CTG Reviews: ONLY THE BRAVE by Mel Sherratt

Only the Brave cover image

Only the Brave cover image

What the blurb says: “When one of the notorious Johnson brothers is murdered and a bag of money goes missing, a deadly game of cat and mouse is set in motion. DS Allie Shenton and her team are called in to catch the killer, but the suspects are double-crossing each other and Allie has little time to untangle the web of lies. As she delves deeper into the case, things take a personal turn when Allie realises she is being stalked by the very same person who attacked her sister seventeen years ago and left her for dead.”

This is the third book in the fantastic DS Allie Shenton series following on from Taunting the Dead and Follow the Leader. Taking place over forty-eight hours, the story centres around a fatal stabbing – one where there are many people who seem to know something about the incident, but none of them are going to give up that information easily to Allie and her team.

Allie is used to working hard, but this case has more personal connections than Allie is comfortable with. History is dredged up when Terry Ryder’s daughter – Kirstie – turns out to be the girlfriend of the victim, pushing Allie back into contact with Ryder, something she would much prefer to avoid.

The emotional stakes are high in this story as Allie’s sister Karen, whose health took a turn for the worse at the end of the previous book ‘Follow the Leader’, is getting progressively more ill. Allie is torn between finding the killer and being there for her sister. Unable to choose, she tries to do both – exhausting herself both physically and psychologically. But as she gets closer to solving the murder case, there is another danger lurking nearby – a person who’s been waiting a very long time to get Allie to themselves – and as the book hurtles along towards its dramatic conclusion, Allie has to use every ounce of her determination and resolve if she’s to escape with her life.

Slickly plotted and a real page-turner of a read, ONLY THE BRAVE is a rollercoaster of grit and emotion.

Highly recommended.


[with thanks to Mel Sherratt and Thomas & Mercer for my copy of ONLY THE BRAVE] 

CTG Reviews: Follow the Leader by Mel Sherratt

Follow the Leader cover image

Follow the Leader cover image

What the blurb says: “A man’s body is found on a canal towpath. In his pocket, a magnetic letter in the shape of an E. Days later, a second victim is found, this time with the letter V tucked into her clothing. As the body count rises, the eerie, childlike clues point to a pattern that sends DS Allie Shenton and her colleagues into full alert. The race is on. Allie and the team must work quickly to determine where the killer will strike next. The rules are simple but deadly—to catch the killer, they must Follow the Leader.”

Follow the Leader is the second book in the DS Allie Shenton series, following on from Taunting the Dead, and it’s a pulse pounder of a story. The title might allude to a playground game and the story be structured around a nursery counting rhyme, but this is no light-hearted tale of child’s play. It’s a gritty, rollercoaster of a read, with a well-planned and intelligent killer leading DS Allie Shenton and her team in a deadly race against time.

DS Allie Shenton is a courageous and dynamic lead character. She’s proactive and smart, utilizing the skills of her team to full advantage to investigate the murders and work out the killer’s pattern in order to determine who will be the next target. It’s a difficult case to work for some of her team, especially when a connection to one of the local schools and old school friends begins to emerge. As the attacks increase, it becomes a harder case for Allie Shenton too – there are similarities between one of the attacks and the vicious attack that critically injured her sister, Karen, several years previously – an attack for which the perpetrator was never caught.

Packed with intrigue and brilliantly drawn characters, the story twists and turns at a rapid pace and pulls the reader along with the action, defying you to put it down – I couldn’t, and devoured the book in a single weekend! It also lets the reader glimpse into the world of the killer, showing the events in their life that have led them to the extreme action they’re now taking in revenge.

Artfully plotted, this gritty and emotive story is a must read for fans of police procedurals.

Highly recommended.


[With thanks to Mel Sherratt for my copy of FOLLOW THE LEADER]