Monday, 16 November 2015

Follow Me - Angela Clarke - murderously scary

What the Publisher says:


The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.

But this is no virtual threat.

As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.

Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?

Time's running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?


My Review

Follow me is the perfect thriller chiller for the noughties.

This murderously scary, quirky who-dunnit is peppered with larger than life characters with flaws and foibles galore, who make it a pleasure to read.

We start with Freddie a young woman addicted to the internet and Twitter, who hankers to be a renowned journalist. She's making ends meet (just) working in a rail station coffee bar, she hasn't much of a life, home is a sofa bed in a shared flat full of itinerant flat sharers she has little in common with. She has few friends, her abrupt sometimes agressive nature has seen to that. She lurches from drunken one night stand to self reproachful hangover, all the time longing for the BIG journalistic break she dreams of but fears will always elude her.

When she spots her old school pal Nasreen, in her police uniform taking part in some exciting crime busting team event, Freddie makes a spur of the moment decision to take matters in her own hands and inveigle her way into the police investigation and maybe find a breaking story to finally make her name. What she ends up involved with IS life changing, but probably not in the way she's envisaged.

The police are investigating a gruesome murder, soon to be tagged the #murderer as tweets bearing inside knowledge of the murders soon appear on Twitter feeds, and as the public begin to follow whowever is posting them things spiral out of control, a serial killer is on the loose concealed by the anonymity of, yet in plain view on, the internet. The world waits with baited breath, commenting and reacting and helping the murderer go viral.

Running alongside the very fast paced murder investigation is the second part of the story of Nas and Freddies shared past, once bosom buddies they drifted apart and we don't know why, something happened, but is it someting they can put behind them now they are back in touch?

It's inventivelyy written, the twists and turns are masterful, the fact that Freddie probably isn't someone you'd instantly choose as your best mate, actually endeared her to me, she is definitely the underdog, a position she accepts and seem determined to maintain by her aggressive stance and selective failure to sustain relationships of any kind.

All the way through, large parts of the story take place on-line and rely on Twitter interactions to build the pace and shows how quickly internet sensations can build into something massive. It cleverly educates as you go, even as a keen Tweeter myself there are lots of descriptions of how things work, explanations of text speak, acronyms used on Twitter and blogs which I wasn't fully aware of and these are cleverly explained by having a couple of non techy police in the investigation who don't really get the internet and as stuff is explained to them so does the reader who doesn't understand Twitter learn and the one who is familiar feels instantly at home. Whilst reading this novel I was looking over my virtual shoulder every time I tweeted!

The story is a real page turner, I was alternately horrified, frightened, sickened and sometimes amused by the way events unfurl. Theres a deft wittiness threaded through the dark and very tense crimes being committed, the police are almost parodies of themselves, Freddie is so brash and faux tough you could be forgiven for allowing her to annoy you just a little bit too much but it all boils down to a heady mix of murder and mayhem, taking place today in an online world we are all too familiar with.

I think I suspected just about everyone at one point or another, the author places some vividly red herrings at random points throughout the story and I began to mistrust inoocent peoples motives, then felt guilty about it!

When the reveal comes its not what I was expecting and the finale wraps everything up creditably. An exceptionally engaging read and a must for any thriller or psychological chiller lover. 

Pre-order your copy now on Amazon

My thanks go to The publisher - Avon/ Harper Collins, The author Angela Clarke and Netgalley for providing me with an advance ebook copy to read and review at my leisure.


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