Toys in the Dust : N.M Brown

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Its my turn on the blog tour for Toys in the Dust by N,M Brown, my thanks to Bloodhound books for gifting me this e-book so I could take part in the blogtour. Ill start of with looking at what’s at the back of the book before I get started on what I thought of the book.

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 that the child exists. But after Tina’s mother confirms her daughters 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? 

okay now where do I start :  Tina goes out to find someone in the street to play with, she is never short of anyone to play with as usually one of the other kids is out playing. Tina spots her friend Suzy outside playing with a box of toys her auntie dropped in for her as her cousin no longer plays with. Tina gets excited when she comes across a speed boat perfect for their Barbie’s . The girls decide to head to the creek to play with the new toy. The girls don’t tell anyone where they are going and no one seems to be keeping an eye out for them,  which already had my anxiety a bit peaked. Its at the creek that the Stranger makes his appearance and starts on a bit of a sob story about wishing he had a doll to play with so he could join in with the girl’s game. Tina is a bit weary of the stranger and thinks very maturely for her age but Suzy is like a picture of innocence and doesn’t think twice about heading off home to get another doll and leaving Tina alone with the stranger. This is when I was silently screaming no don’t go alone. When she gets back and sees Tina and the stranger have vanished leaving the toys behind in the dust. Cops quiz Suzy but at 6 years old she soon loses interest in the questions and just starts agreeing with them. She is tired and hungry and just tells what she thinks they want to hear so she can leave and get food and some sleep.

Police officer Leighton Jones is a troubled father and a recent widower, his wife committed suicide just 16 months ago leaving Leighton and Annie behind,  he attends regular counselling sessions to prove he is still fit for work. My heart really went out to Leighton, it really cant be easy bringing up his little girl on his own and the two of them try to cope with their grief. Leighton is taking the long way home listening to his counselling cd when he spots the little girl running out in front of him. His mind begins to wander as the little girl looked ages with his own daughter Annie, he is unsure if it really happened or not. He pulls over and cant see the little girl anywhere. Leighton was a character I could really picture in my mind.

Poor Leighton really had his work cut out for him at the police station and went through the mill trying to prove what he seen has the whole station really think he has lost the plot. He will go to any length to prove Tina is still out there.  Everyone gave up on poor Tina and my heart totally broke for her no child should have to go through that, being abducted by a total stranger, I think the biggest heartbreak was reading her mum go through that turmoil. Poor Tina though after escaping the stranger she is totally lost in the wilderness and he iis tracking her down and setting traps in order to capture her again. I was racing through the pages with my heart racing. Brown has a real talent for evoking the panic and heart wrenching moments throughout.  I read Toys in the Dust as a standalone but I’m no aware Leighton  had appeared in previous thrillers. Toys in the Dust can be read as a standalone though as it is a story in its own right and you get to grips with Leightons past.

N.M Brown has a real knack for leaving the reader wanting more and fans of Angela Marson would enjoy this read. A gripping , racing through the pages of a read


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 awhile. Having grown up in 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.



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