The Birthday by Carol Wyer @carolewyer @bookouture #BookReview #Book1 #DetectiveNatalieWard #AuthorTakeOver

Posted July 19, 2020 by Zoé in Author TakeOver, Book Reviews / 11 Comments

This is a re-read for me, I read this originally in September 2018 and as part of the TakeOver I wanted to re-read it so that I could start my journey with Natalie again, so before I re-share my original review with some updates, check out some fun things for you! I must say, even though I have not read the rest of the series, I kind of know what is going to happen, which is a bit of shame. My fault on being late to the show, so when I re-read my review it just didn’t seem relevant now, but I left it in regardless! Grrr…..need to make sure I am early to the next one!

Check out the new and updated creepier book trailer

Here is a snippet of the audiobook

The Birthday by Carol Wyer @carolewyer @bookouture #BookReview #Book1 #DetectiveNatalieWard #AuthorTakeOverThe Birthday by Carol Wyer
Series: Detective Natalie Ward #1
Published by Bookouture on September 27, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Pages: 304
Also by this author: The Birthday, What Happens in France, Little Girl Lost , Secrets of the Dead, The Missing Girls , The Silent Children , The Chosen Ones, Life Swap, Take A Chance On Me, What Happens in France, Suddenly Single, Last Lullaby, The Dare , The Sleepover, The Blossom Twins , The Secret Admirer, Somebody’s Daughter , EndGame, An Eye for an Eye, A Cut for a Cut

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 centre, 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 ended very badly.

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 centre 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?

What a day to share my review, not only am I closing the blitz with some fab bloggers….but I went to a 5-year-old kids party!! Thankfully different setting to the book and NO yellow dresses or shoes!! I also have another announcement, one that might upset a lot of people…..but this is my first encounter with Carol Wyer…I know right! Where the hell have I been? I can only apologise! However, things are going to change!! I will be getting familiar with her other series of DI Robyn Carter. So because I have not read anything before, I think it puts me in a good stead because I do not have a favourite…..well now I do!

I LOVED Natalie Ward, this character is such a wholesome character. What do I mean by this? Well, she is raw, she is real, she is flawed! We learn all of this in the opening chapters and I was hooked because of her. How she manages to juggle everything at home and at work where sometimes I can barely function as a mum and working full time. I am just in awe of her at times, trying to juggle this awful case and still trying to help at home. David, her husband, is a stay at home dad but you can sense the tension with the pair. I would say he is at times, slightly jealous and resentful of Natalie, you can tell this won’t end well.

The prologue is chilling, chilling to the core. A little girl at a birthday party goes missing. I found this terrifying being a mum, (doesn’t help one of my friends has a little girl called Ava!) makes you fear every time you leave them with people who are meant to be looking after them. I hated the attack of abuse and the spiralling life the mother had after Ava went missing. Again, it felt like it could have been someone that you know, everything felt too real and close to home. Then Ava’s body is found and another girl from the same party has gone missing!? What the hell is going on? Someone obviously does not like yellow!! (Must remember this!). When I was listening to this, I have to say Di Croft scared the bejeezus out of me with her narrating of the killer when we are confronted with Ava’s chapter. It literally sent chills down my spine!

As I have said I did love Natalie, despite everything, and her team. I loved the setting of near Stoke-on-Trent, as I could clearly picture the places well, having lived up there back in my university days. This book was damn near perfect to me. I am glad this is the first in the series because I want to read more of Natalie and her team, Lucy is epic too. Lucy and Murray these two, they are solid friends and I love that Carol made this shine, the lengths of their friendship are shown and it is something I can get on board with!

Natalie’s backstory was intriguing with the case of another child whose murder she could not solve, it haunts her and she brings it with her when she is trying to solve the case. I hope we get a book on that story because you can just see how this moulds Natalie to who she is today.

The second time I read this, I listened to the audiobook, after seeing Di being interviewed by Carol on Facebook I was really excited to see how she would carry this story! I have to say, I loved listening to her voice, ok the men kinda had the same accent but I can deal with that. Everyone else had their own voice and well she creeped me out with the killer’s voice!! I am looking forward to the rest of the series with her narrating it!

It is an intense, thrilling and terrifying book because it is about children, not adults, it makes everything much more heightened. However, it is also sad, the sadness for the loss of the children but you feel sorry for the person behind it all, which I find amazing that I even have empathy for them! This tells you something about Carol’s writing! All senses and emotions go off the charts as you have to feed the addiction of solving the murders as you burn the midnight oil. I actually thought I had solved this one, but no as my daughter would say, Carol, was being “tricksy”. I didn’t see it coming, and to me is the sign of an awesome writer (I can’t keep saying epic! lol) with an OMG ending!

I just want the next book now – is that a bit demanding?! lol

Until next time xxx

Plus as an added bonus, here is Carol reading a snippet from the book

About Carol Wyer

Carol Wyer garnered a loyal following as an author of romantic comedies, and won ThePeople’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015). In 2017 she stepped from comedy to the “dark side” and embarked on a series of thrillers, featuring the popular DI Robyn Carter, which earned her recognition as a crime writer.

The Staffordshire-based writer now has more crime novels in the pipeline, although she can still sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:



Stay and have a chat :)

11 responses to “The Birthday by Carol Wyer @carolewyer @bookouture #BookReview #Book1 #DetectiveNatalieWard #AuthorTakeOver

  1. I’ve read your incredible review over and over and enjoyed it so much. I remember when you first wrote about The Birthday, I was thrilled at the time, but for you to reread (and listen) to the book, then add further thoughts to your original review, has gone beyond the call of duty! Zoe, the time and effort that has gone into this post (and the others) is incredible and it is so beautifully laid out with the clips you’ve added, the post and those wonderful book displays… I absolutely adore those.
    Once again, heartfelt thanks for this epic review and for loving Natalie and her team and for listening to Di narrate the book. her killer’s voice is pretty darn creepy, isn;t it?

    • Zoé

      Oh it’s my pleasure. I wanted to get reacquainted with her while I caught up with her adventures. I’m glad you like all the extras, I just had to add them in and make it pop a bit more. Lol
      Oh god that was creepy as hell, she did a fab job but when I got to that bit I had to stop what I was doing and just listen. ? xxx