The first in the Detective Sergeant Allie Shenton series, Taunting the Dead by Mel Sherratt hits the ground with a bang. Literally, the murder victim has her head bashed in. Nine out of ten murders are committed by someone who knows the victim, unfortunately for DS Shenton, the husband of the victim is a local businessman/crook. Unfortunately, too, that Allie and Terry Ryder seem to have some sexual chemistry going on. And the third unfortunate thing is that Terry has an alibi.
Steph Ryder is killed on a girls night out, then the story retreats to show her life in the days before she is killed. An abrasive alcoholic, she has few friends and has arguments with her husband and daughter Kirstie. She is also having an affair with one of her husband’s employees. Not a clever thing to do. The Ryders flash the cash around and accumulate enemies. At one point it seems as if practically everyone has a motive for killing her.
This is a full-on read without pause so if you want a book to keep you reading through a boring journey, then this is the one for you. The action is brutal and unremitting and the pages turn quickly. The setting, Stoke-on-Trent, is somewhere I don’t know but Sherratt makes it a real, dark, creepy sort of place. This is crime in the raw, so if you’re not keen on sex and swearing it might be best to give this a miss.
Allie Shenton is a typical fictional detective, likeable with flaws, who at times seems young and naïve for her job. She makes decisions which propel the story along nicely, though I hope real detectives would not make similar choices.
Read about Mel Sherratt’s other books here.
If you like ‘Taunting the Dead’, try these other novels about female detectives:-
‘Business as Usual’ by EL Lindley
‘Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley’ by MC Beaton
‘Eeny Meeny’ by MJ Arlidge
‘Taunting the Dead’ by Mel Sherratt, #1 Allie Shenton [UK: Thomas & Mercer] Buy at Amazon
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Hits the ground with a bang: TAUNTING THE DEAD by @writermels #bookreview via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2ch