Book Review – ‘The Doll Collector’ by Joanna Stephen-Ward ⭐⭐



Murders that look like accidents.  An accident that look like murder.

Thank you to NetGalley, Bloodhound Books and Joanna Stephen-Ward for the chance to read this book.

Gloria seems like your average boring, frumpy woman next door who is a little too clingy and desperate to have any real friends or kind of relationship.  But underneath all that normalcy lurks a woman who is driven to kill. She doesn’t like killing, or at least that’s what she tells herself and her doll collection, and she doesn’t know why people are cruel to her and make her kill them.  But they do. So each time she kills she adds another doll to her collection and moves on in her quest for love and acceptance.

The book started off well and I enjoyed the opening chapter and it’s chilling final two sentences whispered to her dolls about more joining her collection and was excited to read what Gloria would do next.  I liked the early 90s setting of the story and the small moments of nostalgia it offered. Reading references to things such as doing the pools and using phone boxes took me back to my youth. I think setting the story in this era worked well as a lot of things the various characters did wouldn’t have been possible with a modern timeline.

Unfortunately I felt that overall the synopsis of this book was a case of false advertising: the murders Gloria commits are mostly historic, she shows no sense of buying dolls for ‘satisfaction’ and she kills only because she feels they’ve driven her too it with their mistreatment of her rather than because she craves it. The thrills in this book were lacking and it concentrated more on her “romance” with Maurice and the subplot of the saga of his housing situation than it did on her killings.  Gloria is a very judgmental and bitter character but instead of this making her interesting and someone you love to hate, I found her quite bland and boring and was unable to connect with her or be invested in anything that she did or that happened to her.. Maurice was a better character but I found the story predictable and lacking in any real excitement. I think the book might have been a better read if it had deliberately focused on Maurice and Gloria had been a secondary character.

Out November 24th

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