Book Review: Trust Me (Social Media Murders 3), by Angela Clarke

Publisher:  Avon (Harper Collins UK)

Publication date:  15th June 2017

The force of Freddie Venton returns in the dynamic and unflinchingly gritty Trust Me.

The technically homeless, romantically chaotic police consultant still fails to censor her thoughts before voicing them, meaning she remains a cause for concern to her school friend and semi-starched superior, Detective Sergeant Nasreen Cudmore, particularly since the momentously questionable use of a stationery cupboard.

During their previous encounters they have been introduced to some very dark places and people, but there’s nothing worse than receiving an eye-witness report of an assault on a young girl only to find there’s nothing they can do about it. The ordeal was streamed live to an online audience but the video link can no longer be traced, so there’s zero chance of tracing the suspects in this digital vision of hell. And to make matters worse, the only viewer brave enough to step forward has been branded a tipsy hysteric, instead of being considered a credible source of valuable information.

Damn. This is raw. Not only did the victim’s fear make a lasting impression but I felt the witness’s raging frustration too. Knowing the urgency of the circumstances and willingly reaching out to the authorities only be dismissed was insulting and incredibly judgemental – the lady lived alone, therefore that empty wine glass next to her laptop must suggest a vivid imagination has replaced all rational thought. The conclusion? No crime took place.

And yet, how soul destroying it must be for police officers when deciding which ghost they should chase? Clearly a fair proportion of the community are vying for their attention in other ways, so making that instinctive call to effectively ‘abandon’ any potential crime must be immensely difficult, as oversights could have grave consequences.

The assault may have appeared online but that doesn’t mean the trauma appeared any less real as it tore through these two-dimensional pages. Location and community also play a crucial role, as a run-down estate already heaving with illicit activity provides the perfect breeding ground for further apprehension to thrive.

I’m a huge fan of Freddie’s clumsy attempts to follow basic procedure as well as her nose, despite what her colleagues are advising. Cocky verbal hostility and commitment issues aside, she’s a decent sort and her reactions to grim situations feel authentically impulsive, not forced for effect. Without a doubt, it’s her distinctive energy that steals the show.

Trust Me is a story of hope that someone, somewhere, will believe yours.

Rating: 4/5

(I received a copy of this title *together Freddie’s new business card and a lovely postcard from the author* with my thanks, and it was my pleasure to read and provide this unbiased review.)

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

‘A fast-paced, unpredictable ride.’ KATERINA DIAMOND, author of The Teacher


What do you do if you witness a crime…but no-one believes you?

When Kate sees a horrific attack streamed live on her laptop, she calls the police in a state of shock. But when they arrive, the video has disappeared – and she can’t prove anything. Desperate to be believed, Kate tries to find out who the girl in the video could be – and who attacked her.

Freddie and Nas are working on a missing persons case, but the trail has gone cold. When Kate contacts them, they are the only ones to listen and they start to wonder – are the two cases connected?

Dark, gripping, and flawlessly paced, Trust Me is the brilliant third novel in the hugely popular social media murderer series.

‘Smart and sassy’ SARAH PINBOROUGH, author of Behind Her Eyes

‘Clever and unnerving’ C.L. Taylor, author of The Escape


(Courtesy of Amazon UK – Photo courtesy of publisher)

Angela is an author, playwright, columnist and professional speaker.

Her debut crime thriller Follow Me (Avon, HarperCollins) was named Amazon’s Rising Star Debut of the Month January 2016, long listed for the Crime Writer’s Association Dagger in the Library 2016, and short listed for the Good Reader Page Turner Award 2016. Follow Me has now been optioned by a TV production company.

The second instalment in the Social Media Murder Series Watch Me (Avon, HarperCollins) is out January 2017. And the third Trust Me (Avon, HarperCollins) is out June 2017.

Angela’s humorous memoir Confessions of a Fashionista (Ebury, Penguin Random House) is an Amazon Fashion Chart bestseller.

Her play, The Legacy, enjoyed its first run at The Hope Theatre in June 2015.

An experienced and entertaining speaker, Angela has given talks, hosted events, and masterclasses for many, including Noirwich Crime Writing Festival,  Camp Bestival, Panic! (in partnership with Create, the Barbican, Goldsmiths University and The Guardian), Meet a Mentor (in partnership with the Royal Society of Arts), Northwich Lit Fest, St Albans Lit Fest, BeaconLit, and the London College of Fashion. She also hosted the current affairs radio show Outspoken on Radio Verulam in 2015, and has appeared regularly as a panel guest on BBC 3 Counties, BBC Radio 4, and the BBC World Service, among others.

In 2015 Angela was awarded the Young Stationers’ Prize for achievement and promise in writing and publishing. She also works for The Literary Consultancy critiquing manuscripts and mentoring. Angela, a sufferer of the debilitating chronic condition Ehlers Danlos III, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, volunteers with Womentoring, Meet a Mentor and at HM Prisons. She is passionate about bringing marginalised voices into the industry. You can find out more about her at





BOOK TOUR: REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Fluence, by Stephen Oram

Publisher:  Silverwood | Publication Date:  26th June 2015 | Edition: Kindle | Genre: Dystopian

Fluence by Stephen Oram Small image

How far would you go to gain ‘Fluence’?

I liked this – A LOT. It offers an edgy, well-plotted and unnerving snapshot of a fictional society.

Given today’s craving for the next profile ‘like’ and daily updates we all seem to be compelled to comply with, this plot doesn’t seem too implausible. Imagine a world where you can lose or gain points at the drop of a hat if an online status update is not deemed popular enough. A real time popularity contest that can affect your quality of life is a frightening concept.

Whatever points you have gained through posting your updates are accrued as ‘Fluence’ until the next ‘pay day’. The grand total will be converted into a colour-coded status for the forthcoming year. This can determine where you shop, your choice of partner, and the area in which you live – class segregation is common place…

Some of the impoverished and vulnerable are stressed out by the constant need provide interesting status updates in exchange for Fluence on their ruyi, a portable mobile phone-like stick everyone carries round. Sounding oddly familiar yet?

There’s so much at stake for the characters here, and their posts have a danger of becoming outrageous to draw in the crowd. Often the need for more likeability points goes hand-in-hand with an ugly greed. This book singles out the most demeaning acts that people are willing to carry out to ‘achieve’ their goals, all driven by a desperate need to become a better ‘class’ of person, which is quite ironic. These acts are described in graphic detail, but this only reinforces what people are willing to sacrifice.

The two main characters, Amber and Martin, are part of a disability assessment team. They determine if people are fit to work, or if they can be funded by their government. Austerity cuts state that assessors should not declare people as unfit if they can help it. Here enters the dilemma of gaining more Fluence points for great job performance, or wrestling with their conscience and helping those less fortunate.  But life’s not that cut and dry, as power-hungry people with their own agendas are watching…

Throughout this book you will see people gambling with their morals to gain a few points here and there. It’s fascinating to see the end result and how they cope with the pressure being piled upon them. With everyone making a scramble to improve their situation it begs the question, just how far would YOU go?

All credit to the author for his shrewd people observation skills and for holding my attention from beginning to end.

Rating: 4.5/5

(My thanks to the author and Brook Cottage Books for offering me a place on the tour, and for giving me the opportunity to read this fascinating book. )

Fluence Tour Banner

Official book blurb:

Amber is young and ambitious. Martin is burnt out by years of struggling. She cheats to get what she wants while he barely clings on to what he has. It’s the week before the annual Pay Day when strata positions are decided by the controlling corporations. The social media feed is frenetic with people trying to boost their influence rating while those above the strata and those who’ve opted out pursue their own manipulative goals.

Fluence is a story of aspiration and desperation and of power seen and unseen. It’s a story of control and consequence. It’s the story of the extremes to which Amber and Martin are prepared to go in these last ten thousand minutes before Pay Day.

 Author Bio / Buy Links

Stephen Oram 1MLike each and every one of us, my perspective of the world has been affected by many people and experiences: as a teenager I was heavily influenced by the ethos of punk; in my early twenties I embraced the squatter scene and then joined a religious cult, briefly; I did some computer stuff in what became London’s silicon roundabout; and I’m now a civil servant with a gentle attraction to anarchism. I really enjoy taking a sideways look at our world and thinking, “what if,” and then writing about it through speculative fiction.




Buy the book:  Amazon UK


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