s book, see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.
Think of the Children by Kerry Wilkinson
Synopsis: One boy is dead. A killer is free. Who is next? Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel is first on the scene as a stolen car crashes on a misty, wet Manchester morning. The driver is dead, but the biggest shock awaits her when she discovers the body of a child wrapped in plastic in the boot of the car. As Jessica struggles to discover the identity of the driver, a thin trail leads her first to a set of clothes buried in the woods and then to a list of children’s names abandoned in an allotment shed. With the winter chill setting in and parents looking for answers, Jessica must find out who has been watching local children, and how this connects to a case that has been unsolved for 14 years.
Author bio (from Amazon): Despite two British national newspaper reports to the contrary, Kerry Wilkinson is male. Honestly. His debut, Locked In, the first in the detective Jessica Daniel series, is a UK no.1 Kindle bestseller, with the first three Jessica Daniel books making him Amazon UK’s top-selling author for the final quarter of 2011. Think Of The Children came out in February 2013, outselling Dan Brown to become Amazon UK’s no.1 Kindle pre-order, making the top 10 crime ebooks, and entering the official top 20 paperback chart. Kerry is the first formerly self-published British author to have an ebook no.1 and reach the top 20 of the UK paperback chart. With Playing With Fire, Thicker Than Water, Behind Closed Doors and standalone dark thriller, Watched, Kerry has had eight consecutive top-20 UK Kindle crime books. In July 2014, Griffin will publish Reckoning, the first novel in Kerry’s young adult / fantasy / adventure series – the Silver Blackthorn trilogy. He is an occasional sports journalist and can frequently be spotted cycling the hills of Lancashire while trying not to be knocked off. Please drive safely around him. He was born in Somerset but now lives in the northwest. Find out more at: http://kerrywilkinson.com, http://facebook.com/JessicaDanielBooks.
Review (of the audiobook)
Having listened to, and reviewed, The Woman In Black (you can read that here), I felt quite familiar with Jessica and her colleagues. The story starts with a fatal pre-Christmas bad weather road traffic accident but all isn’t what it seems and fantastic ending to chapter one. There are subtle differences between the two books including a formerly chilled boss, now stressed for various reasons.
Weather plays a part of the story and I enjoyed the part where Jessica drips in her boss’ office.
Interweaved with the main plot of the missing boys, we have Jessica’s love life and that of her friends and colleagues, and her inability, and as we had in the previous novel, to drive (two opportunities for those around her to take the Mickey, some of many instances of humour, some more subtle than others.
Other key points include allotments, missing boys, separated families and queried identities.
There’s pace all the way through the eight discs, especially in the final chapters, with short sections, keeping the reader’s interest throughout, and it ends with an expected yet twist ending that would make the hardest of reviewers go “ah”.
The names Kerry uses for his characters are fairly unique to each other and therefore not confusion other than Reynolds and Rowlands (both regulars within the series) which, on occasion, I had to remind myself who was who.
I’ve said in some of my previous reviews that the narrator makes a huge difference to the experience of audiobooks. Becky Hindley narrates this and the previous in the series and is superb, one of my favourite narrators.
I don’t know how long Kerry has been writing – I’d guess a few years as this is the fourth novel in the Jessica Daniel series – or how much his editor influenced the end results, but it feels an incredibly taut series and the action seamless. Kerry should be very proud.
Rating: 5 out of 5. Apart from the two names, I couldn’t fault it.
Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an E”) is a prolific blogger, podcaster, editor / critiquer, Chair of NWG (which runs the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition), Head Judge for the NLG Flash Fiction Competition and creative writing tutor for her local county council. She is also a freelance author of numerous ‘dark and light’ short stories, novels, articles, and very occasional dabbler of poetry. Like her, her blog, https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, is consumed by all things literary. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook along with many others (listed on her blog’s Contact page). She also recently created five online writing groups and an interview-only blog.
Her debut novel is the chick lit eBook The Serial Dater’s Shopping List ($0.99 / £0.77) and she has six others (mostly crime) in the works. She also has eight collections of short stories available (also $0.99 / £0.77 each) – detailed on https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine/short-stories.
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If you would like to send me a book review of another author’s books or like your book reviewed (short stories, contemporary crime / women’s novels or writing guides), see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog. And I post writing exercises every weekday on four online writing groups.