Publisher: Avon (Harper Collins) | Publication date: Kindle 3rd December 2015, Paperback 31st December 2015 | Edition reviewed: Kindle (NetGalley)
Follow Me is a ballsy, social-media-murder-mystery that strikes a loud fictional chord with the ‘online’ world we live in today. This, and the frenzied attempts to catch a serial killer, creates a punchy and enthralling read.
In a brave journalistic move, the abrasive Freddie soon discovers how a deranged oddball is earning their name as the #Hashtag Murderer. After harnessing the power of social media to its full anonymous advantage, an account, known only as @ Apollyon, tweets a series of short riddles to leave a bread crumb trail to their intended victim. As very few clues are revealed the police have nothing to go on and no way to trace the elusive tweeter.
It’s always nice to have a mention or a like, but personally I’d give this account a wide berth! Once you’re in Apollyon’s sights your popularity will end abruptly – if you’re unfortunate to be followed back, you can be pretty sure you won’t have a pulse for much longer. And yet, each sporadic tweet sees the number of followers swell.
During the police investigation, Freddie finds herself acting as social media consultant for the case. She also battles demons from her past as she is standing shoulder to shoulder with her old school friend Nasreen, now a police Sergeant. Their friendship was ended eight years ago by hints of a secret they share throughout the book. This past emotional baggage is prodded at intervals but isn’t revealed until much later, which lends an tainted edge to their strained relationship.
Sergeant ‘Naz’ Cudmore is ever the professional, wearing perfect suits and annoyingly sucking up to her superiors to further her career, while reciting the police handbook. Freddie Venton rescues two day old clothes off the floor and writes editorial for free, frustratingly waiting for recognition as a credible journalist – at other times she fills her time being a loose cannon waiting to explode at inopportune moments, much to the dismay of the DCI in charge. Given her boisterous and erratic nature, you’d think Freddie would be the last person trusted to assist with the authorities. The question is, will her off-the-wall nature help or hinder the unsuspecting public before we discover who’s next?!
The concept of a #Hashtag Murderer is unnerving, as this invisible threat has the entire population at their mercy. But this book could easily be a manual for of how not to conduct a police investigation. The amateurish decisions of the higher ranking officers at times made me want to throttle them!
The story has an wicked energy to it, there’s an odd, lively buzz as you read. The chapters have social media acronyms as titles too – like a fictional timeline, keeping the online theme at the front of your mind. Nice touch that.
So, hidden agendas and sinister activity aplenty then – what’s not to like?! Oops, scrub that. Best not ‘like’, just in case…
(My thanks to the publisher, Avon Books UK, for providing a digital copy of this book via NetGalley for review purposes.)
(Courtesy of Amazon UK)
LIKE. SHARE. FOLLOW . . . DIE
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?
ONLINE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM …
(EBOOK PUBLISHED 3rd DECEMBER 2015)
(Courtesy of Amazon UK)
Angela Clarke is an author, columnist and playwright. Her debut crime novel Follow Me (Avon) is out December 2015. Follow Me is the first in the Social Media Murders Series.
Her memoir Confessions of a Fashionista (Ebury) is an Amazon Fashion Chart bestseller. Her debut play The Legacy received rave reviews after it’s first run at The Hope Theatre in June 2015. Angela’s journalist contributions include: The Guardian, The Independent Magazine, The Daily Mail, and Cosmopolitan. Now magazine described her as a ‘glitzy outsider’. Angela read English and European Literature at Essex University, and Advances in Scriptwriting at RADA. In 2015 Angela was awarded the Young Stationers’ Prize for achievement and promise in writing and publishing.
She is almost always late or lost, or both.
Find out more at: http://angelaclarke.co.uk