When the body of a man is found, brutally mutilated and beheaded, the police are disturbed to find a young girl’s bedroom and a concealed laptop at his home. With his sister seemingly overjoyed at the demise of her brother, it is apparent that there are hidden secrets in this house. When Detective Kim Stone makes a connection to another case, it is up to her and her newly-gathered team to prove that there is a serial killer in operation. Will they be able to apprehend the murderer before more blood is spilt?

Well, this was definitely a surprise! As a huge fan of Angela Marsons’ Kim Stone series, I wasn’t expecting another book this year and I certainly wasn’t expecting a prequel! First Blood is the book we didn’t know we needed, but now it is apparent that we obviously did!

In Kim and her team, we already have a good understanding of what makes each of her characters tick, but now, we have had the opportunity to see how they got to where they are. Kim, we discover, has worked her way around numerous police stations, her attitude preventing her from being able to call any of them her own. Her new team are a real mish-mash of officers: Bryant is good at his job but unwilling to climb any further up the promotion ladder whereas Dawson is full of ambition and keen to take any glory. The final member of the team, Stacey is a new detective, eager to impress. I loved finding out more about these characters, and was especially delighted to see one that I didn’t think we’d meet again!

Perhaps the biggest revelation to me was the backstory of Kim’s boss, Woody. Although he has featured prominently in the series, I developed a new-found respect for him in this book and will certainly view him more favourably in subsequent books!

The plot is a very emotive one dealing with abuse, both domestic and child abuse. In some chapters, we hear from an unknown person, who is seemingly on some sort of vigilante mission. Although the murders are quite barbaric, Angela Marsons has succeeded in making you feel some sympathy towards the killer as it is apparent that they have, themselves, suffered in the past. There are a few twists along the way and I was genuinely surprised when the killer was revealed, even if there were some clues along the way!

Each time I read the next Kim Stone book, I wonder how Angela Marsons manages to keep up the quality and she has done it yet again with First Blood. This was a great pre-Christmas present to all of her fans, and I can’t wait for the next one!

Read my reviews of the rest of the series:

Silent Scream

Evil Games

Lost Girls

Play Dead

Blood Lines

Dead Souls

Broken Bones

Dying Truth

Fatal Promise

Dead Memories

Child’s Play