Only The Brave

OnlyTheBrave_0Published: 2015
Author: Mel Sherratt

A good police procedural, but read the first two installments first


Mel Sherratt is one of those writers that I’ve heard a lot about but never actually got round to reading. Her name is always all over Twitter and Facebook and she has a number of firm fans among the book blogging community. I always felt that I should probably get round to reading her work but somehow never managed it. Even having a Netgalley review copy of Sherrat’s Only the Brave hadn’t encouraged me to move it up the To Be Read pile. A desire to read a good crime story for the first time in a few weeks led me to finally choose this and give it a go.

Only the Brave is the third book in Sherrat’s DS Allie Shenton series and is set in the author’s home town of Stoke-on-Trent. Local thug Jordan Johnson is murdered and Allie and her team have to cut through the lies and double-crosses of the local criminal community to try to solve the crime. Allie is also struggling with her sister’s deteriorating medical condition and is being stalked by the man who critically injured her stalker 17 years previously. The story comes to a truly tense conclusion which makes the reader hold their breath.

As mentioned above, this is the third of the Allie Shenton series and from what I’ve read it’s the final part of the story. It is possible, as I did, to read this as a stand-alone book. The particular central crime of Jordan Johnson’s murder is completely self contained, however there are lots of references to previous books and it acts as a massive spoiler to the first Allie Shenton story Taunting the Dead. I would seriously recommend reading the first two books first.

Taking that aside though, this is a very good and very well written book. Allie is an attractive heroine, struggling with issues in her past (which literary detective isn’t?) but not to the point of absurdity. She may be independent minded but there are people in her life that she is willing to talk to and accept help from, particularly her lovely husband Mark. The story is also good and the setting believable – the idea of local lowlifes being the villains rather than serial killing psychopaths always appeals to me, it seems a much more real case for local forces to be investigating. For me there were probably just slightly too many characters with some suspected involvement in the murder introduced and by the time the entire cast was assembled it felt a little too muddy, but not enough to stop me enjoying the book.

I’m not sure now if I’ll go back and read the full series but I will keep an eye out for Mel Sherratt’s next crime thriller, it’s bound to be a good read.

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