Book Review : Stolen by Dawn Kopman Whidden

September 10, 2014 Book review 2 ★★★½

Are you looking at the cover and thinking no, just no?!  If so I agree with you on that basis however despite my reservations over the cover, I really enjoyed the latest instalment in this murder mystery series.

Book Review : Stolen by Dawn Kopman WhiddenStolen by Dawn Kopman Whidden
Series: Marty Keal #3
Published by Createspace Independent Pub on 2014-06-29
Genres: Mystery & Detective
Pages: 280
Format: eBook
Source: Received from Author

Another homicide has rocked the small town of Fallsburg, NY. In a cabin nestled deep in the woods two male victims are discovered, both gun shot victims. One is deceased the other one is barely alive.

But it is not the murder itself that has detectives Jean Whitley and her new partner Marty Keal frantic to find out the answers of what occurred in that cabin, but it is the identities of the two small children also found at the scene.

One child is quickly identified but the other a young boy remains a mystery. The only one with possible answers lies with the man who lay critically wounded and unconscious in the hospital because the unidentified boy either can not or will not speak to tell the investigators who he is and what happened in that cabin that left one man dead and another barely hanging on ..

 First Line of Stolen by Dawn Kopman Whidden:

 “The first of the nine-one-one calls came in at 8.14 a.m.”

 My Thoughts on Stolen by Dawn Kopman Whidden:

This series is little bit like CSI meets Murder She Wrote.  I love the community spirited small-town feel that this book embraces you in.  Stolen is book 3 in the series but each book can be read as a standalone.  You will miss out on some of this history between the characters but I don’t think it will spoil your enjoyment in any way.  If you want to read them in order, check out my previous reviews for A Child is Torn: Innocence Lost and Faceless.

With this mystery series, you are kept guessing at the beginning of the book to see how it all fits together but you aren’t left guessing too long as you are let in on points-of-view that show you exactly what’s happening.  And what is different about this series;  it’s not whodunit that is important, it’s all about why they are doing it and how it’s impacting on the characters around them.

I love the setting of the books; it’s small town, with recurring characters and you get invested in the personal lives of the various characters.  It’s a setting where you not only know your neighbours but your neighbours play a pivot role in your life.  It feels cosy and comfortable.  Until the body count rises!

The main characters are Holly (a child psychiatrist) and Marty (a homicide detective) and they are both well rounded out figures that you can’t help but like.  They are so genuine and they are both passionate about their jobs but also about each other.  The romance doesn’t overtake the mystery part of the book but it does add a warm flavour to balance out the darker murder plots.

I had a slight issue in this book as a child victim ends up in their temporary care in their own home.  I know they are both working in related areas to the case but I really don’t think red tape would allow this.  I do stand open to correction on this.  I know in Ireland though, there is no way this would ever happen, every i would dotted, every t crossed and a civil servant would have to go through the same channels as everyone else.  Even when there is difficulty finding the child a place (as in this book), an alternative solution would be found using the rules laid down by social services.

That sounds like nitpicking but it did distract me a little from the storyline as it just felt ‘off’ to me.  That issue aside, I did really enjoy the book.  Towards the end of the book, there was a very dramatic scene that got my adrenaline pumping as I was so scared about might happen.

Overall an entertaining read that walks the middle of the road between mystery and romance.  There is minimum gore but still lots of creepiness in the villain.  And even though you know early on who the murderer is there is enough unpredictability for what will happen next to keep you reading anxiously to its conclusion.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: three-stars


Who should read Stolen by Dawn Kopman Whidden:

I’d recommend this to fans of detective style mystery books.  Also to those who like small town settings and characters they can get emotionally attached to.  I find the books capture the feel of Mary Higgins Clark’s books so if you are a fan; then I think you’d appreciate this one also.

Thanks to Dawn for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.


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2 Responses to “Book Review : Stolen by Dawn Kopman Whidden”

  1. Rita @ My Home of Books

    I never heard of this author but I checked out all your reviews. Sounds good to me–an yes, I can’t say I enjoy the covers, but I’m one of those who likes her covers to be really professional looking. Just a thing I have about indie books.
    From the blurbs and the covers, her series looks really violent, but that is not the vibe I am getting from your reviews, so maybe not then. I do like detective stories, mysteries and CSI type books, so I think I would give this a try. Thanks for introducing me to another author.

    p.s. I think in the U.S. you also cannot just take a child into your own custody just like that–you have to give them to Child Services and they find an emergency home through their network. I used to live in NY and don’t think the author got that one right, but maybe she is taking artistic license with it to make her story work, I don’t know.
    Rita @ My Home of Books recently posted…Reading Robyn Carr: Virgin River #1 Review

    • trish

      I do appreciate that it’s harder for an indie author to have an amazing cover however I think something simpler, less cluttered would work a lot better here and would draw more readers in too. We all judge books by their covers much as we don’t want to.

      The crimes in these books are certainly brutal but the feel of the books is a lot more gentle than you might think from the blurbs as you have already guessed. I think because the characters are so likeable that it makes the whole series a very enjoyable read.

      And yes I do think the author was taking artistic licence and it does work with the story. As someone who personally had dealings with the system though, it jarred me a little as I know how much the red tape matters. It seems to be all that matters really and the best interests of child often gets lost in that.

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