Title: The Girls Next DoorThe Girls Next Door
Author: Mel Sherratt
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…?
Mel Sherratt is one author that I hadn’t read any of – until I read The Girls Next Door. And now I’m thinking I need to read a LOT more of her novels! This may be the first in the new Detective Eden Berrisford series, but if her other books are anywhere near as good as this one (and from reviews they seem to be!) then I think they will be well worth reading too!
The Girls Next Door was a twisty, exciting tale of kidnap, revenge and murder, but (shockingly) involving teenagers – and their long-suffering parents too, of course! The story followed Detective Eden, whose niece Jess goes missing. Jess was best friends with Katie, who is on trial for murder although she maintains she was not directly involved in Deanna’s death – and if you think everything’s connected at the very start of the novel, it only becomes more so as you realise these troublesome teenagers ALL seem to be bloody up to something!
There were characters who I was really unsure if I felt sorry for or hated, as I found out more about them, especially some people that I started out feeling sorry for. This makes you think about the fact that even someone who seems innocent can have their faults or make mistakes.
There are a few characters who I really liked – Eden, for one, and her sister Laura (Jess’s mum) who was trying to do the right thing and must have really been going through hell with her daughter missing, but still manages to be understanding. Detective Eden seems like a great leading character who I’d definitely want to read more about – she’s strong, smart and brave and I think she’ll make a great lead Detective in this series!
This book is full of ‘reactions’ and ‘consequences’, and shows how one seemingly small thing – and not always the one you think will cause the most trouble – can trigger off a chain of events which spiral out of control. I love books like this. It also deals well, in my opinion, with grief and heartbreak, all whilst avoiding being too cheesy or soppy. The pace is also just right, moving along quickly but still giving enough background on characters to make sure you care about them (well, most of them!)
I’d really recommend this novel especially to fans of Police/ Detective novels and stories that makes you question whether someone is really to blame. An exciting start to a series I’ll definitely be reading more of!