She has escaped a killer, but for how long?
Two seven-year-old girls, Tina and Suzy, are playing in a dusty creek when a stranger appears and strikes up a conversation. He is sad that he doesn’t have a doll to play with like the girls do, so Suzy hurries home to fetch one. When she returns, Suzy discovers both Tina and the stranger have vanished.
A short while later, traffic officer Leighton Jones, who is fighting his own demons, is driving home from the scene of a near-fatal accident. When Leighton sees a young girl race out in front of his car and vanish into the countryside, he reports the sighting. Unfortunately, his superiors, who are increasingly concerned about Leighton’s mental health, doubt the child exists.
But after Tina’s mother confirms her daughter’s disappearance, Leighton risks his job by pursuing his own investigation of the case.
Meanwhile, in the Californian countryside, a child killer is relentlessly searching for the one who got away.
Leighton has his work cut out. But can he prove his sanity and find Tina before the stranger does?
Toys in the Dust is a gripping and fast-paced serial killer thriller, which will appeal to fans of authors like Damien Boyd, Keith Houghton, Mark Edwards and Angela Marsons. It is loosely connected to N.M. Brown’s previous thrillers, also featuring Leight Jones, The Girl on the Bus and Carpenter Road, and can be read as part of a series or as an unmissable stand-alone.
This is the third book to feature the lovable Leighton. As the books actually go backwards in time, it means you can pretty much read them in any order as they all read as standalone’s.
You might find it strange that I use the word lovable about a character in a crime book. Leighton is though. There is something really likeable about him and almost fragile. He has had a hard time in his past and is trying to do his best in his personal life. In his work life he always seems to get a hard time. Sticking his nose into cases that don’t concern him, yet he can’t help himself. And for me this is why I love him. Regardless of the consequences, he always goes with his gut, in the hope that he can save someone at whatever cost to himself.
Little Tina was another character that I really enjoyed in this story. I loved her resilience and the urgency of finding her really grows the further into the story we get and I was desperate to get to the end to see how it was going to turn out.
Toys In The Dust is a great page turner that I devoured within no time. The author has created a protagonist that the reader really gets behind and cares about. His writing also seems so effortless and really engages the reader and it makes for an enjoyable reading experience.
Toys In The Dust is available to purchase from Amazon. (Please note that link used is an affiliate link).