The Doll Collector by Joanne Stephen-Ward #TheDollCollector @OperaLover12 @Bloodhoundbook

Murders that look like accidents. An accident that looks like murder.A couple and their young son burn to death in a house fire. A girl dies from a nut allergy. A woman falls under a train during the rush hour. An accountant falls down the steps to his basement. Their deaths appear to be accidents but Gloria knows they were murdered because she murdered them. And every time Gloria kills she buys a doll. But how many dolls will she need to keep her satisfied? When Gloria takes a room as a lodger her behaviour starts to spin out of control. Gloria wants love and happiness and friendship and she will do anything she can to get what she wants…

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‘Hello, people. I am Gloria,’ she whispered. Her breath fogged the glass. ‘Be kind to me and I’ll be your friend. Be cruel to me, deceive me or sneak on me, and you’ll join my doll collection.’

That quote right there? Says it all!

Holy cow, what the hell did I read?! Gloria has to be the most frustrating, self-centred, egotistical, annoying, boundary-pushing, delusional, psychopathic main character in the history of story-telling! She literally has no redeeming qualities. None!

But well, sometimes you just need an MC whom you love to hate, right?

‘Why do people make me kill them?’ she whispered. Well, I don’t know, Gloria, but I do know that if I were them, I would be the one trying to kill you!! Oh, how I wanted to strangle her, I can’t even tell you! I think I may have sprained at least one eye, constantly eye-rolling at her utter ignorance and her contempt for other people, and don’t get me started on the kitten, don’t you dare!

And if you think that Gloria is the only self-centred, egotistical, unlikeable character in this book, you’re wrong! There’s also Ian and his dad who are both vying for the Least Likeable Supporting Character award. But don’t despair! There ARE likeable characters as well, who’ll have you rooting for them in no time! Especially Maurice, being the sweet, wronged-by-life-and-the-egotistical-people-in-it man that he is. Mind you, I wouldn’t have minded if he’d had more of a backbone, at times I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to cuddle him or shout at him to EFFING DO SOMETHING.

So yes, maybe, I got a little worked up reading this… But I loved it!

Then why “only” 4 hearts and not 5, you ask? I guess I needed a little more… fluff, let’s call it. At times the leaps between events were too large for my tastes, and the relationship between Gloria and Maurice evolved at warp speed. I’d have liked a little more narrative connecting the events, a bit more elaboration, although the lack thereof did propel the story forward towards an evil EVIL ending. Loved it!

Keep an eye out for the Bloodhound Books Christmas Crackers! If The Doll Collector shows up, make sure you snap it up! Because if you need an antidote to all the sugary Christmas cheer, this is it folks!

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