Reviewing series is equally awfully difficult and totally exciting! Today, we’re reuniting with Natalie Ward!
Hugs to the Bookouture team for providing me with a copy of the novel and to Kim for organising such a great blog tour!
Title: The Dare
Author: Carol Wyer
Date of publication: 25/04/2019
Format: uncorrected proof
Number of pages: 348
Jane’s daughter is a good girl. What is she hiding?
When thirteen-year-old Savannah Hopkins doesn’t come straight home from school, as she always does, her mother Jane immediately raises the alarm.
Leading the investigation is Detective Natalie Ward whose daughter Leigh is the same age as Savannah. Soon Natalie’s worst fears are confirmed when the teenager’s broken body is found in nearby shrubland.
Evidence points towards a local recluse, but just as the net is closing around him, one of Savannah’s friends, Harriet, is reported missing.
As Natalie delves into the lives of both girls, she soon discovers a sinister video on their phones, daring the girls to disappear from their families for 48 hours.
But Natalie isn’t quick enough for this killer, and she is devastated to find Harriet’s body on a fly tip a day later.
Caught up in the case, she takes her eye off her own daughter and when Leigh goes missing after school she knows she must be in terrible danger. The clock is ticking for Natalie. Can she catch this killer before her little girl becomes the next victim?
This gripping rollercoaster of a read will have you up in the small hours turning the pages. Fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Caine and Robert Dugoni will love The Dare.
Oh, Carol Wyer knows how to play with her readers’ feelings!
The Dare is the third book in the DI Natalie Ward series and the strongest novel in terms of characterization, in my opinion. Natalie is as busy as ever, mother to two, wife to a husband with issues, and super cop with a good team. I remember how detached I’d felt from our main character during my read of Last Lullaby (review here!). It wasn’t due to Natalie being a simplistic and uninteresting character. On the contrary, I love how Carol did not play the card to make Natalie perfect, or perfectly imperfect, to win people’s heart. Natalie makes mistakes, she can appear cold, and frankly, I had issues getting into her head before. This new installment in the series allowed me to get closer to her, and for this only, The Dare is a winner.
Could the fact teenage girls are involved be the reason why Natalie is growing on me? No. No maternal instinct was involved, although the case had my stomach churning and my head spinning with nightmarish images. No, I think I can finally connect to Natalie because I have enough bits and pieces of her to create a portray of her in my head. Don’t get me wrong, the previous books introduce you to Natalie the right way. But it is a different way that the one we’re used to in this kind of police procedurals. This time, I didn’t only come up with a physical image, but also a good idea of her personality, and a real sense of what she is dealing with. I think Carol Wyer did a wonderful job creating such a female character. It was a risk, of course, but revealing her the way she does, a few crumbs of doughnut at a time, putting Natalie on a pedestal the reader needs to climb to get an idea of who is hiding behind the glassy surface, is simply brilliant. Alternating between professional Nat and personal Nat, I got the full picture of her life for the first time, and the bonds between her and her family, as well as her team, felt genuine, more authentic, and echoed what I believe to be a very close call to real life.
The Dare… Have you ever played Truth or Dare? I know I did. A very very very long time ago. Before my first white hair. But I never was a daring kid. Let alone a daring teenager! However, a small part of me remembered the feeling of doing something others wouldn’t, or didn’t think I could do, and I recalled the thrill of the act. Teens are stupid, we know it. All those hormones, all those reactions to events they can’t control. It reminds me of adults, except we’re better at hiding how clueless we are about life, haha!
Where was I? Yes! Daring… Have you heard about the games kids these days play? Can you keep up with what’s happening in youngsters’ lives? I know I can’t. It frightens me! I think I wouldn’t survive the heavy load of motherhood! I find myself fascinated by parents/children relationships and the gap that growing up creates. One day, you are your kids’ hero, the next you are their worst enemy. Carol Wyer uses it, letting real-life teenagers spring off the page to play their part in a deadly investigation. I failed at not caring! I blame the author’s true understanding of all players, tugging at the heartstrings while never falling for the easy way of bad kids/bad parents. Good kids take bad decisions, it happens all the time. Good parents make mistakes. And some people take advantage of it.
If many crime fiction books play with a certain pace, The Dare is setting new records! One girl disappears, only to be found very quickly, and very dead. Before you know it, another one follows, and the hours pile up, stretching days with a dangerous mix of adrenaline and fatigue. With lives in danger and a team running in circles, I couldn’t help but bite my lips and let my eyes drive as fast as they could on the words’ road, only to witness things get personal for Natalie. I was past the ‘completely addicted’ level at this point!
An abrupt stop. A gasp. And I think this is the exact moment I thought ‘I like her’. I admired Natalie’s way of dealing with every wall of her life cracking down. My heart was racing, and I am absolutely sure I would never have been able to handle things the way she did. I can’t and won’t say much about the investigation because, with every series, I believe you need to discover those things yourself, but believe me, it is entirely worth it to meet Natalie, fight her, and finally fall for her! This time again, the author delights us with a fabulous book! I can’t wait to know what happens next! The Dare is a brilliant and deathly over-the-speed limit ride!
I dared reading, and I put you to the challenge! Will you?