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The Birthday – Carol Wyer.

Book Blurb

One hot summer’s afternoon, five-year-old Ava Sawyer went to a party. She never came home… Two years later, 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? Available here

My review

OH MY DAYS! This is my first book by this author but not the last. I read this in a couple of sittings, soaking up the sun down in Hossegor, while the kids were playing around in the surf. Within seconds Wyer had dragged me kicking and screaming from the south west of France and into the nightmare of a missing child. I could have been sitting on a drizzly beach on Clacton-on-Sea for the difference it made, my eyes clued to the screen as the plot unfolded on every parents worst nightmare.

The writing is strong, the plot fluid and, probably more important for me, believable. So many books these days are far-fetched and with that new baddie character shoe-horned in over the last couple of chapters. This was good honest reading and tightly plotted fiction. I’ll be adding her to my list of favourite writers.

5 shiny pointy things