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The Birthday

Detective Natalie Ward, Book 1
Narrated by: Diana Croft
Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
4 out of 5 stars (121 ratings)
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Summary

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 center, 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 still keeps her awake at night....

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 center 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?

Gripping, fast-paced, and nail-bitingly tense, this book will keep you listening long into the night. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott, and Karin Slaughter.

©2018 Carol Wyer (P)2018 Bookouture

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Intense and chilling

This is a procedural crime thriller, the first in a new series featuring Detective Natalie Ward.
The detective is a multi-dimensional character and doesn’t fall into the common cliché categories I tend to expect in a police procedural novel – she isn’t a maverick, she isn’t better at her job than everyone else and she isn’t an angsty character with a dark past and a drinking problem.
What she is, is a woman trying her best to balance her incredibly stressful and important job with her home life. It’s hard to imagine what it must be like, trying to find a killer who targets children while making sure your son gets the cool new trainers he really wants in time for his birthday.

The story itself is heart breaking, being about the abduction and murder of little girls, but somehow the procedural side of the writing takes the edge off and stops it getting too dark. There are no graphic details about the crimes, but we do get some insight into the past of the killer and what drives him – eventually tying in with the main storyline and coming to a solid conclusion. The author’s writing style is excellent, making the main character very easy to relate to and the mystery compelling, without dropping deliberate red herrings to put you off.

The narration of this book was out of this world, Croft covers a range of different accents and character voices; from little girls to old men and everything in between. Every single one is distinct, which is ideal because there’s a lot of dialogue in this book and could easily become confusing in audio. I would particularly recommend picking up the audio of this book if you have a chance, it’s hella intense.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A good read but not brilliant

Enjoyed this book but I've read better. The ending though is unpredictable so keep going!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Omg

one of those wonderful books you cant stop listening to.
well worth a listening to

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

okay story, not great narration

No matter how old the character, the narrator made them sound like a middle ages, brummy... quite off putting

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Keeps you guessing

Starts well, then a few chapters I zoned in and out of before everything comes together to make a thrilling ending!!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A book that keeps you guessing...

I enjoyed listening to this book it certainly kept you on your toes and guessing as to what was happening with the characters.
I wasn’t too keen on the back and forward between events/timelines.
I would recommend this book

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    4 out of 5 stars

A different narrator??

Although the story line was captivating at the start, the story lost its intensity as the narrator read as if she was reading to children. Suspense needs to be read with suspense, keeping the listener on edge. Far too soft. What a shame.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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ok

story ok. went on a bit then the ending was rushed.
narrator's voice wasn't to bad

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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Spoilt by stupid voices

I found the efforts of the reader to imitate various characters voices very annoying and naive making some sound ridiculous.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Overall great!

Double guessed the foe a dozen times, kept me wanting to know more, however not the best ending.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • K. Byrne
  • 15-11-18

I don't know why I kept going

It was rambling and didnt keep my attention. still confused about why I didnt return. No surprises...not clever...just a winding tale that goes nowhere.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Barbara F.
  • 04-11-18

Not satisfied

Hello,
I listen to two to three audible books a week. This last one holds no interest whatsoever. I have tried but the story line is poorly conceived. In fact, the last couple of books have not been great. Maybe I need a break from my audible ‘addiction.’
Am I able to return my last purchase? Thank you.
Barbara F

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Shirley
  • 30-10-18

Love the cover design, made me want to read the book!

Listened to audible version, excellent narrator. Good plot. Enjoyed book. Will read or listen to more of the author's books. Late in book it became confusing if it was in present or past. Surprise ending, at least it was a surprise to me. Good mystery.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Debbie De
  • 29-10-18

The Birthday Killer

This audiobook was excellently written & by Carol Wyer & gracefully narrated by Diane Croth.
Story

Storyline and blot was robustly written with oranization. Great weekend thriller....waiting on Book two.
A DeAnn DeVille Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • E. Miller
  • 24-10-18

One dimensional DI who only knows how to bully

The lead character is just awful and the narrator makes her sound even worse. I understand that she is investigating child murders but she acts no better than dirty Harry when it comes to that investigation. No nuance whatsoever. Frankly, I couldn't stand her and will be returning this book, something I've done only once before.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anya
  • 02-12-18

Great read! Not a dull moment!

This book kept my interest throughout. There was a constant need to know what would happen next and kept me guessing. I especially enjoyed the narration with distinctive voices for each character.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ryngie
  • 06-10-18

Guessing to the end.

Good story, characters believable, flashbacks give reader subtle hints of who but beware of jumping to conclusions. Enjoyed narrators accent & use of British slang.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Angela M. Dokos
  • 04-10-18

Loved it

Great book. I loved the plot. It kept me on the edge of my seat.