In Broken Bones, the latest Kim Stone book by Angela Marsons, two seemingly separate cases will intersect in an explosive ending.
One heavy-snowing and extremely cold Christmas day, DI Kim Stone finds outside their police headquarters an abandoned baby all nicely tucked in, which shows care for the baby.
So what kinds of difficulties can a mom find herself in for her to leave a baby that she seemingly loved so much? Kim is responsible for the baby until Child Protective Services can take care of the newborn. Kim’s Christmas Day proves to be a very strange one, indeed.
On the same day, a prostitute is murdered. The body seems to be savagely mutilated. Kim’s next task is to investigate the murder. Soon after, a second prostitute is killed, which strongly hints at a serial killer at work. Kim, along with her team including Stacey, Dawson, and Bryant, has to work the two cases parallel.
Eventually, the team finds a thread connecting the two cases, all involving modern-day slavery and an Eastern European country, Romania. Everything points to a group of factory workers coming from Romania, all women who are kept on a tight leash by their boss. Kim and her team, as much as they try to get to speak with the Romanian women, they can’t come near them without supervision by the bosses.
During the investigation, we get some glimpses into Kim’s past, into her very difficult and broken childhood. Someone from her past (whom we met in a previous book) is now a prostitute herself, and Kim can’t but feel sorry for her and all the street women who are forced into such work with no way out. So when some bosses hint at the prostitute case as not something important, Kim not only disagrees but goes ahead with her investigation, despite the warnings.
I love the interaction and banter of her entire team, especially her relationship with Bryant, which is not only solid but quite interesting to follow. The dialogue is often humorous and witty, quite snarky at times.
Kim is a character about whom we learn more and more with each book. She is quite complex who knows about the hardships of life, and one whom you can’t but admire every step of the way.
However, another character I started to really like is Stacey. She is not only a copper but quite the complex character herself. I thoroughly enjoyed her being given a bit of extra stage time in this latest Kim Stone novel. I also enjoyed Stacey’s colloquial language, it made me chuckle at times. I’m not sure if people in England actually speak like this today, but it gave Stacey a charm that I haven’t noticed until now.
Every time I read another Kim Stone novel, I keep thinking about whether reading the book series in order is a must. And every time I come to the conclusion that no, it isn’t a must. Each book has a separate case (or cases) to be solved, so if you pick up right now Broken Bones, you will probably not get lost at all.
However, the more books I read in the series, the more attached I get to the characters. Kim, Bryant, Stacey and the rest of the team, are great characters and they develop quite nicely. I was surprised that Angela Marsons gave so much space Stacey in the book, but I was pleasantly surprised. So even just for the character progression, interaction and development, I do recommend reading the DI Kim Stone series in proper publication order. The chronological order is the same (so far at least).