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Publisher's 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 listeners say about The Birthday

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Enjoyed this read

Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. Could feel the heartache in the detectives narrative as she was searching for the killer.
Will be looking for the next book by this author.

3 people found this helpful

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One of the most extraordinary books I've read

I loved the reality of a police team under pressure and working to see a child alive and well again.. Very suspenseful and thrilling!

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

If you're slightly hungover and it's a Sunday...

... and you just want a middle-of-the-road, mildly thrillerish police procedural story that's not going to challenge you or blow your mind (in any way), then Carol Wyer is the writer for you. This book is more-or-less competently put together, but really this stuff is wholly unexceptional. I spend 80 percent of my waking hours listening to audio-books on headphones, so i'll probably end up buying most of her novels, but this is only because A) the reader is pretty good and B) my mind is an insatiably ravening crime-audiobook-eating monster and it's devoured all the good stuff already, so anything remotely passable immediately gets thrown onto the conveyor belt to get chewed up. Having said that, you only need to dust off the surface veneer of this work to reveal an array of glaring flaws, which the writer could probably have spotted and dealt with if she could just have had the passion and persistence to do another 2 or 3 drafts. The characters are sketched rather than finely or boldly drawn; they are only partially developed, so the personal views, opinions and attitudes of the writer can be clearly perceived in the text, like stains that show through under an inadequate paint job. The main character has been knocked together as though following the ikea diagram of a flawed heroine. Her sanctimonious lectures are insufferable, and it seems like the last person to follow her soapbox moralising is herself.
Let's face it, the characters in a story should always be the driving force behind plot because, after all, people, their personalities, choices and behaviour are the reason things happen the way they do. Here it's the other way round: the characters are crammed in to conform to the plotline, which, by the way is virtually identical to The Dare - Book 3.
I mean yeah, it's passable, but there's just no originality to it. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris was written in the mid 80s - and it still has more hutzpah in its little toenail today than all these books. Connoisseurs of great crime writing will find Wyer banal, unoriginal and formulaic, though it must be said that the 3rd book was better than the 1st ( i haven't had a go at 2 yet).
Yes, you're patently familiar. Flawed cop heroine with murder squad investigates, she's conflicted and tortured by the pain and emotion of it all and whatnot, she's rollin' rocks uphill, trying to do right in a man's world, juggling work, colleagues and family, and all the while the killer is out there, and yes, you did meet him briefly early on, and after a few red herrings, she sniffs him out. I mean, come on. It's just so predictable. You can't just rip off Midsomer Murders like this and get away with it! At least not without getting pulled up for it!
I give it 52 out of 100...

4 people found this helpful

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boring

no sorry..... couldn't keep me interested . didnt like the narration.... tried as a read, but still didnt like it

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In yellow dresses!

The Narrator came across as an excellent storyteller of the Female Detective and her team searching for the murderer of a little girl killed a few years ago. Then more girls died as a race against time to find one possibly alive.

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Best book ever

I know I say this all the time but this was an excellent book.

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crime

1st time reader of the author and totally enjoyed it. I have downloaded another of her books and can't wait to read it.

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Had me on my seat with a great twist.

Well written, well read.
Wasnt easy to predict like so many are.
I will be looking for more by this author.

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Good but not great

This one took a while to get into, I just couldn't quite connect with Detective Natalie. The story it self was interesting enough to kill some time but over all found it a bit generic.

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a bit trite

I struggled with the story here. Could have been really intriguing, but fell at the last hurdle. Just not believable, and the chatacters not relatable. The language was 1970s trite.

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  • K. Byrne
  • 15-11-2018

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.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • E. Miller
  • 24-10-2018

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.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Patrick Williams
  • 05-03-2020

Worth another shot

It was a decent story but I had a very hard time staying connected to the story. it just seemed to drag on and I found my mind wandering. Not my face but will probably try another in the series and see if it grabs my attention better.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Laura
  • 07-01-2020

What?

This book was too full of different characters. I had to keep rewinding to figure out who was talking, what their role was in the plot, etc. Are usually don’t have trouble with books that contain a lot of characters, but this one was really a struggle to get through. When I got to the end I felt a tad disappointed in the storyline.

2 people found this helpful

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  • wbc
  • 10-10-2019

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • LR
  • 13-01-2019

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?

1 person found this helpful

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  • Maine Knitter
  • 12-12-2018

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 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Barbara F.
  • 04-11-2018

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

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Debbie De
  • 29-10-2018

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 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 14-09-2020

great murder mytery

love carol wyer books and her narrations my Diana croft make the book for me

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  • Nia Ireland
  • 30-09-2018

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.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • stink
  • 06-02-2019

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.😉😉😉

4 people found this helpful

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  • S
  • 30-01-2019

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

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Ninecatz
  • 28-01-2019

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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • J Taylor
  • 21-01-2019

Just ok

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

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Ruby
  • 07-05-2019

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.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Emma
  • 17-03-2019

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 people found this helpful

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  • SW
  • 13-01-2019

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.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Gwyneth Smith
  • 19-10-2018

A good read but not brilliant

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

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-05-2019

narrator annoying

voices put on by narrator are very annoying and not realistic at all, didnt like this

1 person found this helpful

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