Time for a case, or should I say a maze!
Title: The Sleepover (Natalie Ward #4)
Author: Carol Wyer
Date of publication: 5 September 2019
Format: uncorrected proof
Roxy had a secret. Now she’s gone.
When fourteen-year-old Roxy says she’s going for a sleepover at her best friend Ellie’s house, Cathy sees no reason to check her daughter’s story. The two families are neighbours, and the girls are in and out of each other’s homes every day.
It is a decision she will regret. A day later, Roxy is found murdered in exclusive Linnet Lane, miles across town, in a house owned by two brothers with no apparent connection to Roxy. Detective Natalie Ward, called to lead the investigation, is determined to get to the bottom of why Roxy was in the basement of this grand Victorian mansion when she should have been eating chocolate in her pyjamas with her best friend.
As Natalie begins to look closely at Roxy’s stepfather and three brothers, she discovers that Roxy had recently been admitted to hospital with suspicious injuries. Her mother Cathy seems very jumpy and Ellie refuses to talk. Who are the people that knew Roxy best in the world protecting?
Then Roxy’s mother Cathy disappears.
When Cathy’s body is discovered close to where her daughter was found, Natalie is forced to face the grim fact that the killer is just getting started. She is troubled by the reaction of Roxy’s brother Seth to the tragedies and when his alibi falls through she brings him in for questioning, certain she is making headway.
But while Seth is in custody, one of Roxy’s school friends is found murdered and Natalie knows she must cast her net wider. Things take a more sinister turn when Ellie vanishes, her mobile phone switched off. What is Ellie hiding about the night Roxy died that could put her in terrible danger? And can Natalie work it out before another innocent life is taken?
How many times do we need to say it; don’t lie to your parents!!! No, make it ‘don’t lie to anyone!’ I know, easier said than done, as shown in The Sleepover!
How harmful can lies be? I felt it was the focus of the novel. The author brilliantly mixes lies from the investigation with lies from Natalie’s personal life, allowing the reader to truly feel the impact of the aftermath of secrets. I really enjoy how Natalie’s family life ‘gets in the way’ or rather mirrors the problems she faces at work. It gives the series a unique angle that I am always hungry for.
One dead teenager, lots of suspects. When tragedy struck again, it only made the haystack bigger and the needle smaller! I love police procedurals for the brain work it requires and the puzzle-solving. I love to hate the frustration of a list of suspects. Often, this list is sketchy. In The Sleepover, the list is overflowing with names! It is just as frustrating! I felt like the team (and myself) were swimming in muddy waters, and each character around Roxy, the poor victim, seems to have the motive and the means to have carried out the … incident.
I say incident because nothing is straightforward in this book. Roxy’s death is wrapped in mystery, and everyone is blowing smoke around events preceding and following her death, from her own family to seemingly perfect strangers belonging to the night life.
When Roxy’s mother dies in suspicious circumstances and another young teenager is found lifeless, Natalie and her team begin to suspect the case is much more complicated than they originally thought. I had this image of Roxy glued in the middle of a spider’s web, before being joined by others. The wider the spider web, the darker the novel! Everyone else buzzes like mosquitoes on a summer night, one minute high on my suspects’ list, the next falling down to leave room for another name to wave a red flag. I was mad at everyone for keeping their mouth shut, for letting Roxy down, for just messing with my head!
It was both painful and infuriating to see how people close to you can be so far away when you are stuck in your own bubble. Can we really be close to someone? Can we actually know anyone?
I had an idea of who was behind this whole tragedy, but getting all the answers felt extremely satisfactory. The plot is weaved carefully so I could never get a rest and think ‘I’ve got it all figured out!’
It is easy to get engrossed in this cat and mouse game, and Natalie Ward is a good character to fight demons, those of others, and her own!
If this sounds like your cup of tea, you can grab your copy now! Amazon
I would like to thank Kim Nash and Bookouture for inviting me to be part of this tour and for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Her book, GRUMPY OLD MENOPAUSE won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction 2015.
Carol moved to the ‘dark side’ in 2017 with as series of thrillers. LITTLE GIRL LOST became the #2 best-selling book on Amazon, #9 best-selling audiobook on Audible and a Top 150 USA Today best-seller.
The DI Robyn Carter and DI Natalie Ward series have sold over half a million copies, earning her acclaim as a crime writer.
2019 sees the release of two romantic comedies and three DI Natalie Ward novels, including the much anticipated THE DARE and THE SLEEPOVER.
Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ”Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’ and on BBC Breakfast television. She has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’ featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and the Huffington Post.To learn more about Carol, go to www.carolwyer.co.uk or follow Carol on Twitter: @carolewyer.
Carol also blogs at www.carolwyer.com