The Doll Collector has one of those blurbs that immediately caught my attention. The idea of somebody buying a doll every time they kill someone and keeping them all together like a little family is chilling indeed. And the tagline is that this is “A chilling serial killer thriller”.

However, this book is not all that it seems. Yes, it’s about a serial killer but I didn’t find it particularly chilling. The killer is Gloria, a woman who feels like she is hard done by, who literally dislikes everyone, especially those she thinks have more than her. It’s when she takes a room as a lodger at Maurice’s house that we witness Gloria’s wickedness at its best.

This book was not what I imagined at all… in the best way. I loved every second I spent reading it. Gloria is mad, bad and very dangerous to know and I thought she was a fantastic creation. Poor Maurice got lumbered with her and he was such a nice character that I was hoping and praying he didn’t end up as the next doll on her mantelpiece.

When I say it’s not chilling, I suppose I mean it’s not scary, but it is most definitely sinister. Gloria is like a tiger getting its prey in its clutches and not letting go until it’s well and truly dead. Being able to look on whilst she did her worst made for a gripping and enthralling read.

This book also made me chuckle at times, particularly during Gloria’s exchanges with other characters, who simply can’t wait to get rid of her. And the ending was just brilliant and everything I could have hoped for. I think the author has a fantastic imagination.

The Doll Collector exceeded all my expectations. It’s different, it has some dry humour in it and I couldn’t put it down. I read about 85% of it in one sitting. I loved it.

Nicola Smith, Short Book and Scribes, 5/4

The Doll Collector by Joanna Stephen-Ward
Bloodhound Books 9781912604913 pbk Nov 2018