CS Barnes: Play

This review is written with thanks to Bloodhound Books for my copy of Play.


When DI Melanie Watton and her team are called in to investigate a video recording that surfaces in a local school, they realise that they have a complex case on their hands.

When the recording is studied by the Medical Examiner, it becomes apparent the team are now faced with a gruesome recording of a murder. Over the course of several minutes, the killer administers drugs before suffocating a man on camera. With no known crime scene, the team have nothing more than the video evidence in front of them and face a challenge to identify both the victim and the killer.

But when a suspect is discovered Melanie and her are up against a killer who is more evil than anyone could have imagined…

Play can be read as the sequel to C.S. Barnes’ mystery thriller, Copycat or as an unmissable stand-alone. If you are a fan of detective stories by authors such as Helen H. Durrant and Angela Marsons, then you’ll love this unmissable police series.

C.S. Barnes is also the author of the critically-acclaimed psychological thriller, Intention.


Play centres around a complex investigation and Barnes brings in some interesting and detailed aspects of police procedure to explore this. This novel is my first experience of Barnes’ writing, which means that I am coming to the DI Melanie Watton series as a new reader and I believe I would have got more from this book having read the series from the beginning. I felt that I would have benefitted from knowing a little more of the characters’ back stories as they definitely have interesting lives that I felt I could relate to.

The investigation begins in a classroom where the material investigated by Watton and her team is shared by teenagers. I found this a really interesting starting point as it highlights the role that technology and social media have in our lives and allows Barnes to explore some interesting themes. I was especially interested in the aspects of the investigation that led the team to look into the Dark Web: Barnes has researched this well and I enjoyed the way it was incorporated into the plot.

As it takes the team some time to find some promising leads, Play is a little slower paced than other novels in this genre. However, this does mean that the reader is given lots of clues to the killer’s identity and they have the opportunity to follow the investigation alongside the team.

Play is available from Amazon.


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