One warm spring evening, five teenagers meet in a local park. Only four will come out alive.
Six months after the stabbing of sixteen-year-old Deanna Barker, someone is coming after the teenagers of Stockleigh, as a spate of vicious assaults rocks this small community. Revenge for Deanna? Or something more?
Detective Eden Berrisford is locked into a race against time to catch the twisted individual behind the attacks – but when her own niece, Jess Mountford, goes missing, the case gets personal.
With the kidnapper threatening Jess’s life, can Eden bring back her niece to safety? Or will the people of Stockleigh be forced to mourn another daughter…?
I know when I pick up a Mel Sharratt book I know I’m in for a rivetting read and The Girls Next Door was no exception, personally I would say this is her best book to date. From the first chapter the author works her magic and I found myself immersed in this gritty tale. The Girls Next Door begins in the most disturbing way when a sixteen year old girl is murdered, the first chapter alone makes for a difficult read, but unfortunately the events surrounding the stabbing are very credible, such stories are in the tabloids most days and that’s what made this book all the more chilling. As the trial approaches bad things start happening to the teenagers of stockleigh, and when it appears teenager Jess has been kidnapped it’s up to Detective Eden Berrisford, (who just happens to be Jess’s aunt) to solve the case and bring Jess home.
Mel Sharratt has created an array of very authentic characters Eden wasn’t your stereotypical kick ass Detective, she’s a single mother trying to juggle a career, a stroppy teenager and have some sort of life. She’s very family oriented and as Jess goes missing this becomes very apparent, I found her to be a very likeable and credible character. Jess and her friend were characters I couldn’t really take to due to some of the things they got up to, but like lots of teenagers they don’t think of the consequences of their actions and unfortunately events spiral out of control. It was also intriguing to read about the families and the different ways the crimes affected them, and how they coped with the fall out, which for me made the plot even more convincing. The author has a style of writing that makes her books come alive, they are gritty and very realistic and that’s something which draws me to Mel Sherratt’s books every time.
The Girls Next Door made for a quick read as it was so compelling, it’s well paced and although there weren’t any real twists and turns in the plot, this in no way spoilt my enjoyment of this book. This is a story of revenge, teenage troubles, and the consequences of making bad choices and that’s what made for a very disturbing and gritty read. The author pulls no punches and although some of the subjects she touches on are difficult ones it’s done with finesse. This is definitely a book for fans of crime and police procedural, thrillers….. If you’ve never read Mel Sherratt before, where have you been?
5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of 5
Publisher: Bookouture (27 Oct. 2016)