Book Review: The Toy Breaker (Roy Chester)

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Children are being abducted from their beds in the middle of the night.   The only thing left at the scene is bits of broken toy clowns.   With no leads, police employ Dr. Hannah Nightingale, a forensic psychiatrist and criminal profiler, to help them in their investigation. As more children disappear, a mass grave is found and the case thickens Hannah finds herself in a race against time to stop “The Toybreaker” before families are shattered….

The Toy Breaker, written by Roy Chester, is the first novel (in what I hope will be a new series!) starring criminal profiler Dr. Hannah Nightingale.   This crime thriller follows Nightingale as she is called in to investigate a series of child abductions.   By the time she is called in, the city is in a virtual panic and she must work quickly to put together a profile and help the police catch this villain.

This novel was extremely fast-paced and easy to read.   I found myself completely sucked into the plot and had a hard time putting it down. Now, I am not usually a fan of police procedural novels; I find that I get confused with the lingo and am taken away from the plot.  This was not the case with this novel at all! Chester did an amazing job at ensuring the plot was in the forefront.  I found myself constantly second-guessing myself as I read. I thought I had the plot figured out multiple times but was proven wrong continuously.

I loved the characters, especially Dr. Hannah Nightingale. She is a strong, female lead; I found her to be comparable to Antoinette Conway from Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad novels or Jane Rizzoli from Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles series.   I loved how the author gave some hints that she may have some demons in her past or something more to be developed in upcoming novels.  A majority of the novel is narrated through her perspective.

Chester’s writing style is simple and effective. I liked that the author was to the point and didn’t get caught up in trying to be overly descriptive or too complex. He stayed true to the plot.   He also attached a “dictionary” of sorts at the back of the novel explaining English-lingo for people who may not be familiar with their slang. I thought this was a nice touch and helped to ensure that no readers felt as if they were alienated.

My only complaint regarding this novel was a couple of random storylines that had minimal effect on the plot; these mostly involved the other police officers who were working the case and I am assuming they were there to set the stage for a plot that will come in later books.

After reading this novel, I cannot wait to read more from this author and will wait for the next novel in the series to be published.  The Toy Breaker will please crime fiction fans everywhere!

WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? Yes!  It’s totally worth the read!

 **Thank you to the author (Roy Chester) and the publisher (Joffe Books) for granting me access to the digital copy of this book via Netgalley. **

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