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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 (259 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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Just ok

The story was a bit long winded and technically not very good
It was ok but not great

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fantastic

First time reading this authors book and I was extremely impressed a most read. You will not be able to put it down A****

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed

Enjoyed this story kept me interested from start to finish the character's were believable maybe a little corny.the narrator was very good so give it ago.😉😉😉

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • S
  • LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom
  • 30-01-19

excellent 'who done it "

kept me guessing ! love the pyschological twist throught the story .Just enough of Detectives personal life ...too much drowns story out

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 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!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Dragged on

The premise of the book sounds good, the first in a new set of books "DI Natalie Ward" I usually love these sort of things.
A young girl goes missing some years ago, as more girls start going missing it is up to DI Natalie Ward to solve the case.

A whodunit, but oh so boring, I found it hard to listen and it wasn’t gripping at all, I carried on to find out what happened but even that was a let down.

I did enjoy the narrator who had a lovely relaxing voice. But I wont be continuing with the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Mediocre

Bought on the strength of reviews... next time I'll use Fakespot analyser for a true idea, as the story is far from 'gripping.' If you like a fluffy detective story, buy it, but be warned... it has as much grit as a tarmac road... and is twice as boring.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Gripping story

I had already read this book as I have of most of Carol Wyer’, but found it more compelling by listening to it. It became very believable almost as though it was really happening. The narrator did an excellent job with the different characters bringing them to life. I’ve aleady ordered the next audible book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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gripping and read very well listened to in my car<br />

enjoyed this book. would make a good film or drama on the tv

great to listen to

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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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • 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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Maine Knitter
  • 12-12-18

First in a new series

The shoes on the cover kill me. So sad. The book involves the murder of children so it can be disturbing.

I’ve read the author’s first series and enjoyed those books. All are a bit dark but interesting. I didn’t care for this book as much. I listened to the audiobook, as I had with the previous series, (which was done fairly well) but I had a hard time keeping the characters straight. It’s not as easy to go back and find earlier mentions of a character. I listen to over 100 audiobooks a year so it’s not that I’m not used to them. This book just made it difficult for me.

The main character, DI Natalie Ward, is determined to solve these crimes especially because of a similar crime in her past. She seems like a typical working mother, trying to juggle career and family all in the midst of a murder investigation. I look forward to seeing how she manages and to learning more about her team.

One thing I did notice with the narration (and this occurred in an earlier book by the same author): Nike trainers were pronounced like Bike. Is that a British thing?

Overall, a captivating book which could have ended in any of several ways. It kept me guessing through most of the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • wbc
  • 10-10-19

Not well researched.

There were numerous procedural mistakes that anyone with a basic understanding of police work would catch. None of the characters were well developed and there were many loose ends. I would not recommend this book. It reads like an amateur effort. The narration was good.

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 18-07-19

Great storyline but

Dragged on way too long. Ending wasn’t very exciting but the story itself was a really good one.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Christie Folsom
  • 22-05-19

Great Listen!

Not my first Carol Wyer book, but my first Detective Natalie Ward Series book. It was great with clever twists. Now onto Book 2.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Deedra
  • 16-03-19

The Birthday

This book kept me on the edge of my seat for the duration.It reminded me of 'Broadchurch' in a way.I loved it! Diana Croft was an excellent narrator. I was given this book by the narrator,author or publisher free for an honest review.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-01-19

read if you want to try and guess the villain!

it was suspenseful, intriguing and didn't know who did it until the very last. Carol Wyer made you feel anxious, I had to start cleaning to get to the end while listening. She gives you enough details if you go back and relisten to the book to see her clues. Very exciting and thrilling.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • LR
  • 13-01-19

Not Good

One character after another and none of them are memorable. If I can't get to know at least one character, I quickly lose interest. This book dragged on for hours! As soon as a key piece of evidence was presented it was easy to guess who did it. I had hoped I was wrong and there'd be a big surprise or twist coming but No, there wasn't.

i wish I had passed on this one. There's so many good books out there why waste time on one that's just okay?