Title: The Dare
Author: Carol Wyer
Publication Date: 25th April 2019
About the book:
Jane’s daughter is a good girl. What is she hiding?
When thirteen-year-old Savannah Hopkins doesn’t come straight home from school, as she always does, her mother Jane immediately raises the alarm.
Leading the investigation is Detective Natalie Ward whose daughter Leigh is the same age as Savannah. Soon Natalie’s worst fears are confirmed when the teenager’s broken body is found in nearby shrubland.
Evidence points towards a local recluse, but just as the net is closing around him, one of Savannah’s friends, Harriet, is reported missing.
As Natalie delves into the lives of both girls, she soon discovers a sinister video on their phones, daring the girls to disappear from their families for 48 hours.
But Natalie isn’t quick enough for this killer, and she is devastated to find Harriet’s body on a fly tip a day later.
Caught up in the case, she takes her eye off her own daughter and when Leigh goes missing after school she knows she must be in terrible danger. The clock is ticking for Natalie. Can she catch this killer before her little girl becomes the next victim?
It’s adult book review day here on SWB and today I’m sharing my review of The Dare, the third book in the DI Natalie Ward series by Carol Wyer. Are you fed up of me telling you how wonderful this series is yet? I hope not because I’m about to do it all over again!
DI Natalie Ward is in the middle of investigating a car theft gang when Superintendent Melody calls her up to her office and reassigns her to a new case, a young girl had gone missing, and now her body has been found, Natalie is to lead her team as they begin a murder investigation, but when a second girl goes missing and is also found murdered the stakes are raised and the pressure mounts on the team to find the killer…
For me The Dare was certainly a page turner, Carol is an absolute master at drawing you in and not letting you go until you reach the last page. From the opening sentence until my kindle told me I was finished I hooked! The plot is well thought out, and the pacing excellent.
There are many many things Carol does well but her well written characters are what really makes a difference for me, and I don’t just mean the central characters of Natalie and her team, although more on them later. Carol does a fantastic job of creating well rounding victims and giving us just the right amount of information about them. We get to know a bit about them, or their family, so that we actually begin to care about them as a character, we care about what happened to them. They have a personality and don’t feel like they’re simply a plot device, that they could be any nameless dead body simply there to give our lead characters something to investigate; although of course we know they are!
Carol does the same with her perpetrators. She has this wonderful way of including small sections from the killer’s point of view, not enough to identify them but to let you see their thoughts. There’s a section right at the beginning of The Dare where we first meet the killer and I found the juxtaposition between the large snake tattoo and the delicate music box particularly creepy although I have no idea if that was Carol’s intent! She also has this incredible way of including throwback chapters, again not usually enough to identify the character but enough to make you see what started them on this road. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I empathised with the killer in the book, but they certainly felt three dimensional.
I know Natalie is the lead character and so we get to see, and know more of her than most of the other characters but she really is my favourite and she just grows on me more each book. You really get a sense of how conflicted she is, she needs to provide for her family, especially as she’s now the only one with a permanent job, but she also wants to be there for them. She loves her job, she’s dedicated to it, and to finding answers for the relatives and loved ones of the victims, but leading a murder inquiry is very rarely compatible with being home for family dinner every night. I certainly admire her dedication to justice.
Natalie’s marriage is still under strain in The Dare, and to be honest I still don’t like the husband and think she’d be better off without him. I do feel for Josh and Leigh though, they seem to be genuinely nice kids and Leigh especially is picking up on the strain in her parents marriage and it’s starting to affect her. Side note, I also had a teddy bear called Sammy and she’s still sitting on the bed in my old room at my mum’s house. Also each book I become more and more intrigued about the story behind Natalie and her sister’s falling out, I really hope it’s addressed fully at some point!
Onto the team, I do enjoy reading all the banter between the team. I think Lucy is a fantastic character and I enjoy seeing her growth, especially as she prepares to become a mother. Murray and Ian are amusing together, although I have some concerns about Ian after his quick return to work. I hope the odd headache he has is not a symptom of a more serious issue. I have an ever growing soft spot for Mike, I know I shouldn’t given his history with Natalie but I can’t help it, I still think she’d be better off with him despite him admitting his flaws in this book! He’s not the perfect man, but I think deep down he’s a good one, he’s also very dedicated to his job, and I do like the way he means forensics are included in the plot
Quite simply Carol has done it again, creating another fantastic story with a wonderful cast to keep you hooked! I can’t wait to move on to The Sleepover and I was also very excited to read recently that Carol has signed a publishing deal for a third crime series! I hope I’ll still get my regular Natalie fix though!
About The Author
Carol Wyer, is an award-winning author and stand up comedian who writes feel-good comedies and gripping thrillers. Her book, Grumpy Old Menopause won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction 2015.
The DI Robyn Carter series has earned her acclaim as a crime writer and the first book in the series, Little Girl Lost, shot to the #2 best-selling spot on Kindle #9 best-selling audiobook on Audible, and was also a USA Today top 150 best-seller.
Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ”Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’ and on BBC Breakfast television. She has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’ featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and the Huffington Post.
Carol is a signed author with Bookouture (part of the Hachette Group) Canelo and Delancey Press.
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As always if you’ve read the book let me know what you thought! If you’ve not read it yet will my review convince you to pick it up?