Title: The Birthday
(Detective Natalie Ward #1)
Author: Carol Wyer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: September 27th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 4th 2018
Pages: 316

“You work with what you’ve been given. Don’t turn your attention to what might happen. It hasn’t yet.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***


I have really enjoyed Carol Wyer’s books so far, so of course I knew I had to try out her new detective series as soon as I heard about it. And who can resist that cover and blurb?! I was looking forward to reading The Birthday and while not perfect, it was without doubt a good start of a new series. Of course the writing is just as strong as ever, with a quality I have become used to and a way to charm you into flipping page after page without putting the book down. The case in The Birthday is both intriguing and will chill you to the bone… Child kidnappings are always so hard to read about, especially if there are multiple lives on the line. The things that happen in this detective thriller will give any parent nightmares, and even childless readers will be emotionally invested. There is definitely a lot to love in The Birthday, so why didn’t I rate it higher? Well, this mostly has to do with the new main character we meet. Sadly, I wasn’t able to connect to the new detective or most of her team. Instead of refreshing and interesting, I found especially Natalie Ward to be mostly cliche and I really do hate cheating characters. There was nothing ‘new’ this team added to the genre for me, nothing original to cause a spark. I am willing to give detective Natalie Ward and her team a second chance though, mostly because the writing, plot development and suspense are spot on. And there are without doubt a few twists hidden in there that will manage to surprise you!


The five-year-old Ava Sawyer went missing from a birthday party at a local garden centre two years ago, and not a trace of her whereabouts are found during all that time. But then her body is finally found, and not long after another little girl goes missing. A girl who strangely had attended the exact same birthday party where Ava had disappeared… Detective Natalie Ward and her team will have to work hard to discover if the two cases are related, and who is behind it all. The clock is ticking, as the killer doesn’t seem to be stopping on his own…


As I said before, there is a lot to love in The Birthday. The writing is solid and engaging, making you fly through the pages. The plot is interesting, suspenseful and has just the right amount of twists for me. I did guess part of the ending, but overall you are left in the dark most of the time. My only problem was with the new detective and her team; I simply wasn’t able to warm up to her and found both her personal life and way of investigating to be mostly cliche or at least not that original. I’m still curious about the sequel though.


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