When Allie Shenton is tasked with investigating the murder of Steph Ryder she follows the maxim that 90% of murders are committed to someone close to the victim which leads her to Terry Ryder someone already on the force’s radar for a scam that has afforded him a mansion for him, his wife and his stroppy teenage daughter Kirstie. Allie soon runs into problems though finding Terry unbearably charming and attractive despite all that she knows, or at the very least, suspects him of. His wife, the now departed with a bashed in head, was less attractive and seemed to have few real friends left due in part to her reliance on alcohol to get her through the day.
The structure of the story is good, giving us an insight into Steph’s days in the run up to the murder, we know what she was up to and with whom and we also are privy to who else knows these details all of which is going to be important to knowing who did the dastardly deed but at the time with the numerous criminals being added to the mix felt a little confusing and long-winded at the time, but then we get to Steph’s death. This isn’t a spoiler we know it is going to happen from the start and from here on in the book became a race against time to find the right killer and hope for the safety of numerous other characters.
Allie Shenton is a likeable character, in a relationship with a banker which is slightly shaky at times and more than a tad immature but she comes across as realistic. As all good cops in this genre are, she goes off-piste when she feels necessary and takes extraordinary risks to catch the culprit. As a gritty crime the language is fruity and many of the characters seem to be shady in the extreme. With loan-sharks, dodgy tenant scams, drugs and blackmail, I have to say Stoke-On-Trent sounded an increasingly dangerous place to reside!
An ideal read to lose yourself in and enjoy the rollercoaster ride which has enough loops to keep you on the edge of your seat, as Mel Sherratt misdirects with aplomb. The only minor criticism I have is that there were a couple of times there were sentences that I simply couldn’t make sense of in the first section.
I’m now looking forward to the release of Follow The Leader to find out what Allie does next!