Happy publication day to a woman who never fails to amaze me, the rather lovely Carol Wyer! Many congratulations!! I am absolutely delighted to be kicking off the blog blitz for Carol’s brand new novel, ‘The Birthday’. I started and finished this book last night (nothing like cutting it fine), and I have to say that you’re all in for a treat! Huge thanks, as always, to Bookouture for the blitz invite and the ARC. Here is my review:
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 still keeps her awake at night…
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?
What does TWG think?
With a five year old daughter of my own, the theme of ‘The Birthday’ felt very close to home in terms of the children and their ages. But, without sounding too weird, it was also that theme which made me dig my nails into the book to ensure that my hands never let go. How did I end up finding myself gripped by a devastating situation? It wasn’t as though I found the fact that a little girl went missing, highly entertaining, it was more to do with wanting answers for the missing girl and staying right to the end to get those answers so that her family and loved ones (and I), could let the girl rest in peace without any question marks looming overhead.
‘The Birthday’ is the first book in a brand new series, with Detective Natalie Ward as the ‘go to’ person. I thought she was absolutely brilliant. She refused to take any rubbish from her team, nor did she allow her superior to ignore her gut instinct regarding the investigation. Maybe it was a mother’s intuition, but Natalie Ward knew that something wasn’t quite right when the first body was found, and she knew that things were about to blow when another little girl ends up being put onto the police radar. Either way, Natalie refused to give up.
The storyline switches between the present, the past involving the person behind the first disappearance, as well as the ‘voices’ if you will, of the girls involved in the situation. It isn’t confusing at all, in fact it adds another thrilling dimension to an already highly intense read.
I did end up working out who was involved before it was known and revealed by Natalie and her team, but due to the fast paced, twisty nature of the storyline, it didn’t frustrate me as much as it usually would. Put it this way, I was obviously highly invested in the storyline because when I reached the end of the book, I hadn’t prepared myself and felt like there should have been more. I wanted more!
‘The Birthday’ is an incredible, incredible start to a series I cannot wait to read more of. Carol Wyer has raised the bar once again with this book and, whilst I do have faith in her to raise it again with the next book, I have absolutely no idea how she is going to beat this book.
A jaw dropping, highly anticipated, thrilling, addictive, and incredibly dark novel which left my body covered in goosebumps – fantastic, fantastic read!
About the author.
Carol Wyer garnered a loyal following as an author of romantic comedies, and won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015). In 2017 she stepped from comedy to the “dark side” and embarked on a series of thrillers, featuring the popular DI Robyn Carter, which earned her recognition as a crime writer.
The Staffordshire-based writer now has more crime novels in the pipeline, although she can still sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.