I was given a copy of this via netgalley.
Mel Sherratt has written a number of novels and was at last year’s festival. This is the second in her series starring DS Allie Shenton. As Allie and her husband return to work after their Christmas break a body is found with a magnetic letter on it. Soon a second body this time female is found, again with a letter. This starts a hunt for a serial killer where the clues seem few and far between. Alongside this investigation we are introduced to Patrick both his thoughts in the current day, and with flashbacks to his childhood at school.
This was an unusual book in that right from the start the reader knew who the killer was and why he was doing the murders. Yet this didn’t distract from the story at all. I didn’t feel it was the most original storyline, but was written in an unusual style which made up for that. We are all profoundly affected by our school experience and it is a fine line as to whether we become better people for it or it ruins us. This is a story of what happens when it goes wrong.
There were some bits I thought were a bit odd, for example people hear something on the radio about someone being killed. In order to find out who the victim is they wait until the next news bulletin rather than just look it up on their phone like most people do now. However as I always say, books are fiction, and the use of poetic license to move a story on is never a problem.
Putting my slight reservations aside I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was an interesting style in that there would be a chapter of flashback that told what happened to Patrick in the 80’s and then the main culprit in that chapter would be re-met in present day. This added a different dimension to the usual serial killer books I read and made it a real page turner.
Although this is the second in the series it works as a stand alone novel as well. There is some element of back story references but Follow the Leader can still be enjoyed with no knowledge of them. The characters within the story all seem very believable and the strand with Allie and her sister was incredibly sad.
This novel ended on a cliffhanger that means I can’t wait to hear what happens next and am looking forward to the third in the series from Mel.