Follow Me Angela Clarke

Follow Me       Angela Clarke

 

This is another one of those books that turned up as a suggestion based on what I have read before, and Thank God I listened.

Follow me is Angela Clarke’s first crime novel, although she is an established writer as a journalist with a published memoir and playwriting experience, and it shows.

Follow Me is one of the most original plots for a crime thriller I’ve read for a long time.

The main protagonist is Freddie Venton. Freddie is a young woman in her early twenties. A university graduate she works as a barista in a London coffee shop whilst trying to break into the world of journalism. She is not immediately the most likable character, she’s goby, smokes, doesn’t appear to be overly keen on personal hygiene, lives on a sofa in a shared flat, and has a tendency towards using casual sex as a copping mechanism for any stress she has.

Freddie has been writing an anonymous, unpaid column for an online newspaper but struggles to find a paid job. One of the pieces of advice she is given is find the big story, be in amongst it, have a perspective nobody else has.

That chance is presented to her when she is taking a timeout from her job at the coffee shop. Having just been given a rollicking by her manager for fighting off the amorous advances of a drunk she is brooding outside the shop, having a cigarette, when she sees an old friend she hasn’t seen since school.

Detective Sergeant Nasreen Cudmore is everything Freddie isn’t, tall, slim, confident-without being cocky, and apparently successful in her chosen career.

From the instant they meet it is obvious that the two women have history. As the story develops the reader discovers that the two were best friends at school but that something happened that drove them apart. This little sub-plot is good at establishing the relationship between the girls, but unlike some books doesn’t take up great swathes of the story or act as a distraction.

Freddie is a social media and app freak. She is into everything and when she meets Cudmore she manages to sign her onto a social media app that allows Freddie to follow Cudmore via her phone. Realising that Cudmore is in the Police and is about to go on some kind of early morning raid, or investigation Freddie uses the app to follow her. What happens next is for the reader to enjoy and not for me to spoil but Freddie ends up working for the Police as a Social Media advisor.

Why?

Because the Police have a murder on their hands and its been played out on Twitter. The murder has their own account, and the un-savvy police haven’t got the first clue when it comes to the protocols and habits of twitter users.

Freddie has already annoyed the investigating team, led by DCI Moast, and including DS Cudmore, when she is asked to consult on the case by Superintendent Gray. At first it appears to be a “tick-in-the-box” political correctness ploy by Grey but Freddie soon proves her worth and the team reluctantly accept her.

DCI Moast is one of Freddie’s biggest haters but that is because he suffers from Confirmation Bias during the investigation. The condition that a lot of investigators suffer from, Jump to a conclusion then make the evidence fit the theory.

After all Moast and his team are dedicated and experienced Police Officers. Freddie is just a scruffy little coffee shop girl with a big mouth what could she possibly know that they don’t.

When the murders start to stack up more of the team start to think Freddie is getting it right.

This book is one of the best I’ve read for a very long time. It’s told from the point of view of a civilian that is thrown into a Police Investigation.

Freddie encounters crime scenes at their worst. Angela Clarke gets into Freddie’s head brilliantly for this. It’s not glamorous and it can have lasting effects on people, Clarke describes it as if it has happened to her.

She also describes the feeling of an outsider trying to get her convictions across and the frustrations of being treated as an inconvenient sideshow thrust upon the investigation team by a Senior Officer. Whilst also struggling with the emotions of a lost friendship with Cudmore.

The end of the book is great. One of the best things about finding a new author is you are never sure how things will end. Are they a Happy-ever-after writer, or are they a Cop-for-this-shocker writer.

Do you know what? You’ll have to make your own mind up. Right up to the last line of the last page I was hooked.

Who would I recommend this book to?

If you like Marnie Riches you will love this book

If you like Marri Hannah, Angela Marsons or any other British Police Procedural writer you have to read this and see the story from a civilians point of view. You won’t be disappointed.

But most of all. If you love a good story, you’ll love this book.51U5fVAiqeL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

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Nations Divided Steve P Vincent

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I came across this book by accident. So imagine my shock when I found out that this is the third in a series. A series I have been looking for, for years. Those of you that have read my reading history will know that I loved Robert Ludlum’s cold war books and Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series.

I have been on the lookout for a new author to bring to life the same style of writing for the world as it is today.

That is exactly what I found in this book.

Jack Emery is a Special Advisor to the President of the United States and the main character of the book. The story starts with a massacre at a Hospital in Gaza and quickly moves into peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

With a peace agreement in place and a Palestinian State agreed all looks well in the world but a secretive group of Zionists plan to wreck the agreement.

The Zionists acquire weapons and plant them strategically around the world threatening to detonate them if the peace agreement is not overturned.

Emery is in a race against time to find the weapons and the people responsible for planting them.

At the same time a unique and disturbing back up plan is put into place by the terrorists in case the initial plan is disrupted.

The book flies along with plots and sub-plots. As in the real world different countries have different agenda’s. Whilst political moves are made at the highest of levels, Emery works with and against an increasingly complex group of advocates at street level.

It is difficult to say more about the storyline without spoiling the plot for the reader, so I won’t. What I will say is the finale is breathtaking.

This book is great. I feel like I have found what I’ve been looking for since the last Jack Ryan book, and who would have guessed it would be a book with another Jack as the protagonist.

Like Ludlum and Clancy at their best Steve P Vincent uses up to date world politics to paint a background of imminent danger. This book is a must read for fans of those writers.

My only regret is I am late to the party and will have to read the first two in the series out of order, but this book stood alone and it would read easily as a stand-alone novel.

Too Soon A Death Janet O’Kane

Too Soon A Death

Janet O’Kane has written a second book with Dr Zoe Moreland as the main protagonist, and what a book it is.

Dr Zoe is not your usual main character, she is neither the Police Officer or Private Detective trying to solve a case; nor is she the perpetrator, she is just a woman who happens to be a Doctor in a rural GP surgery in a village where crime occurs. The crime is seen through Zoe’s eyes and via village gossip. In fact the story is told in a way that 99% of us would see it, if it happened close to us.

The story starts with Dr Zoe being called to a riverbank close to her home. The body of a young man has been found. He has suffered injuries to his hands that appear to have been treated and she is only there to see if she recognised him as a recent visitor to her practice.

At the scene she meets Detective Sergeant Trent, a local Police Officer Zoe has become used to seeing, and who she aims to assist identifying the body. As in real life they swap pleasantries but the Sergeant only gives her the basics of the investigation, and continues to during the investigation, but she is never an integral part of it.

When She returns home Zoe is met by her dog Mac and her best friend Kate Mackenzie. As in the first book the deaf Kate is Zoe’s best friend and confidant. As well as being a single mom she is a Genealogist and works from home trying to uncover family histories.

Zoe and Kate’s relationship is more like sisters and Kate’s family have become Zoe’s adopted family.

A series of events in the village start to make it look like Dr Zoe is being stalked. Then another incident affects Kate’s family. Are these events and the body in the river connected?

Janet O’Kane’s narrative, unravelling the story from Zoe’s perspective alone, shows how easy it is to become afraid. How conclusions can be made and how worrying it can be to be either at the centre of a crime, or on the peripheries and not have the full picture.

The suspense is built up naturally as more small incidents happen without any explanation.

Is Zoe being targeted, if so why?

Has Kate dug too deeply into somebody’s family history?

And then there are the dogs. Local farmers are reporting attacks on their livestock. Where have they come from and are they connected?

This book was just like the first, No Stranger To Death; it kept me turning the pages. Unlike a lot of modern fiction Too Soon A Death does not rely on blood, guts, and sex, to keep the story moving along. The suspense that kept me reading was generated by a really well written story. It will work your mind, you will try to make connections, and kick yourself when you don’t get them.

If you like TV programs like Midsummer Murders, and Lewis you will fall in love with Janet’s writing.

If you are more of a Luther fan don’t dismiss this book it will be your loss.

I could happily recommend this book to anybody who likes reading. How would I describe the experience of reading it? Have you ever had that feeling when it’s raining or snowing and you’re sat inside with your feet up, in front of the fire, with a warm drink? That’s how I felt reading this book.

Janet. Thank you for this story and I look forward to reading many more of your books in the future.

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