Blog Tour Review, Stolen Darlings

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Stolen Darlings
Helen Phifer

301 pages
published September 29, 2023

Amazon | Goodreads

About the Book:

The girl’s body is lying still and the crown of rare darling roses is perfectly positioned in her beautiful auburn hair. Morgan thinks she looks picture-perfect. Until she notices the blood dripping down one side of the boulder beneath her…

Following her colleague Ben up to Castlerigg Stone Circle, Detective Morgan Brookes is shocked at what she finds. A young woman has been killed, left on display at the top of the hill with a crown of roses on her head. As the team race to get the popular tourist spot cordoned off, Morgan hears the heartbroken sobs of the woman who found the body, as she identifies the victim as her best friend Cora Dalton.

Morgan can already see that Cora didn’t struggle when her throat was cut. There’s no blood on the beautiful white gown she was wearing, which means that Cora knew her killer. But everyone, including her boyfriend Jay, has an alibi. As a local shopkeeper, Cora was a huge part of the community, and her neighbours are devastated to lose such a sweet soul.

Then Morgan’s team discover that a local photographer had arranged to meet Cora, and it’s clear from his messages that he chose her elegant white dress. Could their photoshoot have taken a sinister turn?

But when another body is found at another stone circle, wearing an identical flower crown, while the photographer is in custody, Morgan loses the only lead she has. Tracking down the florist who made the crown, Morgan pores over their records and realises the killer purchased three circles of roses…

Certain another innocent life is at risk and with the killer already steps ahead, can Morgan find the connection between these girls before another life is stolen?

An unbelievably gripping new crime thriller in the Detective Morgan Brookes series. Readers of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Lisa Regan will be holding their breath as they race through the pages to the final, epic conclusion.

My Review

Before I talk about the plot, I have to give a shout out to the author for referencing a book club that is going to read Strange Sally Diamond.  I loved that book too.

This series has quickly joined the list of my favorite crime series that I have to read as soon as possible.  It is book 10 in the Morgan Brookes series and can be read as a stand alone.  The author does a good job of letting you know (or reminding you if you’ve read it) what you need to know from previous books in the series.

I was drawn into the ritualistic killing of a women with a wreath of roses on her head.  I read this one quickly as I wanted to know more.  Why the roses and who was the killer.  There were a few suspects and I fell for the red herrings here.  I waffled and could not figure out the who or the why.  In this series, I also like the work life balance of the characters.  While you read a crime procedural to read about the crime, but what makes it for me is also who is solving the crime.  Morgan, her boss/boyfriend Ben and the rest of the team are strong likable characters that I really like to know more about.  I like their banter and that someone always seems to go off a little half cocked and gets themself into a situation.

If you are a fan of crime series, the complex plot and great characters make this one you should add to your collection.

About the Author

Helen Phifer is the Bestselling writer of the hugely popular Annie Graham, Lucy Harwin, Beth Adams and her current series featuring Detective Constable Morgan Brooks published by the fabulous Bookouture.

She lives in the busy town of Barrow-in-Furness surrounded by miles of coastline and a short drive from the glorious English Lake District.

Helen loves reading books that scare the heck out of her and is eternally grateful to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Herbert and Graham Masterton for scaring her senseless in her teenage years. Unable to find enough scary stories she decided to write her own and her debut novel The Ghost House released in October 2013 became a #1 Global Bestseller.

She has written over twenty books in various genres and you can follow her over at the places listed below.

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