ARC REVIEW: The Dare – by Carol Wyer

Title: The Dare
(Detective Natalie Ward #3)

Author: Carol Wyer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: April 25th 2019
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: April 5th 2019
Pages: 348

“Tiredness mingled with the damp made Natalie shiver and she shoved her hands deep into her jacket pockets to warm them.”

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

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Carol Wyer has done it again! She has proven me once again you can’t go wrong with her books and she is one of my go-to authors whenever I’m in the mood for an entertaining and fast-paced detective thriller. The Dare is already book number three of the Detective Natalie Ward series… And her team has another complicated case on their hands. While Natalie has never managed to grow on me completely (I can’t put my finger on the why though), what I love is the dynamics between the different members of her team. They all have their own unique personalities and add a little something to the investigation; sometimes the story switches to one of their POVs as well. In The Dare the story alternates between the police and the killer. We slowly learn more about the killer’s past, the meaning behind the title, the significance of the snake and why he does what he does. It shows the danger of the internet and its influence on teenagers… Especially since the younger generation seems to be getting more tech savy than their parents every second. There are a lot of twists and turns involved in The Dare, adding to the overall suspense and keeping you invested until the final reveals. Things will also get quite personal and a lot will be at stake for Natalie this time around. If you are a fan of fast-paced, well written and entertaining detective thrillers, you should definitely try meeting Natalie Ward.

WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first two books yet. I’ll keep the summary short but it’s almost impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

When Jane arrives home a little later than usual, she realizes that her thirteen-year-old daugher Savannah never came home. She immediately starts searching and soon after raises the alarm. Detective Natalie Ward and her team don’t have a lot of clues, and the race against the clock is one they won’t be able to win… Not even 24 hours later Savannah’s body is found close to her home. There isn’t a lot of evidence available, making it hard for the team to find solid clues and a suspects. And things are getting even more acute as another teenager goes missing the same day. Will they be able to catch whoever is behind it all on time?

If you are looking for a well written, suspenseful and entertaining detective thriller that reads like a train, you know you can always turn to Carol Wyer. Both this series and her detective thrillers in general have been consistently solid so far and The Dare is no exception to that rule. I found myself flying through those pages to discover more about the killer and how things would unfold… It’s true I never grew to like Natalie as a character, but her team’s chemistry mostly makes up for that. And I’ll definitely be looking forward to discover whatever will be thrown at them next.


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ARC REVIEW: Last Lullaby – by Carol Wyer

Title: Last Lullaby
(Detective Natalie Ward #2)

Author: Carol Wyer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: December 7th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: November 15th 2018
Pages: 361

“I thought she was heartless, but I’d no idea she was prepared to go to such lenghts to destroy other people’s happiness, to wreck my happiness.”

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

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I’ve been a fan of Carol Wyer‘s detective thrillers ever since I first read Little Girl Lost, and I’m always looking forward to any new installments. I was excited when I found out we were going to meet a new detective only a couple of months ago, and while I still prefer Detective Robyn Carter as a character, I have been looking forward to meet up with Detective Natalie Ward again. Last Lullaby is without doubt a great sequel and a chance to learn more about Natalie Ward and her team. While I admit I’m still not a fan of her, I liked how her team worked as a whole. The writing is of course as strong as ever and part of the reason her detective thrillers work so well for me. The same goes for the pace, plot and plot twists and the level of suspense. The case they are investigating in Last Lullaby seems to be quite straightforward at first glance, but turns out to have so many layers I would never have guessed. The plot twists are being executed brilliantly and the suspense is spot on, both only adding to the overall reading experience. There are a lot of wrong turns here and I like how we get to have a glimpse inside the head of the killer without the identity being revealed. Definitely a very strong case and a very strong sequel! I will be looking forward to the next book.

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When Adam finds the battered body of her wife Charlotte Brannon in their bedroom, detective Natalie Ward and her team are called in to investigate. Not only is her body badly beaten, but the killer has left a message on the wall: the word ‘why?’ written in her blood. As Natalie and her team begin digging into their lives, they discover both have been hiding a lot of secrets… It’s up to them to discover if they are related to the crime, and who is behind the death of the young mother.

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There is no doubt that Last Lullaby is a strong sequel and another excellent detective thriller by Carol Wyer. I always enjoy her way of writing; it’s engaging and really makes you fly through the pages. The case in this sequel is another fascinating one, especially since it’s almost like a Russian doll with all those hidden layers slowly being discovered. I love it when a story manages to surprise me and keeps me guessing about the identity of the killer until the final reveal. And even though Natalie Ward still isn’t a favorite of mine, I’m still looking forward seeing more of especially her team as a whole.


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ARC REVIEW: The Birthday – by Carol Wyer @bookouture

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! ***

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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!

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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…

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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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