[ARC Review] Child’s Play

D.I. Kim Stone #11 by Angela Marsons
Publsihed on:  July 11, 2019

Are all the books in the D.I. Kim Stone series this good?  Child’s Play is my first Angela Marsons book to read and review and true to the words on the cover – I couldn’t put it down.


Finally we’re playing a game. A game that I have chosen. I give one last push of the roundabout and stand back. ‘You really should have played with me,’ I tell her again although I know she can no longer hear.

Late one summer evening, Detective Kim Stone arrives at Haden Hill Park to the scene of a horrific crime: a woman in her sixties tied to a swing with barbed wire and an X carved into the back of her neck.

The victim, Belinda Evans, was a retired college Professor of Child Psychology. As Kim and her team search her home, they find an overnight bag packed and begin to unravel a complex relationship between Belinda and her sister Veronica.

Then two more bodies are found bearing the same distinctive markings, and Kim knows she is on the hunt for a ritualistic serial killer. Linking the victims, Kim discovers they were involved in annual tournaments for gifted children and were on their way to the next event.

With DS Penn immersed in the murder case of a young man, Kim and her team are already stretched and up against one of the most ruthless killer’s they’ve ever encountered. The clues lie in investigating every child who attended the tournaments, dating back decades.

Faced with hundreds of potential leads and a bereaved sister who is refusing to talk, can Kim get inside the mind of a killer and stop another murder before it’s too late?


I was hooked at the prologue.  The unsettling setup scene for this detective book/thriller was very disturbing, yet I found myself deeply engrossed in it.  The mental picture painted in my mind was haunting my thoughts as I read through it.  Even now as I write the review I still see what my mind created through the words of the book.

Child’s Play follows two different story lines and investigations.  The main story begins by introducing us to the victim’s sister.  A sister who isn’t cooperative at all, but why? And that’s what D.I. Stone can’t quite make sense of.  She’s uncooperative in a way that immediately tells you there is an underlying tone of dislike between the sisters that goes beyond normal personality differences.  No, this sibling relationship was complex and strange and down right bizarre.  So bizarre that it was captivating and became a mystery unto itself.  DI Stone and her crew can feel it too and continue trying to unravel this relationship if they don’t necessarily feel it relates directly to the murder.  Even now after I have read the book I look back at this unique bond between the two and have so many questions that I still want explained.  The book does eventually address most, but there are some that linger in my head unanswered.

The second story line is one that surprised me.  Penn is on loan to his old team so he can attend the trial of a man they arrested for murder.  But barely before this trial gets underway little things start to unravel or change suddenly forcing the question “What is going on?” or “What is causing these events to occur now – during the trial?”  What surprised me was how much I enjoyed this second mystery and when the book switched over to it I was just as engaged as I was in the main story line.

Overall, I appreciated all the research that went into this novel, plus I learned some new facts about child prodigies that I did not previously know.  Facts that had me going to wiki to look up and find more information on. 

I highly recommend this book to everyone.  But, of course, especially for those who like detective stories, police procedurals, and serial killer mysteries.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions expressed are my own.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s