Kat's Rating: 4/5
Synopsis: How far would you go to protect the ones you love? And how much further would you go to betray them?
Nine out of ten murders are committed by someone the victim knows. So when Steph Ryder has her head bashed in within earshot of her family and friends, DS Allie Shenton begins her investigation close to home.
Soon the lies, backtracking, and secrets multiply as each of the suspects tries to cover up their actions on that fateful night. Before long, Allie homes in on Steph’s ambitious and powerful husband, Terry. Convinced he’s hiding something, she interviews him again and again—only to find that she is falling, despite herself, for his smooth charms.
As the trail grows hotter, along with Allie’s feelings, the web of deceit pulls tighter and more bodies begin to pile up. Allie must race against time to uncover the shocking truth before she becomes the killer’s next victim.
Kat's Review: I have read one of Mel’s Estate Series books as well as Watching Over You. With her imminent release of book 2 featuring DS Allie Shenton I figured I should read book 1 to familiarise myself. I am pretty glad that I did now as I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I also find it’s an added bonus that I have the next book as the ending was brilliant, albeit a cliff-hanger! Allie Shenton is a good character and easily likeable. She’s a copper who is working in Stoke, the place she was born and bred. The story itself was a bit of a slow burner, but by the second third I was well and truly gripped and read it right through to the end.
Steph Ryder and her dodgy husband Terry are the main focus of this book. Steph was frankly a rather despicable character. A virtual alcoholic we get to know exactly what are whop are relevant in her life. Terry Ryder, although an obvious gangster with a legit front, had a rather endearing character! We also meet additional characters that are all added to the mix such as Phil Kennedy who works for Terry, Steph’s friend Carole and her husband Shaun as well as Terry and Steph’s daughter.
The layers of the story are put there, and at times I thought they were maybe too much but I realised by the end that there is a method to Mel’s madness, namely the next book. As well as all the colourful characters, we get to know a bit about Allie, we meet her husband, her boss and her sister. All of this becomes a lot more relevant as the story continues. When Steph is murdered, nobody (including me) could work out what on earth was going on. It certainly added another layer of intrigue as each time I thought both they and I had figured it out, I was wrong!
This book certainly had me well and truly gripped, especially the last quarter of the book, and frankly the last chapter had me screaming in frustration. Luckily, the new book is already on my Kindle (due for release 10th Feb 2015) so I could get stuck straight back in. I think Mel Sherratt is definitely an underated author and I for one am starting straight on book 2. I think if you haven’t read Mel Sherratt before this book (or one of the Estate Books) is a fantastic place to start. Now if you don’t mind…I have another Allie Shenton book to read!