Wednesday, 21 June 2017
#TrustMe #AngelaClarke #Review
What do you do if you witness a murder…but no-one believes you?
When Kate sees a horrific murder 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 her killer is.
Freddie and Nas are working on a missing persons case, but tensions in the police force are running high and time is ticking. 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.
Trust Me is the the third novel in Clarke's Social Media Murderer series and it is brilliant. It is gripping, immensely well paced and so well constructed it is compelling, exciting and unputdownable. Freddie and Nas are developing into very likeable, complex and engaging characters who have their flaws but also have their strengths, courage and bravery. I really enjoyed being back with them and watching the dynamics between them develop as well as learning more about them as people.
To me, this felt like Clarke's strongest novel in the series - and that's saying something as I thoroughly enjoyed Watch Me and Follow Me! But I felt that in this novel, we have got to know the characters so much better that we enjoy seeing them tested a bit more. I enjoyed watching the relationship between them changing as they learn more about each other and find themselves in more conflicting and challenging situations. I found myself rethinking my attitudes towards Nas and Freddie at various different stages of the book and enjoyed discovering a deeper layer to their characters.
Nas and Freddie are very different in their thought processes, decision making and behaviour. They tackle their problems and dilemmas in very different ways yet they are both heroes. They are both dedicated to solving the crime. Freddie is still more of a risk taker and I think her appeal is that she's more maverick in contrast to Nas - who is also restricted and confined by her conventional role within the police force. However in this instalment I felt that Nas also showed bravery and courage and that the climax of the novel and the relationship between the women was absolutely gripping.
In terms of the murder and plot, I felt that the structure, suspense and tension was so tightly managed and so well executed in Trust Me that this is nothing but an exceptionally strong, confident and competent example of the crime thriller novel. Clarke once more picks a contemporary issue related to Social Media - this time Periscope and the use of live streaming on the Internet. Once again, she raises questions and explores our fears about the abuse of social media but not in a way that feels far fetched or sensationalised. Once again, she explores issues, themes, motives and the effects of using social media in a way that is shocking, gripping, unsettling and also hugely captivating.
But this novel is not just about social media. Clarke also seeks to challenge things that might feel taboo or that are not discussed openly enough with our children and our community. This story raises questions about age restrictions and how social media is not just a platform for promotion, sharing information, selling things and spreading the word but also how more and more it is a way of people feeling validated or encouraged. "Likes" and "followers" allow people to continue with things, ideas, behaviours or actions that they would not normally or logically do and I found this really fascinating.
"My likes were going mental. They were loving her!.........They were sending all these comments....We were racing up the charts...."
There are several different voices in this novel and I found the alternation between the different narratives very effective. I was intrigued by the use of "A" and "B" and thought the sections that revealed the internal struggle of "A" were really well crafted. Clarke's inclusion of the perpetrator's viewpoint is bold, brave and totally works. It's always great to challenge the reader and their emotional reactions to characters. The world is not black and white, people's feelings are not black and white and situations are never as straight forward as they might appear.
I also found I reacted very strongly towards Kate. Her character is very well crafted. I loved that I was sometimes unsure whether to trust her, or whether she was reliable, but that I was rooting for her and feeling every moment of her anguish and fight throughout the whole book. Her emotional story arc is so palpably recreated with a sensitivity and understanding that indicates not only the depth of Clarke's talent as a writer, but also as an observer of people.
Much to my excitement, Clarke has included Reading Group Questions at the end of her book as well as a Q&A. One of the questions asks her about the darkness of Trust Me. I want to end by quoting her answer as I think it sums up exactly what she has achieved in this novel.
"When you write about crime, you explore the darker sides of human nature and interaction, in a way that is safe for the reader. But you have a responsibility to do that in a careful and considered way, while still giving a great story."
Trust Me publishes on 15th June by Avon. Trust me, you want to buy it!
Angela Clarke is an author, playwright, columnist, screenwriter and broadcaster. Her debut crime thriller Follow Me was named Amazon’s Rising Star Debut of the Month January 2016, longlisted for the Crime Writer’s Association Dagger in the Library 2016, and shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Page Turner Award 2016. Watch Me is the second instalment in the Social Media Murder Series. Angela’s memoir Confessions of a Fashionista is an Amazon Fashion Chart bestseller. Her play, The Legacy, enjoyed its first run and rave reviews at The Hope Theatre in June 2015. She hosted the current affairs show Outspoken on Radio Verulam for six months in 2014, and has appeared on the BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4, BBC Three Counties and more. Her journalist contributions include: The Guardian, Independent Magazine, The Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan, and Writing magazine. In 2015 Angela was awarded the Young Stationers' Prize for achievement and promise in writing and publishing. She volunteers with Womentoring, and the RSA Meet a Mentor scheme, and others, to help encourage and support marginalised artists into the industry. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Angela lives with her husband and far too many books.
For more recommendations and reviews follow me on Twitter @KatherineSunde3 or via my website bibliomaniacuk.co.uk
Angela will be coming along to chat with me and 3 other fabulous authors in Harpenden in September - do come along and join us!