“One warm spring evening, five teenagers meet in a local park. Only four will come out alive.
Six months after the stabbing of fifteen-year-old Deanna Miller, 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 Mount, goes missing, the case gets personal.
With the kidnapper threatening Jess’ life, can Eden bring back her niece to safety? Or will the people of Stockleigh be forced to mourn another daughter…?
A terrifying, compelling police procedural which will thrill fans of Angela Marsons, The Teacher, and Rachel Abbott”
I am absolutely thrilled to welcome you to my stop (and the final stop) on the The Girls Next Door blog tour which I share with the very lovely Jo over at My Chestnut Reading Tree. Pop over and say hi to Jo once you’ve finished here, as I bet she’s written a superb review of this fantastic book!
Have you ever considered how different your life would be if you happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? Teenager Katie Trent ends up in the wrong place. One moment life is normal, the next she’s witnessing her boyfriend stab another teen. Shock makes Katie react slowly but she manages to be with Deanna, the victim, as she takes her last breath. Then she runs, runs home and hides from her family, hides her blood stained clothes. But the attack has been captured on CCTV and Katie, the killer and another two boys are arrested. Katie’s best friend, Jess is devastated; the girls being more like sisters than best friends. Six months down the line and several local teens become the victims of savage and cruel attacks. Are the attacks connected to the murder? Are the Barker family finally seeking revenge? DS Eden Berrisford and her team are on the case. Except things are about to get personal for Eden. Her niece, Jess has gone missing. Eden watches the CCTV footage as Jess is punched in the face and bundled into a van. Can Eden crack the case and save Jess before it’s too late…?
This (I’m ashamed to say) is my first Mel Sherratt read and I can safely say that I was not disappointed. The opening chapters immediately pull you into the story – they’re shocking and unexpected, your heart goes out to the characters involved. It was very easy to like the teenage characters as they’re brilliantly written but I was surprised by how much I liked them. The attacks on the female characters are all very humiliating and I really felt for them (maybe it’s that mothering instinct within me).
I really liked Eden Berrisford but found her a little too polished (with her 60s styled clothes and mini with the black and white checkered roof). Eden’s history with her husband does provide that much needed ‘rough edge’ but I wanted something….more, something darker. She wasn’t what I expected but, if you read my blog regularly, you’ll know that I love a dark, grumpy detective. The grumpier and more damaged, the better. One thing’s for sure, I want to know more about her and eagerly wait for the next instalment.
The plot was interesting and kept my attention from start to finish. I found the attacks on the teenagers quite harrowing, almost stomach churning but that was where the terror ended for me. Jess’s kidnap ordeal was well written but I never really felt she was in real danger. Saying that, I’ve read several fabulous reviews of this book and they all say the opposite to me; they felt really scared for Jess. (Maybe that’s the result of too much crime fiction over the years, I’ve become numb to terror! Uh oh..)
Would I recommend this book? I certainly would. I can’t remember the last crime thriller I read that had this much emotion in it. Yes, it’s a gripping crime thriller but it’s got bags of heart too. Very enjoyable, particularly the sections written from Katie and Jess’ standpoint. Bring on the next Eden Berrisford novel please, Mel Sherratt.
Four out of five stars.
Many thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture, NetGalley and Mel Sherratt. I chose to read and review an ARC of The Girls Next Door.
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.