The Broken Ones by Carla Kovach

Published March 1st 2021 by Bookouture

About the Book: Amber applies a dash of red lipstick and checks herself out in the mirror before heading out on a date. ‘Don’t wait up!’ she calls to her housemates as she leaves. But Amber never returns home that night. Amber Slater is never seen again.

The last person to see Amber was her housemate. He remembers everything she was wearing that night. He watched her leave. He listened to every word of her phone conversation with her friend before she left. He knows more about Amber’s movements than anyone.

At university, she is well-liked by her fellow students and teachers. Her tutor’s voice shakes when he is questioned by the police. Some say he and Amber were very close. Too close. Some say his wife had just found out about their relationship.

The manager at the restaurant where Amber was supposed to eat that night says she didn’t show up. Yet the chef at the restaurant is overly chatty about her. He wasn’t working that night. He wasn’t answering his phone. Nobody knows where he was when Amber went missing.

Rumours begin to circulate about Amber, it seems that everyone has a story to tell. But when the young girl’s lifeless body is found in a local park, with her blue lips glued shut, the gossip suddenly goes quiet. As the police trace the last few hours of Amber’s life, it seems that the girl simply vanished on her way to catch her bus. And when another woman goes missing in the dead of night, it’s a race against time to find her before she too is silenced forever.

Fans of crime books from Angela Marsons, Cara Hunter and Clare Mackintosh will love The Broken Ones.

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Broken Ones by Carla Kovach is the 8th book in the Gina Harte series. I have not read them all, but am working through the backlist. These books can be read as standalone stories, but as I enjoy them, I recommend you read them from the beginning.

Amber Slater is a university student that is well liked by everyone. She heads out on a Friday night to meet a man she has met on AppyDate. She is not seen again until her body is found Monday morning in a river at the park, stabbed in the heart with ligature marks and her lips glued shut. What happened to her during those hours? DI Gina Harte and her team work the case and it is an odd one. The killer is also a stalker and you know this will not be his last victim. As the case heats up, there are suspects everywhere. So many people are lying and Gina and her team have to determine why. When another woman goes missing, it is a race against the clock to figure our where she is being held before she ends up dead.

This is a suspenseful police procedural that kept me guessing. Every person they question reveals more information, clues and lies. Are these people the culprit or are they hiding something else? Which lead do you follow up on? If you pick the wrong one are you wasting time? I like the police team in this one, all of them. They relate well to each other and work great together. They are one big family, which is important when you spend that much time together and are often involved in life or death situations. There is also the on again/off again relationship between Gina and Briggs to add some secrets in the department as well. This story also has some messages to it. The results of bullying, neglect, and abuse, especially by family members, can cause damage to the psyche and personality that can often cause serious anti-social behaviour and mental illness. This caused me to feel very sad at the end of this story.

Overall, this was a police procedural with some tense moments, twists and several suspects. If you enjoy a mystery, a thriller or a police procedural, then I recommend this book to you. The publisher provided me with a cop of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.

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About the Author: Carla Kovach is a crime and horror author from Worcestershire. Her most popular work, the DI Gina Harte series is published by Bookouture. As well as books, she also writes stage and screenplays. Carla Kovach was born in Birmingham, UK and now resides in Redditch, Worcestershire.

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