While I do not think that it is completely necessary to read the first book in this series to understand the relationships and who Kim is in order to enjoy this book. I think you would be doing yourself a disservice of not reading Silent Scream as it was an awesome debut novel and I highly recommend it.
There are a series of murders and events happening that do not seem to be connected, yet D.I. Kim Stone has a feeling that there is more to these murders than meets the eye. Convicts who were doing well on their programs are all of a sudden taking part in revenge killings, but nothing seems to link them. Kim doesn't know it yet but she is up against a sociopath who likes to know the weaknesses of everyone who comes into contact with her and she is determined to make Kim on of her victims. As Kim struggles with trying to put the cases together, she realizes that her own past is about to be brought to the forefront and she just might not be able to handle the consequences. A cat and mouse game of the minds is about to occur and it is winner takes all.
When you read not only an amazing debut but one that is going to be part of a new series, you often wonder if the author can follow up with another great read and Marsons does it in spades. Often I find that once authors have a formula that works they tend to stick to it, this is not true to with Marsons. In Evil Games, Marsons creates a whole new set of cases and adversaries for Stone and her team to be up against. It was also interesting that Marsons decided to put Kim up against as Sociopath instead of a Psychopath (thank you for doing something different) which adds whole new elements to the story and Kim as a character but also Marsons' ability to create an interesting plot.
Kim is a fantastic character, yes she is damaged, she really does not hide it (but hides the context of it really well), but I really appreciated that Marsons forced Kim to, start to overcome the damage parts of her that her past has caused. This shows to me that Marsons is going to let Kim grow and change as a character over time, which I think is needed in every series.
In this book you know in one case that Kim and her team are working who the bad guy (or gal in this case) is, however, unlike other novels that have done this, Kim is aware of who the criminal is as well but she is struggling to put everything together. I liked that I was not waiting for the main character to catch up with the information that you, as the reader, already know. While reading it and Kim's struggles you feel more part of the investigation and the frustration that Kim has than just waiting for her to play catch up. I loved the interlude of word play between Alex and Kim as each tries to dismantle the other mentally. This book has the true cat and mouse game between the two of them and you never really know which one is the cat and which is the mouse.
What I like about Marsons' writing is that she understands that Kim and her team will never work just one case at a time. There are always new major crimes cases that need to be solved and you have to split your time, energy and team between them. This to me sounds very true for any police team, constantly pulled in more than.
Marsons is fast becoming one of my favourite mystery/thriller authors out there and I hope that she can keep up the awesome ideas and writing. I am looking forward to the third book, Lost Girls, in her D.I. Kim Stone series, is a must pick up and read for me.