The Birthday by Carol Wyer
One hot summer’s afternoon, five-year-old Ava Sawyer went to a party. She never came home…
When five-year-old Ava Sawyer goes missing from a birthday party at a local garden centre, the police are bewildered by the lack of leads. That is until two years later, when Ava’s body is found and another little girl, Audrey Briggs, goes missing. Audrey also attended that party …
Leading the investigation is Detective Natalie Ward . A mother of two teenagers, this case chills her to the bone, and is a disturbing reminder of the last job she worked on. One that ended very badly.
Natalie soon discovers that Ava’s mother has some worrying gaps in her alibi and as she digs deeper, she’s sure Ava’s father is not telling the full story. And what did the owner of the garden centre Elsa see that day? Something that she’s not telling Natalie …
Just as Natalie is facing up to the grim possibility that Ava and Audrey were killed by someone close to home, another little girl from the party doesn’t come home from her ballet lesson. Can Natalie find a way to stop this killer before more innocent lives are taken?
Gripping, fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense, this book will send shivers down your spine. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter.
This is the first book I have read by Carol Wyer. However, I have heard a lot about this author and absolutely love the cover for The Birthday.
Detective Natalie Ward is investigating the murder of a five-year-old girl called Ava Sawyer. She went missing from a birthday party at a garden centre two years previously. Her body has only just been found. Natalie and her team soon realise that other girls who attended the same party have also gone missing, but they struggle to find another link.
As a mother herself Natalie devotes herself to finding the killer, to the detriment of her own family. She works round the clock, persuing the slightest lead and managing her team with ultimate professionalism. There are dead ends aplenty and you can feel the frustration building in this tense, well-written police procedural. The book is primarily written from Natalie’s perspective but there are short interludes which contain the perpetrator’s thoughts and that of his victims. I felt this added another dimension to the plot. Natalie herself is a flawed character with a troubled home life and a professional point to prove. This perfectly sets the scene for other books in the series, where I hope to find out more about the personal side of Natalie’s life.
Well paced, intelligently written and I’m sure it will be the start of an excellent crime series.
Thank you to Bookouture and the author for a copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.
Thank you for reading.