Posted in Books I have read

Follow The Leader – Mel Sherratt

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

When a man is stabbed to death by a canal DS Allie Shenton’s earliest thoughts go along the lines of that this is something more exciting than a domestic, this is something she can get her teeth into, she soon is eating her words as the ruthless killer stacks up the bodies in Stoke-On-Trent at an unseemly rate.

Mickey Taylor has been found with a magnetic letter E in his pocket the significance of which eludes Allie and the team. When a second man is killed a couple of days later a link is made, the two men had attended the same school, as did Allie’s fellow officer Perry and her elder sister Karen. Be warned this is a book where the reader knows who the killer is from the start, we get to see him back in the 1980’s and in the present day and therefore know far more than the police. Knowing the killer is a tricky device for the author to pull off, but I’m pleased to report that I felt no less suspense in this book than when I’m trying to solve the puzzle myself, in fact, if anything I was more eager than ever for the police to work out the scarce clues they had to hand, and foil the killer.

The switches between past and present were also expertly presented, there was no confusion whatsoever at the change-over points and the voices were authentic in both time periods. As the 1980’s is when I was at school any inconsistencies would have jarred but there weren’t any. Each of the characters, and there are a fair few to keep track of, particularly as those in the 80’s were often known by nicknames, were on the whole a sensible mixture of good and bad. I’m not a fan of outright goodies and baddies in books and it was almost like a school reunion seeing who had come good all these years later, and of course to wonder which of them were going to live to tell the tale!

Having recently read the first book in this series Taunting The Dead, the story of Allie and her elder sister Karen was already fresh in my mind. As with any good series the story arc continues in this book, as does her husband’s concern about Allie’s job, but in this book the conflict is handled with far more subtlety and thereby making it more realistic. I like Allie, she is a well-balanced police officer and her relationships with her fellow officers are cordial with a happy absence of ongoing conflict allowing the reader to concentrate on the crime at hand.

This book hit all the key points for a five-star read; a great mix of characters, a believable villain, a fantastic plot and writing that flowed despite the complexities of two different time periods. If you haven’t read Taunting The Dead ,in theory although the story-line in that book is alluded to in this one, you could easily enjoy this as a stand-alone, but why would you want to? My recommendation is that you buy both books and immerse yourself in Allie Shenton’s world.

Follow The Leader will be published on 10 February 2015 and I’d like to thank Amazon publishers, Thomas and Mercer, for allowing me to read a proof copy of this excellent book in return for my opinion.

Previous books by Mel Sherratt:

Taunting The Dead – book 1 in the Allie Shenton series
Watching Over You – a psychological thriller

Author:

A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

19 thoughts on “Follow The Leader – Mel Sherratt

  1. I was also an Eighties schoolgirl, secondary in my case – the mullets, the crap catalogue clothes, the U2 albums….I’ll have to read this one, for nostalgia’s sake if nothing else! The fact that it sounds like a great police procedural is a huge bonus, too. Thanks, Cleo!

    1. Oh but catalogues were so much fun!! I’d browse my Mum’s for hours although admittedly the items delivered never quite matched my vision. This book has a youth club disco, did you ever go to one? Horrific experience that I’d spent hours persuading my Dad to allow me to go only to be disappointed by the reality – there’s a theme developing here 🙂

  2. Cleo – No doubt about it: a novel that portrays an historical era really needs to portray that era authentically. I’m very glad this one does. And the mystery sounds intriguing too, even we do know the killer. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Sounds great but…did you just sneakily try to add THREE books to our lists?? And, believe me, discos in the eighties were preferable to being forced to do the Viennese Waltz with the boys in the class in the 70s…

    1. Did you not get taught all the Scottish dances, FF? Gay Gordons, Canadian Barn Dance, Strip The Willow, Dashing White Sergeant (this last one always ends up with someone being swung around so violently they inevitably collide with a pile of chairs at the edge of the dancefloor!) Viennese Waltz could I imagine come in useful, if you’re ever approached to do Strictly!

    2. Aha you caught me! Well the first in the series is good so I am giving it a recommendation but this one is much more polished, If you are only going to pick one – choose this one! No I didn’t do waltzing although I did do some country dancing in the school hall to a crackly tape recording.

      1. Yes, country dancing is very special when done with teenage boys, isn’t it? Mind you, it’s still pretty lethal when done at the Christmas Ceilidh as adults… 😉

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