Follow The Leader by Mel Sherratt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I would like to thank NetGalley, the publication house and the author for making this copy available to me for a free unbiased review.
My first Mel Sherratt book courtesy NetGalley. She came highly recommended from my goodread group "A Good Thriller" so I was excited and anxious to read the book. It was worth the praise, every bit of it.
Follow the Leader is thought provoking, the suspense, the intrigue is good, but what resonated the most with me as a reader were the emotions. Emotions of the killer even as he killed and you wanted him stopped it made you think "Isn't he justified?". Emotions of a sister who shares the guilt and blame for the rape and brutal assault of her sister. Who wants her sister by her side even if it is a half existance. She would rather take that than not have her sister with her at all.
Most importantly Follow the Leader through the eyes of the killer shows us that actions have consequences. The antagonist is bullied as a child, mercilessly even by his peers and his home conditions are even more deplorable. These things by itself may not mean much, but taken together they paint a very dark picture about the conditions in which the antogonist grows up. These events, incidents leave a mark on him and make him into the killer that he becomes when he wants revenge from his old nemesis.
By giving a look into the pysche of the killer and his reasons for his killing spree, Sherratt generates empathy for the antagonist. The rationale behind the killings is apparent, even though the crimes are heinous can anybody blame the antagonist for going on it especially when the victims made his life hell on earth everyday. The actions may be childish but the outcome was a huge scar on an already scarred soul.
A dark read, but all too chillingly real. This could be a story in progress currently at any part of the world today. This could be the future of some person tomorrow and that precisely is what makes the book so soul tearingly haunting. If the antagonist carries a chip on his shoulder from his woebegone childhood, then DS Allie Shelton is hounded by nightmares of her guilt in what she believes is her part in the rape and assault of her sister almost 17 years ago. When the serial killing takes a turn with a rape and assault of a teen, Shelton rightly believes that it is a message to her from her sisters assailant.
The book is a work of art and I am now a worshipper at the altar of Mel Sherratt. A must read.