First Blood (D.I. Kim Stone #1) by Angela Marsons
This book is in fact a prequel to a long running series. I haven’t read any of the other books, so it was a perfect way to begin.
Detective Kim Stone has been assigned a new team. Before they can even begin to assess each other, they are called to the scene of a most brutal murder. It’s soon apparent that the victim is someone no-one is going to miss, and there is no shortage of suspects with a solid motive to want to see him die, preferably painfully.
As the body count rises, Stone and her team start to see a common thread that links the victims, and leads them to a women’s shelter.
Although this book deal with domestic violence and child sexual abuse, Marson does not dwell on the details. We discover that Stone is herself a survivor of abuse and the woefully inadequate child care system. This colours many of her responses and behaviour.
Stone is not a warm and fuzzy character. She rubs people up the wrong way, and has made many enemies within the police force. However, she is dedicated to her job and catching the perpetrator of these horrific murders.
Her team are a motley crew! DS Bryant is what is commonly known as a plodder. He isn’t particularly shiny and lacks ambition, but he has a strong track record for catching the bad guys, and is well respected within the force. On the other hand, DS Dawson is couch surfing, after a bust-up with his partner. He has a huge chip on his shoulder, and an inflated opinion of his own abilities. He is not well liked by previous co-workers and is fundamentally lazy. DC Stacey Wood passed the detective constable exam two weeks ago and has just moved into her own flat. She’s from a loving family and Nigerian community, but feels it’s time to stretch her wings and find her independence.
How this team find their feet, and the murderer, makes for a book that I couldn’t put down, and finished in just one day. The pace is perfect, and the character development nuanced. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.