Trust Me I'm Dead

Written by Sherryl Clark

Review written by Adrian Magson

Adrian Magson is the author of 27 crime and spy thrillers. 'Death at the Old Asylum', the 8th title in the Inspector Lucas Rocco series set in 1960s France, currently in ebook, comes out in paperback on the 14th March via Canelo Books. More information:

Trust Me I'm Dead
Verve Books
RRP: £9.99
Released: December 5 2019

Judi Westerholme, 43, lives alone in the small town of Candlebark, Australia, gardening to pass the time while trying to ignore the pains of a lousy upbringing, a failed marriage and a fall down some stairs. Then she hears that her brother, Andy, the childhood buffer between her and her bullying, drunken father, and a long-time drug addict, is dead.

Duty and regret put her on a journey to Melbourne, where she finds that Andy, thought by the police to have been ‘clean’ for years, has been shot dead in what was probably a drug deal gone wrong.

Judi is no investigator. She hasn’t seen Andy for years, or his wife, Leigh – another addict – but guilt, regret, memories and a feeling of lost loyalties, can drive people to do things outside their normal sphere of experience.

Her only contact in the investigation is DS Ben Heath, a reserved but determined cop who confirms what they know and suspect; that Andy was killed in a bad deal. While willing to believe him, something tells Judi that she can’t let Andy go to his grave without being sure, not after his loyal protection of her as a child. But there’s also her own guilt, as the last time she’d seen him, he’d asked for a loan, which she had turned down because she thought it was for drugs.

Her first surprise is that Andy had been living in her Nana’s house, which she’d thought was long deserted. Her second is that there is no sign of Leigh, his wife.

The third, which blindsides her, is that there is a small daughter, Mia, who has been abandoned to the care of a friend. And the friend wants rid of her.

Saddled, as she sees it, with a child she doesn’t even know, Judi sets about trying to find Leigh – although she doesn’t expect much there, not of a mother who’d abandon her own daughter – and to find anyone who knows what happened to Andy.

But that brings nothing but trouble and intense danger. Because the people Andy knew do not react well to questions, and as DS Heath warns her, there’s a gangland war going on and these people have been known to kill without even thinking. However, Judi is on a mission and doesn’t listen. Besides, she finds what she feels is a list of clues left to her by Andy, which she feels will lead her to a conclusion.

Then she’s kidnapped and Mia’s life is threatened.

This is NOT a story of a woman from the backwoods who suddenly picks up a sawn-off and goes all nuclear on the bad guys; it’s the story of someone who won’t let go, no matter what, even at threat of personal danger.

I have to say I was engrossed from the very start, keen to see where this lead. The prose is clean and straight-forward, the characters intensely well-drawn, from the almost surly (but not completely unappealing) cop, to the really bad guys. The tension is kept up even when nothing much seems to be happening, and I desperately wanted to see how Judi was going to resolve this.

Sherryl was shortlisted in the 2018 CWA Debut Dagger, so I shouldn’t have expected anything less.

Sherryl Clark is a worthy addition to the crime writing fraternity, and ‘Trust Me, I’m Dead’ is a book you should definitely add to your reading list.


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