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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Don't Look Behind You by Mel Sherratt

About Don't Look Behind You

The small city of Stockleigh is in shock as three women are brutally attacked within days of each other. Are they random acts of violence or is there a link between the victims? For Detective Eden Berrisford, it’s her most chilling case yet.

The investigation leads Eden to cross paths with Carla, a woman trying to rebuild her life after her marriage to a cruel and abusive man ended in unimaginable tragedy. Her husband Ryan was imprisoned for his crimes but, now he’s out and coming for her.

As Eden starts to close in on the attacker, she also puts herself in grave danger. Can she stop him before he strikes again? And can Carla, terrified for her life, save herself - before the past wreaks a terrible revenge?

An absolutely gripping and chilling police procedural which will hook fans of Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott.

My review of Don't Look Behind You

Don't Look Behind You is the second book in the Detective Eden Berrisford series. I had read, and loved, the first book, The Girls Next Door, so was very much looking forward to reading this book. Well, I wasn't disappointed and thought that it was even more gripping than the first, with an even darker element to its core.
This book focusses upon the subject of domestic violence, so is not an easy, nor lighthearted read. It tackles the gritty reality of abuse and of how women feel trapped and of how they find it difficult to firstly escape, and to then build a new life for themselves. Ms Sherratt writes with both empathy and knowledge upon this subject, and the women are treated with dignity and respect.
So, the book focusses upon the sexual attacks of three women, in the same local area. The attacks become increasingly brutal in nature and Eden is certain that she is looking for the same attacker. The descriptions of the attacks are not graphic in nature, but the author writes in such a way that we understand what has happened. Greater importance is placed upon the time following the attack and how the attack impacts upon the woman. These passages were carefully and sensitively written.
As well as the burial attacks on lone women that are taking place, we are also introduced to several women who either live and/or work in the women's refuge. Although the book deals with domestic abuse, and the victimisation of women, the women in this book are not portrayed as victims, but rather survivors, who are tough and determined to carry on with their lives. We meet Carla, who is a counsellor at the refuge, and who has managed to build a new life for herself after her ex husband was imprisoned for violence. But has she managed to truly escape him? Will she be forever looking over her shoulder? This is the real question that we ask while reading her harrowing accounts of her past life.
Don't Look Behind You  is a story that is predominantly about the abuse and victimisation of women. But, the author helps to shed life on the taboo of domestic violence and to start a conversation. As I have already mentioned, these women are portrayed as strong and resourceful women, not victims, never victims, as they will not allow their abuser to dictate how they should live their lives, they are stronger than their abuser.
This novel is obviously a dark and difficult read. Eden herself has her own lie challenges with regards to her estranged husband, and these aspects of her life are interspersed within the story. However, although it is dark, it is an important book. To represent characters who come to life on the page, and who tell their own unique stories of their abuse, is a huge achievement. I had to know what would happen to them and who the brutal attacker was, and I was kept in the dark unit the very end.
Don't Look Behind You is an emotive roller coaster of a read, and one which I highly recommend.
Don't Look Behind You is published by Bookouture on Jan 31 and is available to buy from Amazon here.
With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an Advanced Reader Copy.

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