The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.
But this is no virtual threat.
As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.
Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?
Time’s running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?
ONLINE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM …
My thanks to Avon Books for my review copy.
Having already read and enjoyed two Twitter/Social Media murder stories earlier this year (Haterz and DM For Murder) I was keen to read another murder story that turned Twitter into the playground of a killer.
Freddie has aspirations to be a journalist but her regular weekly column is not paying her well so she is having to work for a coffee chain to ensure she can eat. One morning she spots an old friend from school, Nasreen. Freddie knows that Nasreen has joined the police and when it appears Nasreen is on her way to a crime scene Freddie decides to follow her.
On arriving at a murder scene Freddie manages to slip through the police cordon and gets into the room beside the body – only to be recognised by Nasreen. Though Nasreen tries to cover for her old friend Freddie is facing potential criminal charges. Only by providing some expert knowledge at a critical time (an adept knowledge of Twitter) is Freddie able to avoid prosecution. However, the trade-off is that she has to assist the police and make use of her media skills as it seems the murder victim may have known his killer through Twitter.
What follows next is a clever murder story whereby Freddie helps the police to track a killer through Twitter. A killer that seems intent to taunt Freddie and the police by leaving clues as to who the next victim may be. As all the clues are revealed via open tweets the public and media are all over the messages and, as you may expect, there are jokers and armchair detectives also trying to decipher the clues and mock potential victims. All very amusing…until the next body is found.
In addition to the ongoing murder story we also have Freddie and Nasreen re-united for the first time in years. The friends have not seen each other since school and the suggestion is that something in their past drove the two apart – their friendship is explored through the story and the deeper we get into their past the more we look to learn about what may have happened to end their friendship. Freddie is keen to build bridges, Nasreen wants to keep Freddie at arms length lest she ruins her professional reputation (Freddie is somewhat of a liability).
The two stories combine well and build into a dramatic finale which will keep readers frantically flicking the pages.
I have read lots of reviews from fellow bloggers who have loved Follow Me and I suspect it will do really well on release (I really hope it does). Personally, however, it just did not click for me. I struggled to like the main characters, Freddie’s usefulness to the police required a fair amount of ‘just go with it’ acceptance and something that arose near the end of the book left me flicking back through the pages to see what I had missed (but to avoid spoilers I cannot share that part).
Last year a novel called Station 11 received rave reviews and seemed universally enjoyed by all that read it. Except me. This year it looks like I will be in the minority for Follow Me – I can see why everyone is loving it but I am afraid it just didn’t resonate with me.
Follow Me is published by Avon Books and is available on Kindle from 3rd December 2015 and in paperback from December 31st.