Toys In The Dust by N.M. Brown – Book Review




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 Leighton Jones, The Girl on the Bus and Carpenter Road, and can be read as part of a series or as an unmissable stand-alone. 



Well what a read ! I don’t think I have sped though a book like this in ages….cliche I know, but I really couldn’t put it down.

So, Leighton Jones is a traffic cop, struggling to come to terms with his wife’s suicide 16 months previously. He’s seeing the force therapist, but his senior officers and some colleagues believe he is ‘psychologically damaged’ and dismiss his belief that he saw the missing girl, Tina, as he was driving home.

Certain he is right he begins to investigate the case himself…..and gets threatened with disciplinary action….but he can’t let go…..he has a daughter, Annie, the same age and this case is affecting him.

In the meantime, little Tina, such a brave little girl, has escaped her abductor, but is lost in the wilderness…she manages to evade him but sees him searching for her….setting traps ! The fear for this little lost girl is palpable……gut wrenching, sweaty palm moments…all due to N.M. Brown’s  tense, atmospheric ( and did I say tense? ) writing. Completely unputdownable…..from the start until the heart stopping end…..

Thank you to Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook and this is my honest, unbiased review. 


Amazon UK

Amazon US




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.

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