Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Toys in the Dust by N M Brown.
Toys in the Dust is published in eBook on 20th March 2019 by Bloodhound Books and is the third in the Leighton Brown series.
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, somewhere in the Californian countryside, a child killer is relentlessly searching for the one who got away.
Leighton has his work cut out. Can he prove his sanity and find Tina before the stranger does?
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Thank you to Emma Welton and the publisher for issuing me with my review copy of the book and for inviting me to take part on the blog tour.
As soon as I heard there was to be a new Leighton Brown book, I knew I wanted to read it as soon as possible! Carpenter Road was probably one of my favourite books of last year and I had missed Leighton! Toys in the Dust is a prequel and is set during his earlier years as a traffic cop and I enjoyed reading about his life prior to the events of Carpenter Road.
Leighton Brown is one of the best characters I have read about. He sort of reminds me of Harry Bosch in that he is determined to get to the bottom of any wrongdoings, despite the consequences he may face. He is dogged in his approach to any type of investigation and will not simply toe the line.
We follow Leighton during a hard time in his life. He has lost his wife and is trying to raise their young daughter alone. Although he feels as though he is failing, he really isn’t and the adoration of his daughter and her to him is evident and also heartbreaking at times. He becomes involved in the kidnap case of a young 6 year old girl, although he is unaware of this at the time as he just catches a glimpse of her running across a main road. Initially he thinks he has imagined her and with the stress he is under, his bosses tend to agree with him. However, Leighton is still convinced something is there and tries to investigate despite the lack of help of his colleagues and superiors.
The chapters entice you in as they are told from different perspectives which I always really enjoy despite you sometimes unaware of how they actually fit in with the story! We get to hear from Tina, the young kidnap victim, who is probably the most resilient 7 year old I have ever read about. She is strong and you desperately want her to be found despite things not looking good for her. My heart was in my mouth!
I raced through this book as I was hooked. What a testament to how well written this was that I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest at times!
I really hope the author has some more books involved for Leighton, there is a lot more that we can learn about him – fingers crossed!
To follow the rest of the blog tour….
About the Author
Norman has enjoyed writing for more than two decades. He has always considered a combination of decent fiction and good coffee as providing the best way to unwind and slip out of ordinary life for a while.
Having grown up Central Scotland, he studied English at Stirling University, where he began penning poetry, drama scripts and short stories. However, his real commitment to writing resulted from spending a snowy winter attending a series of fireside writing workshops in Perth.
More recently, Norman’s love of crime fiction led him to create the weary detective Leighton Jones. Having based his debut novel around this character, Norman felt so intrigued by him that he decided to give Jones at least two more outings.
Aside from his family, Norman’s other passion is cooking, which may explain why culinary elements always seem to creep out of his kitchen and into his stories.