#helpme OMG I am so delighted to be opening up the #BlogTour for Mel Sherratt’s “The Girls Next Door”. This is my first time ever opening up a #BlogTour and I’m delighted to be sharing the stage with the lovely Emma Mitchell over at Emmathelittlebookworm
I only “popped my Mel Sherratt cherry” recently and to be honest I’ve been binging on her books ever since! So a huge thanks to Noelle at Bookouture for asking me to take part in the tour and to Netgalley for an ARC in return for my unbiased review.
Before I even start my review can I say – WOW I totally love that cover! It jumped straight out the page at me!
One warm spring evening, five teenagers meet in a local park. Only four will come out alive.
Six months after the stabbing of sixteen-year-old Deanna Barker, someone is coming after the teenagers of Stockleigh, as a spate of vicious assaults rocks this small community. Revenge for Deanna? Or something more?
Detective Eden Berrisford is locked into a race against time to catch the twisted individual behind the attacks – but when her own niece, Jess Mountford, goes missing, the case gets personal.
With the kidnapper threatening Jess’s life, can Eden bring back her niece to safety? Or will the people of Stockleigh be forced to mourn another daughter…?
My Review: 4.5/5
Opening the book you are grabbed and dragged straight into the main plot – the murder of Deanna Barker who has been brutally stabbed to death. The pace just picks up more speed from there as you are propelled forward 6 months just days before the trial of the accused…as well as the heightened tension in the community around the forthcoming trial there is a real sense of disquiet as local teenage girls are being abducted and left humilated with warnings to keep their mouths shut! Are these abductions linked to the trial or is there something else going on? When Jess goes missing the initial thoughts are that she too will come home humiliated but it is soon clear that she is not going to be returning anytime soon. This makes the case personal for Eden as she battles to find her niece before it’s too late. We are then taken into the twists and turns of the plotlines going on, including gang involvement, teenage bullying and suicide and the far reaching impact these all have.
I actually found myself taking a real dislike to Jess, even during the ordeal she was facing; I think there is more trouble to be found attached to her as the series goes on; she struck me as selfish and completely without insight into the world and her impact on it; I got the feeling she would say what she thought was wanted to try and pull the wool over people’s eyes.
Eden – I loved her character – I found her fiesty and determined and with an intriguing background story – she is going to be an interesting character to watch develop over a series. Looking forward to seeing how her relationships with her colleagues develops. So different from Laura (her sister and Jess’s mum) yet you can see that there is a bond there that will be difficult to break – will be interesting to see how things develop with Eden on the side of the law if Jess doesn’t toe the line!
Lulu – Deanna’s mother – although we only got a small glimpse into her life – I warmed to her immediately; I got a real sense of a woman who is up against it – her boys are wild, her daughter was murdered and her husband upped sticks and left her and despite the sympathy from others over Deanna’s death you get a sense she is pretty downtrodden and feels she has nowhere to turn to. Mel gives a great portrayal of her as a stereotyped “gansters mum” you know the one – “my boys are good, they are, they are just misunderstood”. I hope she features elsewhere in the series and I really hope something positive happens for her!
The letters from Katie to her mum were painfully sad and as a mum of a young teenager I could feel the torment as a mum and imagine Katie’s anguish at the situation she found herself in. I was in tears at the Ashleigh storyline as you could not fail to be moved by how the actions of others drove a young woman to take the steps that she did.
I thought the The Girls Next Door perfectly captured estate life and the pressures on young people today; it also highlighted how communities can and do pull together – but also how they can isolate individuals and what impact that has on them – Mel gave an eloquent portrayal of the gritty side of life that does go on, the dialogue was realistic and there was a real sense of community developed within the book.
This was the 2nd book of Mel’s that I had read in one week, my first one being Watching Over You. This certainly wasn’t as harrowing and disturbing as WOY but what an explosive start to a new series. Mel – consider me a “Sherratt Junkie” 🙂
Mel Sherratt writes gritty crime dramas, psychological suspense and fiction with a punch – or grit-lit, as she calls it. Shortlisted for the CWA (Crime Writer’s Association) Dagger in the Library Award 2014, she finds inspiration from authors such as Martina Cole, Lynda la Plante and Elizabeth Haynes. Since 2012, all nine of her crime novels have been bestsellers. Four of her books are published by Amazon Publishing’s crime and thriller imprint, Thomas & Mercer and she has a new series out with Bookouture.
Mel lives in Stoke-on-Trent, with her husband and terrier, Dexter, named after the TV serial killer, and makes liberal use of her hometown as a backdrop for some of her books.
To order your copy of The Girls Next Door then pop yourself over to Amazon and get clicking! I’ve even put the link below for you to make it easier 🙂
The Girls Next Door – Mel Sherratt