Avon | 2017 (15 June) | 375p | Review copy | Buy the book
When Kate catches online a live video showing the rape and probable murder of a young girl, she has a job to do persuading the police to believe her. The video has been deleted, the username removed, and Kate is known to have had issues in the past which make her an unreliable witness. But DS Nasreen Cudmore and Freddie Vinton (once a social media consultant to the police and now promoted to the role of civilian investigator) do believe Kate. They are currently investigating the disappearance of Amber, the daughter of a local gangland boss, and, from the sound of it, this murdered girl could well be her. When further people own up to having seen the video it’s harder for the police to ignore it. Nas and Freddie are put on the case and it takes them right to the heart of one of London’s large and labyrinthine estates.
Trust Me is the third novel in Angela Clarke’s hugely entertaining Social Media Murders series. I’d go so far as to say that it’s my favourite of the three, perhaps because Nas and Freddie, despite a few inevitable misunderstandings, have settled into being a team and Freddie is more comfortable in her role. While other members of the team continue to treat her as an outsider, it’s clear that Freddie has made significant progress – and not just because of the obvious reasons. She is more settled and therefore she can begin to think about some of the other areas of her life. Freddie is really beginning to shine and in Trust Me it’s a joy to spend time with her. Also, in the previous novels, the focus in each had been on a particular type of social media. This time we’re given a more general picture of the role of social media in life, crime and policing. I liked that.
The focus in Trust Me is largely on Freddie but that doesn’t mean that Nas is left in the cold. She has always been my favourite of the two as she balances her career with her friendship to the more wayward Freddie. I thoroughly enjoyed her repartee with her boss Saunders, whose personality is such a highlight of the novel. As usual with these novels, Angela Clarke brings us closer to her characters by moving the narrative between them. Most chapters focus on Nas and Freddie but, significantly for this book, other chapters give us Kate’s story (and it’s a powerful and often moving one) and also take us into the world of the killer.
The crime which opens Trust Me is particularly unpleasant and, I must admit, I did wonder if I would be able to get past it. But I was soon back in safer territory with Nas and Freddie, and the investigation into the crime is sensitively handled. As is Kate’s story. There is an emotional power to this novel which complements very well the banter we’re used to between Nas, Freddie and their colleagues. But, as we’d expect, Trust Me is every bit as exciting as its predecessors and Nas and Freddie continue to go beyond the call of duty and put themselves in the heart of danger. They care so much.
Trust Me can be read easily as a standalone novel but I’m really enjoying the ways in which this series is developing as Nas and Freddie come into their own. Roll on book four!