“The Wrong Boy” By Cathy Ace: Review/Giveaway

by Kathleen Costa
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of this book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

“Somebody’s lit a fire over on the hill above the village.”

Guy Fawkes Night (November 5), also known as Bonfire Night, marks the anniversary of the discovery of the plot by Catholic conspirators to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Everyone knows revelers can often go overboard when bonfires and firecrackers are involved, just ask Americans in July. But the next day Hywel and his dog Nip find a pile of stones blackened by a recent fire and underneath…bones! Detective Inspector Evan Glover, days from his retirement, is assigned the case and sets out with D Liz Stanley to investigate. He knows the area having, as a boy, visited the lush hills, sandy beach, and the headlands known as Dragon’s Back. He also knows ancient relics have been found all over the area, so maybe this is a fool’s errand. No such luck…human, male, and definitely suspicious!

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Rhosddraig is a small village in the Mumbles of the Welsh southern coast, and like most small hamlets, the pub is the center of activity along with gossip, dysfunction, secrets, and could it be murder? The Dragon’s Head, the local pub, is owned and managed by three-generations of Jones women—Nan, Helen, and Sadie. Each with their own dreams and desires punctuated with nightmares, secrets, and lies. Also, as scheduled, DI Glover retires midst the investigation handing it off to another DCI, but he learns his natural instincts are harder to retire. He doesn't miss the politics or stress, who does, but following leads, solving puzzles, and capturing culprits…can he let that go?
Image Source Four Tails Publishing Ltd

The Wrong Boy earns 5/5 Dragon Head’s Pints…Clever, Engaging!

I strayed a bit from my typical cozy mystery, but thrilled to have started with Cathy Ace’s The Wrong Boy, which refers to so much in the story. The book is lengthy at a bit over 300 pages, giving Cathy plenty of opportunity to go well beyond any crime and investigation to create well-developed characters, delve deeply into their past as well as their present, and weave an engaging tale in which I became very invested. The story is laid out like a diary of sorts with each chapter marked by a date from November to April. Cleverly she used two different perspectives. Sadie, almost eighteen, shares her inner thoughts, dreams, and fears with the “I” perspective, but the third-person narrative, including more dialogue, is used for the other characters. The crime is somewhat peripheral; it is the reactions to and the impact of the gruesome discovery, investigation, and attempt to close that take center stage. It all begins to reveal a truth I didn't see coming…oh, so clever!

Cathy’s writing style, vivid description, tales, lore, and banter made this quite the page-turner, and very tense at the end. I was fascinated by the dynamic and dysfunction of the “Jones Girls” (grandmother, mother, daughter) wondering how they all survived with such a past. The role reversal between the DI and his wife, who still has a day job and comes home to his culinary efforts, reminded me of the few years my husband was retired before me. He, too, had a hard time leaving the work behind. The two did work well; his detective skills and her psychology training. And the professional mentor/apprentice relationship Glower had with DS Stanley was still valuable even after retirement. I really enjoyed the whole experience.

Be a Big Cathy Ace Fan!
Cathy Ace was born in Swansea, South Wales, and admits that the Gower peninsular, one of her habitual haunts in her youth, is the setting for The Wrong Boy. On her website she says, “In The Wrong Boy, a psychological suspense novel set in Wales, I have ‘gone to the dark side’ whilst still having women as my central characters.”

Along with some short stories, she also pens the eight-book Cait Morgan Mystery series following Welsh-Canadian professor, a criminologist who specializes in profiling victims, and in her four-book WISE Enquires Agency series she highlights four distinctly different women (one Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish, one English) collaborating in clever mysteries.

Facebook - Cathy Ace Author
Website - Cathy Ace Join her mailing list.

To enter to win a copy of The Wrong Boy, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "wrong,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 9, 2019. U.S. and Canadian residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors!

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. That sounds so good - thanks for the contest - trwilliams69 (at) msn (dot) com

  2. Thanks for the chance! New to me author. JL_Minter (at) hotmail (dot) com

  3. Many thanks to Kathleen Costa for taking the time to read my latest book - and for taking the time to also write such a thoughtful review. I'm delighted you enjoyed a trip "to the darker side" :-) I hope those who read this wonderful KRL take the chance to enter the draw!

  4. Cathy Ace is a new author to me. Sounds like a great read.

  5. Kind of surprised there aren't more books concerning Guy Fawke's Day.

    I'm entering the contet.


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