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Trust Me by Angela Clarke

51O73PAHCPL__SY346_While undertaking some online research for her work, Kate stumbles upon a live video which is seemingly showing a young woman being murdered. After calling the police, she discovers that the video has disappeared and that people are reluctant to take her seriously. How can she prove that this was not a figment of her imagination and that, somewhere, is a girl in need of help? Meanwhile, Sergeant Nasreen Cudmore and her friend Freddie Venton are working on a missing persons case – could the two incidents be connected?

Trust Me is the third of Angela Clarke’s Social Media Murders series, following on from Follow Me and Watch Me and, again, deals with the dark side of the internet. This time the spotlight is on Periscope and how people, anywhere, can watch video clips that are put online. It is, in many ways, a modern twist on the Agatha Christie classic, The 4.50 from Paddington, where instead of Elspeth McGillicuddy witnessing the strangling of a woman when passing on a train and nobody believing her, we have Kate witnessing the rape and murder of a young woman online and the video being removed before her story can be corroborated.

In Trust Me, we see a different side to Freddie’s character in that she is struggling to come to terms with feelings she has never felt before. This angst does not stop her impulsiveness, however, and she is soon infuriating her friend, Nas, who is more adept at playing by the rules. There are times, though, when we see Nas acting without thinking, showing that the friends’ personalities are beginning to rub off on each other.

One of the things I liked most about this book was that, although it is a police procedural, it is not a traditional whodunit. The naming of the culprit is secondary to the actual investigation and the police search for the girl in the video. It is still a fast-paced story, though, especially in the last fifth of the book when one of the characters is placed in mortal danger.

I’ve enjoyed reading all of the books in this series so far and I hope that Angela Clarke has some more in the pipeline!

With thanks to Net Galley and Avon Books UK for the ARC.

 

My Books of 2016

2016 has been a great year for books, especially for crime and thriller fans! With so many to choose from, it has been difficult to choose my ten favourites, but I think I’ve just about managed it!

The Silence Between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe

By far, my favourite book of the year, and one whose plot will stay with me for a long time. Telling the story of a suicide bomber onboard a train bound for London, Cath Staincliffe’s novel is emotional and fast-paced and is one that makes you ask the question, “What would I do in that situation?”

Follow Me / Watch Me by Angela Clarke

51g8rpiawvlA slight cheat, as this is actually two books, but I couldn’t separate them! The first books in Angela Clarke’s ‘Social Media Murders’ series show how the likes of Twitter and Snapchat can help to bring out the worst in people and they certainly make you question your own social media usage. Having just finished Watch Me, I do hope that there’s a third book on the horizon!

Kindred by Steve Robinson

I do love a good genealogical mystery and, for me, Steve Robinson is the master of them! Told in two timeframes – the present and World War Two – this is, at times, an incredibly emotive book as genealogist, Jefferson Tayte, uncovers the truth about his own family. Dealing with The Holocaust  and the events of Kristallnacht, this is not a light-hearted read, but one that truly shows what millions of people endured at that time.

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

I could have included any of Robert Bryndza’s three ‘DCI Erika Foster’ books as they are all as brilliant as each other but decided to go with the one that started off the series. In Erika, we have a feisty, no-nonsense police officer who will stop at nothing to secure a conviction. Of course, like a lot of fictional detectives, she has a traumatic backstory, and this has helped her to become as determined as she is. Robert Bryndza’s foray into crime fiction has been a very welcome addition to the genre.

The Daughters of Red Hill Hall by Kathleen McGurl

It’s always  good sign when, after reading a book, you immediately download other books by the same author. This was what happened after reading The Daughters of Red Hill Hall. This is really two stories within a book, one set in the present day and one set during the Victorian era. In 1838, two sisters have been found shot but who was the culprit and how is the story linked to the present day? The book is billed as, ‘A gripping novel of family, secrets and murder’ and this is indeed true!

Then She Was Gone by Luca Veste

For me, Luca Veste is fast becoming one of the crime writers. Set in Liverpool, the books follow the work of DI David Murphy, a born and bred Scouser, and DS Laura Rossi, a Liverpudlian of Italian descent. One of the main strengths in this series is the relationship between the two main characters. What I really enjoyed about this book was that I had no idea who the culprit was and was left guessing until the very end.

Lost and Gone Forever by Alex Grecian

51ZBjJC54-L._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Victorian crime is a big interest of mine and, for the past few years, I have eagerly anticipated the next of Alex Grecian’s Murder Squad books. After the shocking end to the previous book, The Harvest Man, I couldn’t wait to find out what had happened to Detective Walter Day. Lost and Gone Forever really shows the depraved side of Victorian society whilst also showing the growing importance of females. A great read!

The Disappearance by Annabel Kantaria

When I started to read this, I thought it was going to be a straightforward whodunnit: a woman disappears from a ship; how and why? It was so much more, though, telling the life story of Audrey Templeton and the consequences of her actions and those of other people. Heart-warming and distressing in equal measures.

The Silent Girls by Ann Troup

Edie inherits a house in the same square where five women were killed years before and soon finds herself drawn into the events of the past. This is a very dark story but one which is well-written and contains wonderful description. There are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing up until the end.

Hidden Killers by Lynda La Plante

51dispit6tl-_sx320_bo1204203200_I’ve always been a massive Prime Suspect fan so was ecstatic when Lynda La Plant started to write prequels to the original story. Hidden Kilers, like the first book, Tennison, helps to explain the character of Jane Tennison that we all know so well. Providing an insight into how difficult it was for the first group of female detectives, hopefully this series will go on and on!

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

51g8rpiawvlWhen 15-year-old Chloe Strofton is found dead after sending a suicide note on social media, it is assumed that the teenager has, tragically, taken her own life. After a second teenager, Lottie Burgone, goes missing, and taunting messages are sent to the police via Snapchat, connections begin to be made. What makes this case personal is that the missing girl is the sister of one of the investigating officers. DS Nasreen Cudmore and her friend Freddie Venton are determined to find the missing girl and discover who is behind the horrific attack. When a name from a previous case emerges, the women know that this promises to be a disturbing, twisted game of ‘cat and mouse’.

Ever since reading the first of Angela Clarke’s ‘Social Media Murders’ (Follow Me), I had been eagerly awaiting its sequel. Of course, when you’ve enjoyed a book so much, there is always slight trepidation when reading its follow-up in case it’s a let down. I am incredibly pleased to say that Watch Me is just as good, if not better, than Follow Me!

From the very first page, the author has you hooked and leaves you in no doubt as to the direction of the book. Although we, initially, don’t know the identity of the person who is experiencing such an extreme form of bullying, sympathy is instantly felt for them and for what they are going through. Whereas the emaphasis was placed on Twitter in the previous book, here we see how Snapchat and message boards can be used for less-than-honest means and how the innocent can become embroiled in it. The subject matter is one that has been very high profile in recent years and the author has certainly done her research to show how easy it is to become affected.

It definitely helps to have read the previous book although not too many spoilers are given away. Initially, the focus is on Nasreen and her police role but we are soon reacquainted with Freddie who, as a result of events in Follow Me, is a shadow of her former self. You can’t keep a good woman down, though, and Freddie is soon back to her wise-cracking ways, becoming an indispensible member of the investigating team.

Again, I found myself being unable to put this book down; “I’ll just read one more chapter…” became my mantra! The pace is relentless as it hits you with one revelation after another. I did have my suspicions early on as to who the culprit was and, although, I had identified a ‘wrong-un’, the actual killer remained unknown until the end, which contained a clever twist.

My only concern is now the time I’m going to have to wait until the next book!

With thanks to Harper Collins UK and Net Galley for my ARC.

 

 

Follow Me by Angela Clarke

The sign of a good book is that you cannot put it down. The fact that I have been exhausted all day due to staying awake until the wee small hours to finish it tells you how good ‘Follow Me’ is!

Freddie Venton is growing weary of life. Working in a London coffee shop but with aspirations of becoming a serious journalist, her life changes completely when she spots a face from her past. Convinced that her former friend, Nasreen, is with a group of police officers about to take part in an operation, she manages to track them down to a crime scene where the body of a man has been discovered. Using subterfuge, Freddie manages to access the scene but is soon discovered.

After realising that there is a social media link to the killing, Freddie is drafted in as a consultant. When a twitter account is set up by the killer, Freddie has to convince the police to take the social media aspect of the case seriously – not an easy task when the majority of those investigating the case seem to be technophobes! As the death count rises and it becomes apparent that a serial killer is on the loose, will the police be able to apprehend the culprit before someone close to the investigation becomes the next victim?

Angela Clarke does a good job in keeping you hooked thoughout the book and, although I had suspicions about who the ‘Hashtag Murderer’ was, I was surprised when the killer was revealed. The sub-plot concerning Freddie and Nasreen’s past was also intriguing and managed to fit in nicely with the main plot.

‘Follow Me’ really does make you think about your own social media habits and how much information users are making available to strangers.

I am pleased to see that this is going to be part of a series. Highly recommended.

I received this book from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

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