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71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2011
This book was riveting, gripping right from the first page, and I really couldn't get enough of it. I could feel my heart thumping at times, anticipating what was going to happen next. You were left guessing until the very last chapter, who actually killed Steph Ryder and whether they were going to get away with it.

The last paragraph, was totally unexpected and I wanted to immediately pick up the next book in the series. The only problem is that it hasn't been finished yet but I can honestly say that I'll be counting down to the day when it's published. Come on Mel, please hurry up!

There was lots of blood and gore in the book, but not so much that it made a vulgar read, it was kind of necessary to the plot. The characters were created well and believable although I'm very glad that I don't come into contact with any of them. And to think that I thought Stoke On Trent was a quiet little town in the Potteries where Robbie Williams came from!
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74 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 2011
Wow! This novel epitomizes the word thriller. Murder,Secrets, Sex & Lies. A gritty, page-turning plot that will twist and turn you in every direction to uncover 'whodunnit'. A fabulously drawn cast of characters, all of whom I could vividly imagine parading across my TV screen, they were so well portrayed, and several of whom I definitely wouldn't want to encounter on a dark night. Gripping from the outset. A brilliant debut novel from an author I shall certainly be keeping an eye out for in future. Loved it!
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 8 May 2013
The plot may be just about OK, but it all gets lost in a writing style that is so "gritty" it makes The Sweeney sound like Downton Abbey. I didn't know that Stoke-on-Trent was so full of alcoholics and sex addicts who throw up (and beat each other up) at least twice a day. Terry Ryder's sexual magnetism made me laugh out loud as every woman in the book fawns over him like cats in heat. The motive for the killing of the central character is unclear and I generally found the book really hard going and difficult to finish.

It's all "gissa bloody cuppa then" and "e's a right charmer inny" and a plot full of thugs, alkies, drug dealers and coppers who all talk like they've stepped straight of the set of "The Sweeney", but a couple of hundred miles North. The plot twist at the end was actually quite good but I was tired of the "cor blimey guv'nor, mine's a pint" by then.

I read lots of Kindle thrillers and for £0.70 etc you don't expect Jane Austen, but this is the only thriller I've found really hard to finish. Sorry, I know I'm in a massive minority but if I were a character in this book I'd be too drunk to read it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
When Allie Shenton is tasked with investigating the murder of Steph Ryder she follows the maxim that 90% of murders are committed to someone close to the victim which leads her to Terry Ryder someone already on the force’s radar for a scam that has afforded him a mansion for him, his wife and his stroppy teenage daughter Kirstie. Allie soon runs into problems though finding Terry unbearably charming and attractive despite all that she knows, or at the very least, suspects him of. His wife, the now departed with a bashed in head, was less attractive and seemed to have few real friends left due in part to her reliance on alcohol to get her through the day.

The structure of the story is good, giving us an insight into Steph’s days in the run up to the murder, we know what she was up to and with whom and we also are privy to who else knows these details all of which is going to be important to knowing who did the dastardly deed but at the time with the numerous criminals being added to the mix felt a little confusing and long-winded at the time, but then we get to Steph’s death. This isn’t a spoiler we know it is going to happen from the start and from here on in the book became a race against time to find the right killer and hope for the safety of numerous other characters.

Allie Shenton is a likeable character, in a relationship with a banker which is slightly shaky at times and more than a tad immature but she comes across as realistic. As all good cops in this genre are, she goes off-piste when she feels necessary and takes extraordinary risks to catch the culprit. As a gritty crime the language is fruity and many of the characters seem to be shady in the extreme. With loan-sharks, dodgy tenant scams, drugs and blackmail, I have to say Stoke-On-Trent sounded an increasingly dangerous place to reside!

An ideal read to lose yourself in and enjoy the rollercoaster ride which has enough loops to keep you on the edge of your seat, as Mel Sherratt misdirects with aplomb. The only minor criticism I have is that there were a couple of times there were sentences that I simply couldn’t make sense of in the first section.

I’m now looking forward to the release of Follow The Leader to find out what Allie does next!
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45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2011
From its great cover to the tale within, this is a greatly packaged debut which delivers on all fronts.
With characters you'll love and love to hate too, this great debut has a feel of Martina Cole taking a trip to Stoke and taking the bad stuff with her.
The central character of DS Allie Shenton is a great creation and one I'd really like to read more of in future books. The investigation of the murder of Steph Ryder brings Allie closer to a family she already knows and closer still to the dark secrets that cluster to fog her search for the killer - of which there are several very likely suspects, it seems.
Skillfully juggling the cast of characters, we are led through the darkening streets of Stoke and the devious members of its society as each tries to cover their tracks for events that led up to the killing.
Like many great crime novels, the character is important, but so is the location and with 'Taunting the Dead' Mel Sherratt has placed Stoke firmly on the map and, with a strong mix of human drama, sex and crime, has hammered it home there.

What are you waiting for, hit that BUY button and check out the first investigation by Allie Shenton now.

Keith B Walters
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 February 2015
Stoke-on-Trent. One of the wealthiest women in town, Steph Ryder is bludgeoned to death outside a pub.

The first part of the book takes us back in time to relive Steph's last week among the living. Steph is a self-centred alcoholic, with a nasty character living an extravagant life and thinking that the world spins around her. She rampantly betrays her husband with one of his most trusted men, Phil Kennedy. Phil's son Lee, a good-for-nothing, is in a relationship with Steph's spoilt daughter Kirstie. A relationship not approved by the Ryders.

Her husband Terry is a villain who runs a number of legitimate businesses with other dodgy affairs on the side. He is a manipulative crook who can use both his charm and connections to get what he wants. The police has been on his trail for a long time but somehow he has always managed to stay one step ahead.

It is immediately evident that Steph is hated by a lot of people. This means that many people want her dead, but who does actually kill her? Early on we know who is the mind behind the murder; what we don't know is who actually delivered the final blow and we’ll have to wait till the end to find this out.

The second part of the book starts with the discovery of Steph's body and the ensuing investigation. DS Allie Shenton, the main character in this series, is called to the scene. She is a successful detective with a number of solved cases under her belt. She is however consumed by a deep sense of guilt. Cases involving brutal attacks force her to relive a painful and terrifying past experience which she can never forget.

Allie starts digging by interrogating Terry. Under his hypnotising stare and good looks, she finds herself struggling not to let him get underneath her skin; not to fall for his charm.

Allie is faced with a tangled web of deceit, lies and secrets and when more blood is spilt, she realises that in order to solve the case she'll have to risk everything she holds dear.

For a debut novel, this was very good, maybe a little dragging at times and with too many things going on at the same time. Many of the characters were hateful and the rough sex scenes may be off putting for some readers. I wasn't particularly blown away by how the murder was resolved, but the ending certainly indicates a development on Allies' tragic history. Will read the rest of the series!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2015
4 stars

After a slow start, I ended up really liking Taunting the Dead. The book is divided into 2 parts, the first part making up the first third of the novel. The first section introduced a large number of characters. I was using the Search button a lot to keep everyone straight. The main character in this section was Steph Ryder, and there was very little to like about her. In fact, there wasn’t much to like about any of the featured characters in the first third of the story. I also found a problem with having to reread sections to determine whom pronouns were referring to. This really interrupted the flow for me. Unlikeable characters and slow flow almost did me in.

Fortunately, the second two-thirds of the book was much better! The protagonist, Detective Sergeant Allie Shenton, finally took center stage. I found Allie to be highly likeable, though still a bit green as a policewoman (not a criticism). The pronoun problem amazingly seemed to disappear, and the flow of the story was highly satisfactory. The pace quickened considerably as things started to happen in rapid succession. It got to the point where it was really hard to put the book down. The reader gets a good idea of what went down with several murders, but was not privy to everything that happened. Though we knew more than Allie, it was still very suspenseful following her efforts to bring down the baddies. There was also that little detail of Allie fighting like mad not to succumb to the charms of Terry Ryder, a most powerful player and murder suspect. I felt like screaming into the book for her to get a grip!

I thought Ms. Sherratt did a great job in developing Allie’s character. I enjoyed her interactions with her husband Mark and her disabled sister Karen, though I wish there had been more development of Allie’s relationships with her work colleagues. Again, all the goings on in the last 67% of the book were highly entertaining and accompanied by a great deal of suspense. I will definitely be reading the 2nd Allie Stenton book within the next month or so, and will likely try Ms. Sherratt’s other novels as well. I recommend Taunting the Dead for all fans of thrillers, mystery, and suspense. I think Mel Sherratt is an author to be watched.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2012
I'm a Stoke-on-Trent lad born and bred.

I downloaded this book and I tell you this, it's the best 99p I've spent in a very long time.

Until the invention of Kindle the books we read were decided by a select few at the various publishing houses. Kindle has given a whole new breed of authors a chance of publication that was not open for them in the past.

Mel has managed to capture the heartbeat of our city. Whilst its commentary describes the deprivation and lack of regeneration, it also captures our humour and good nature.

The novel isn't for the faint hearted, it packs a real punch. Sex, violence and drugs are all featured. Its to try and suss out certain places that have been renamed for the book.

Mel Sherratt packs a punch as good as some of the heavyweights in crime fiction. I've read the Rankin's, Robinson, Booth, Bateman, Peter James and to me this book is as good if not better.

If you've got a Kindle, the price of 99p, a book set in Stoke, written by a city girl - It's a no-brainer, whats not to like?

Go download it now!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 March 2015
I read this book immediately after reading Gone Girl, which I was thoroughly disappointed with, with the expectation that it HAD to be better than Gone Girl (I even tweeted this to Mel Sherratt!). I was definately not disappointed this time. With believable although not neccessarily likeable characters, I was taken into a world of organised crime, loan sharks and down right thuggery. The story centres around the murder of Steph Ryder, wife of local bad boy Terry Ryder and there was plenty of suspects who could've done the deed. Although a particular character thinks he did it and admits he did it well before the end, is it really that cut and dried? I'm not going to spoil it - you really need to read it to find out. Although it has to be said, I didn't really feel any empathy or sympathy for Steph Ryder or her rogue husband there were other characters like their daughter Kirstie who didn't deserve what happened to them. Things weren't all rosie for the lead investigating officer, DS Allie Shenton, either. Does she get to close to a suspect? Does her marraige survive the strain? Again, you'll have to read it to find out.

On the whole, a really enjoyable read - I've previously read and enjoyed Watching Over You by the same author and will most definitely be reading more by Mel.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2012
This book has compelling characters set within a gripping story. The plot has more twists than a corkscrew, and it has a good satisfying ending. It's definitely gritty, with some really horrible villains, so if you're a delicate flower who quails at the thought of such things then it's probably not for you. But if you like a story that pulls you along and provides regular surprises, then I'd recommend this book.
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