Follow Me

follow mePublished: 2015
Author: Angela Clarke

Too many plot holes for my taste


I managed to shut my computer down the other night without saving the document I had written. It was a book review and the loss of it was doubly irritating, first because it was a couple of hours work down the drain but more importantly because it meant I have to spend more time thinking about a book I really didn’t enjoy. Follow Me, the debut novel by Angela Clarke, is currently receiving rave reviews. Everyone on social media seems to love it and Avon Books is running a fabulous marketing campaign which has the book all over Facebook and Twitter. And I feel left out of the loop, sitting on my own in a corner because I just didn’t enjoy it very much at all.

Freddie Venton is a struggling journalist, desperate to break through into the national papers but stuck writing anonymous article for free. She has a dead-end job in a coffee shop and is sleeping on a sofa in a squalid shared flat. A chance encounter with childhood friend, Nasreen Cudmore, embroils Freddie in the hunt for a serial killer who is playing out a horrific game of cat and mouse on social media. Soon dubbed the Hashtag Murderer, the search for the killer threatens Nas’s career and Freddie’s life.

I wanted to like Follow Me, I really did. I love social media and the idea of the public being both terrorised and caught up in the games of a sadistic killer was thoroughly appealing. I’ve read lots of great reviews and I was ready to enjoy this book but instead I just found it very disappointing and frustrating.

Normally I’m good at suspending disbelief, particularly when it comes to police procedurals. I’m not an expert on how the police work and I accept that for dramatic purposes there will have to be tweaks to real-life in order for a story to work but there were just too many times in Follow Me that I found myself unable to accept what was happening. It started with a couple of small incidences such as being asked to believe that the administrator of a Twitter account with over 2 million followers would still have notifications turned on but then developed into the major plot hole of Freddie being allowed to join the police investigation as a social media advisor and in that role investigating crime scenes and going on potentially dangerous operations. I didn’t buy it at all – there is no way that a journalist who sneaked into a crime scene, potentially contaminating evidence, would be allowed to join the investigation because she knew how to use social media.

Once I refused to accept the main premise of the story there was no turning back and I just became more and more frustrated at every minor issue. I almost gave up when the singer of Baker Street was named as George Rafferty rather than Gerry (petty I know, particularly as I was reading a proof copy and that may be corrected in time for publication on 3rd December).

If the characters had been likeable then perhaps I could have moved past the plot holes but they weren’t. Freddie was arrogant, obnoxious, self-obsessed and downright annoying. Nas was a suck-up who put her own career above everything, including friendship. These were not characters I cared about or wanted to get to know better.

I was so disappointed that I didn’t enjoy Follow Me as the concept was so good but I’m very well aware that I’m in a very small minority. It has received some great write-ups and you can find links to some more positive reviews below. This is the first in a planned trilogy but I’m afraid I won’t be rejoining the story.

Little Northern Soul
Random Things Through My Letterbox
Northern Crime

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  1. I enjoyed it but agree about suspending belief and the characters were not nice at all. It is lovely to read reviews with a different view point so don’t feel bad :)


    • It does remind me that it is all a matter of opinion. No-one’s right and no-one’s wrong when talking about how they feel.

  2. I must admit I am torn because I agree with many of your points [and share the frustration about the George/Gerry issue – I googled to see if anyone else had commented and thus I found your piece] but I did get sucked in and found myself reading it late at night to try to finish.
    The characters were difficult to like, there were unnecessary and sleazy sections that added nothing, and the whole concept of a journalist being brought into an active murder investigation certainly needed suspension of belief but having said that it did have twists, turns and red herrings that caught my attention.
    Thanks for the honest review :)

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