Grand Central Publishing

First Blood and Play Dead are two books just released by Angela Marsons.  Those who are squeamish might want to bypass certain scenes because both books do have the victims tortured. These police procedurals allow readers to follow the clues and as they get brief glimpses of the killer’s mindset.

Readers will enjoy getting to know the main character, DI Kim Stone.  She hates to deal with people, is impatient, and loves to ride on her motorcycle.  She is relentless until the crime is solved.  Each member of the team has their own distinct personality.  They complement each other’s strengths and skills and are extremely loyal.

First Blood is the prequel to this long-standing series. Although each book can be read on its own, reading this book first will allow readers to understand and get to know the characters.  Each character has their own past, trials, triumphs, flaws, fears, dreams, and sense of humor. Their first case together involves pedophiles who are murdered.  Kim and the team must find the killer to stop these murders.

Play Dead is the most recent book in the series. Kim and her team are called to Westerley Research Facility, a body farm in the English Black Country, to investigate the body of a woman who does not belong.  It appears that the killer decided to leave the victims there to bury their crime. Kim and her team need to uncover the truth before there is another victim, journalist Tracy Frost.

Marsons does a great job in humanizing the characters while writing a gripping story. Both books will not want to be put down since readers will be engrossed from page one to the finish. 

Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the series?

Angela Marsons: First Blood just came out in the US, but in the UK a few years ago.  It is a prequel. I was rejected for twenty-five years, but those were not crime books.  I finally decided to write crime books with a character, Kim, that has been in my head for a long-long time. The first book in the series, Silent Scream, was more of a rebellion book on my part. I wrote this police force in an area I know, the Black Country of the UK. Now I am on book seventeen with lots more to come. I did do research into police procedure. Every story is based on a subject I wanted to explore. Then I interweave the crime story.

EC:  The backstory on your main character Kim?

AM:  She had a bad mother, was put into many foster families.  Finally, one was going to adopt her and then they died.  Her mom is mentally ill, cruel, and abusive. Because something terrible happened to her she feels she is half of a person. 

EC:  How would you describe Kim?

AM: Kim was harsh and closed off because of her terrible childhood.  Through the years she has mellowed. She only lets people get semi-close because she fears people will leave her or die. She lacks social skills, is independent, has trouble working with others, impetus, impatient, not tactful, determined, caring, passionate, has integrity, and will always fight for the underdog. She has a boundary line on how far she may break a rule. 

EC:  What about the police team Kim oversees?

AM:  Detective Sgt.  Kevin Dawson is ambitious, seeks attention, cocky, arrogant, self-centered, committed, and determined. 

Detective Constable Stacey Wood is a pleaser, timid, has integrity, lacks confidence, and is enthusiastic. She does not appreciate how much she contributes to the team, not realizing her importance and place. 

DS Bryant: I have never revealed his first name, but in the November book the readers will find out his first name.  He is calm, tolerant, smart, very loyal, very supportive, can connect the dots, likes to solve puzzles, and is the glue of the team.  

EC:  How is the team interaction?

AM:  Kim has softened towards them. They have become a family towards her although she will never admit it.  She is totally protective and loyal to the team. 

EC:  How did you get the idea for First Blood?

AM: It is a crime story about how the team came together, where they came from, and what are their experiences.  They solved their first case together. 

EC:  Was the word “victim” to nice a word for most of the victims?

AM:  Yes!  I am pretty sure most readers will not care if they lived or died and do not have much empathy. Not everybody who gets murdered is likable and people will not cry to many tears for their passing. 

EC:  First Blood and Play Dead had something in common?

AM:  Kim said that a lot of those who are abused do not go out and kill. Two people can suffer a similar abusive childhood, but they do not go and kill. Like Kim, there are those who make a conscious decision to not allow the past to rule the future. It must be a mixture of mindset, personality type, and what happened in the past. 

EC:  How did you get the idea for the story in Play Dead?

AM:  I wanted to write a story that was gorier. My partner gave me the idea for murders happening in a Body Farm. I found it fascinating to learn about it including how a body decays, and how insects react to a dead body. I do want to tell the readers that there is no facility in the Black Country.  That part is fiction.

EC:  I loved that scene in Play Dead, with the dogs?

AM: They were German Shepherd dogs that are a deterrence. In England, police officers and detectives do not carry guns.  There are tactical teams that do. But it is nice to have other ways of getting the bad guys.

EC:  You put the victims in this book through hell and back?

AM:  Yes.  I had them kidnapped, drugged, undressed, beaten, had dirt put in their mouth, and killed. 

EC:  Next books?

AM:  I write two Kim books a year.  In November a book will be out titled Hidden Scars about sexuality conversion therapy and in May the book is about a psychic. The question throughout Hidden Scars is it successful?




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About the Author

Elise Cooper

Elise writes book reviews that always include a short author interview.