Robert Bryndza has been on my list of authors to read for some time. Many people will probably be very cross with me at this point as I now openly admit that this is the first book I have read of his. It also happens to be the fourth in this Kate Marshall series. But before you all get the pitchforks out there is a weird method to my madness. I do quite often pick up a book which is further along in the series than I should do. Especially if it’s an author I’ve not heard of before or one not widely known. I do this for several reasons, but the most obvious reason for me is writing style. If I dislike the way the author writes, then I know there is no point in me starting at the very beginning.
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Anyway back to the book… Having heard a lot about Robert Bryndza, I saw this on NetGalley and requested a copy. I got an e-book version rather than the audiobook which I was quite happy about. I’ve seen some reviews about the audiobook version and not all were positive about the narrator’s voice. We all know how important the voice is for an audiobook!
You can buy the paperback (or hardback if you’d prefer) version on Amazon now!
Side note: If you’re not on NetGalley – I suggest you get signed up real quick! Really good for finding ARCs as well as hyped books. Check it out.
Recovering in the hospital after a near-death experience leaves her shaken, Private Investigator Kate Marshall meets an elderly lady called Jean Julings. At first, Kate is not sure what to make of Jean but as Jean begins telling her story of how her three-year old grandson Charlie went missing eleven years ago, Kate’s interest is piqued.
By the time Kate is ready to be discharged from hospital she has agreed to take on the case. As Kate and her business partner Tristan begin digging into the events that lead to Charlie’s disappearance, they discover more than they bargained for.
All clues from the previous police investigation point to Charlie drowning in a rushing river. But when Kate and Tristan discover that a social worker who flagged concerns over the Julings family was found brutally murdered, they begin to suspect something else is afoot…
Layered in dark family secrets, a murdered social worker and plenty of twists and turns, this book is a good thriller to add to your tbr. I am always sceptical about how authors treat topics such as this as sometimes they can go too far and then the story becomes unbelievable, but Bryndza has done a good job to ensure this remains believable without the dramatics. This book is a good standalone novel with all the red herrings and other leads you’d expect of a psychological thriller.
I started this book towards the end of the series as you know but I felt I didn’t miss too much background information to read this. However, I do think I could have gotten more out of this story had I known the background detail. I worked out the ‘big’ twist fairly early on which is reflected in my rating nevertheless, I would definitely say this is worth a read. I was still keen to work out the story and whether Bryndza would throw another red herring my way.
There were areas in which I wasn’t a fan of the writing style. Some of the interactions between characters didn’t feel very natural and some of the descriptions of both characters and story development felt unnecessary. I would have liked to have explored more of the character development of both Kate & Tristan in this book as well as played more on Kate’s strained relationship with her son, who is now at university. I think this last relationship could have possibly lent itself more to this book than Kate’s initial swimming mishap right at the beginning, but this could be due to the fact I haven’t read the other books in this series so definitely take that with a pinch of salt!
There were characters which did make me laugh out loud a few times – namely Tristan’s friend and former police officer Ade. I found some of the comments and offhand remarks quite amusing which gave a really nice element of light relief to this book.
Bryndza’s ability to describe a sinister occult feel through descriptions of the Pixie Tree (a key landmark in this story) and its involvement gave me the spine-chilling feels that only come along from the really dark and twisted tales you shouldn’t read alone at night. This feeling I really loved and I would say this really helped immerse you in the setting of Dartmoor and its rugged, eerie and unforgiving landscape. Good play on the scene setting for me!
Having researched some of the other works by Bryndza, I think I would prefer the darker series which focuses on Erika Foster but this is only my personal taste. Overall, I think this is a good read and would recommend trying this novel if you are keen to explore the world of Kate Marshall and get started with Robert Bryndza.
Have you read any Robert Bryndza?
As always, happy reading!