Today I am thrilled to share my review of She Did It, the latest release from Mel Sherratt which is released today. Happy publication day Mel and thanks for letting me loose with an advance copy of the book.
Before I tell you my thoughts, here is what the book is all about.
The Official Book Blurb
Work colleague. Friend. Killer.
A successful businesswoman, Tamara enjoys her champagne lifestyle to the full. At least, that is the front she displays to the world. As well as being lonely, she’s running out of money. A promising new member of staff brings the injection of fresh blood needed to win the contract that will turn things around.
Working for Tamara is a perfect ruse for Esther. But, along with fake references and qualifications, she also has a plan for revenge. Sensing Tamara’s vulnerability, Esther uses their acquaintance as a way of getting close to someone who hurt her in the past.
Tamara is keeping things secret. Esther has a dark side she is trying to hide. For both of them, lying is a habit. But when mistakes begin to catch up with Esther, and people start dying, Tamara realises she’s chosen the wrong person to trust as a friend.
Perfect for fans of The Girlfriend, Lies and Behind Closed Doors.
There is some amount of comfort when you pick up the book of an author you already know and love. You know, if nothing else, that you are going to be served up a good story; well written with good, solid, rounded characters that you can get behind.
With She Did It, Mel Sherratt serves up a stonkingly huge slice of comfort pie and tops it off with a whole dollop of cream. And sprinkles. From the very first page I was drawn into this book and I feasted on all it had to offer – unreliable narrators, intriguing storyline and a deep buried secret which led to some disturbing and occasionally violen revelations.
Tamara is a woman trying to launch a new PR business. Her main aim is to land a major publishing house as her first big client, but in order to do so she needs help. Enter Esther, a woman almost too good to be true. Beautiful and elegant she is everything Tamara is looking for. Or is she? While their friendship seems to blossom, neither woman is being entirely honest with the other. And the secrets they keep could see everything Tamara has worked for come crashing down around her – with deadly consequences.
This was a truly intriguing read for me. There is a kind of feeling of the unreliable narrator about the book, told from both Esther and Tamara’s points of view, as it is clear neither woman is telling the whole truth. But as deceptive as Esther is, and it is made apparent from the off that she isn’t all she is purporting to be, she is still not entirely honest, with her full motivation kept hidden from the reader until nearly the end. And when it is revealed… prepare to be shocked. You will think you know – hints are dropped throughout – but nothing can quite prepare you for the truth. It is cruel, and it is uncomfortable, but it also feel authentic and unforced. Not a shock for shocks sake.
Tamara is an entirely different character. She appears open, amiable. Altogether too trusting of her new friend and employee. Even when she sees the warning signs, she still accepts Esther’s explanations and you would think her naive. And yet you still cannot trust all that she says and feels. She has a past too, a secret which will make you question her integrity and perhaps her sanity too – something the story hinges upon.
All of the characters and the setting, largely around Tamara and Esther’s marketing ploys in preparation for the release of an brand new novel, a subject the author undoubtedly knows well, feel authentic and well fleshed out. You get a good sense of what makes each person tick, and yet Mel Sherratt also manages to create an element of mistrust among each of them. The two personalities of Esther are so distinct, so beautifully written, that she seemelessly flicks between the two, making the reader, much like Tamara, wonder if the change really occured at all.
The tension in this book may be slow building, but the promise of discovery keeps you perched on the edge of your seat from start to finish. That said, you never quite know what Esther is likely to do next and that intrigue will keep you turning the pages into the small hours.
She Did It… She certainly flipping did. If you like a book full of secrets, manipulation and a woman hell bent on revenge, then look no further as Mel Sherratt knocks this one out of the park. A really engrossing read. Loved it.
She Did It is available from today at the following retailers:
About the Author
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.