Published Nov 15th, 2023
Another spellbinding mystery by the Queen of modern English crime! Bad Blood is number 20 in the DI Kim Stone police procedural series, (officially it’s 19 but there’s a prequel). Somehow even after all these books, Angela Marsons still manages to find interesting topics to explore and dramatic scenarios for her characters to get themselves out of. This one is about the grey area between the law and justice, and has the team hunting a vigilante killer while themselves breaking the rules to protect their own, and those they think have suffered enough. As usual, each novel stands alone, but this is definitely a series best enjoyed in order, or at the very least I recommend reading the previous book, Deadly Fate, before this one to understand what’s happening with Stacey.
Kim is called to a crime scene where the body has been forced into an unnatural position – and then they discover that he’s not quite dead. When a second victim is found in similar circumstances, the team discover that both men had been incarcerated as teenagers for horrible crimes, and became part of a group known as the Psycho Six who terrorised the staff and other inmates. Now someone is getting revenge, and Kim must overcome her revulsion and do her best to protect the other four. Meanwhile Stacey’s stalker has led to her struggling at work, forcing her to reveal her secret, but instead of offering care and support, Kim and Devon are furious at her lack of trust, leaving her just as alone and afraid. Who will stop Terence Birch if the law can’t?
I hate the term unputdownable, because in the real world, you do actually have to go to work, cook meals, sleep and get your tax return done, but this was the first book in a while that I couldn’t wait to get back to because I was desperate to know what would happen next. I loved how the core team all play their parts, as well as having their own life problems to juggle, and other intriguing characters from earlier in the series also reappear to help out. Amidst the drama, there are some very funny scenes, and a few very sweet moments. Yet again, I had no idea who the killer would turn out to be, although the explanation relied a bit too heavily on coincidence, and Kim encountering yet another serial killer within the same small part of England is beyond preposterous. Still, for storytelling this compelling I can forgive much. 4.5 rounded up. Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture.