The Birthday by Carol Wyer


Two years ago, a five-year-old girl went missing at a birthday party, and her body was recently discovered. Now another little girl is missing… and she was also a guest at the ill-fated celebration. It’s up to Detective Natalie Ward and her team to track down the killer, but with few leads to go on, it won’t be an easy task.

I love the DI Robyn Carter series, and looked forward to ‘meeting’ Detective Natalie Ward. My expectations were high, and I was concerned that I would compare the two characters and (perhaps) find myself wishing this novel was about the former—but I needn’t have worried. Wyer easily surpassed all my expectations, creating a dynamic lead character that is every bit as enthralling as the beloved DI Carter.

Natalie Ward’s first case strikes at the heart of every parent’s worst fear—the loss of a child. It wasn’t a stretch of the imagination at all to envision the terror felt by the parents of the missing children, nor was it hard to understand Natalie’s determination to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of the culprit.

Natalie’s personal life with her husband and children, as well as the personal lives of her team members, were as interesting for me to read about as the investigation itself. Lots of juicy nuggets of information were sprinkled throughout the book about several characters, and I can’t wait to learn more about them in future installments of the series!

I had a lot of fun trying to guess the identity of the killer, and one of my guesses was correct… but it was one guess out of MANY, so it doesn’t count as solving the crime before the Big Reveal happened. Finally knowing ‘whodunnit’ wasn’t enough to dissipate the threat of impending doom, however, and I could barely breathe as they rushed to find and arrest the killer.

Final Thoughts

Wyer’s latest offering sets the stage for what is sure to be another skillfully crafted series. The Birthday is intense, chilling, and the very definition of unputdownable. This is a must-read for fans of crime thrillers.

I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.

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Author: Carol Wyer
Title: The Birthday
Series: Detective Natalie Ward #1
Genre: Crime Thriller
Publication Date: September 27, 2018 by Bookouture
Rating: 5 stars

About the Book

One hot summer’s afternoon, five-year-old Ava Sawyer went to a party. She never came home…

When five-year-old Ava Sawyer goes missing from a birthday party at a local garden centre, the police are bewildered by the lack of leads. That is until two years later, when Ava’s body is found and another little girl, Audrey Briggs, goes missing. Audrey also attended that party …

Leading the investigation is Detective Natalie Ward . A mother of two teenagers, this case chills her to the bone, and is a disturbing reminder of the last job she worked on. One that ended very badly.

Natalie soon discovers that Ava’s mother has some worrying gaps in her alibi and as she digs deeper, she’s sure Ava’s father is not telling the full story. And what did the owner of the garden centre Elsa see that day? Something that she’s not telling Natalie …

Just as Natalie is facing up to the grim possibility that Ava and Audrey were killed by someone close to home, another little girl from the party doesn’t come home from her ballet lesson. Can Natalie find a way to stop this killer before more innocent lives are taken?

About the Author

CAROL WYER is the author of award-winning comedies and best-selling crime novels. The DI Robyn Carter and DI Natalie Ward series, published by Bookouture have sold over half a million copies and been translated into several languages including Polish, Czech, Slovak, Norwegian, Hebrew, Turkish and Hungarian.


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