The second in the social media murders series, Watch Me grabs the reader’s complete attention from the first words and doesn’t let go until the end when it leaves you reeling and aghast at what can go wrong with social media.
Once again DS Nasreen Cudmoore, now working for the Gremlin e-crime unit run by DCI Jack Burgone, and her old school friend Freddie Venton need to work together to solve a crime but this one links them back to their schooldays when their bullying of a friend led to a suicide attempt.
Journalist Freddie, back at home with her parents while she recovers from the effects of the attempt on her life by the Hashtag Murderer in Follow Me, is out of work, rarely out of her pjs and barely able to function.
Nas appeals for her help. Two girls linked to her had posted a suicide note on Snap Chat. One the sister of their former friend, Gemma, was successful but three hours earlier that day the sister of Nas’s boss went missing. A Snap Chat message told then they had six seconds to read the message; 24 hours to save her life.
Freddie, thin and disheveled, is forced to confront her demons to help Nas who is suffering from a hangover and remorse at having had a one-night stand with her boss. And the clock is ticking. Activating her repaired phone, Freddie discovers she, too, is a recipient of the Lottie messages. It has become personal.
The narrative spans the 24 hours they have to save Lottie’s life and explores the way this police unit functions, the interaction between Nas and Freddie and the police team as well as the world of revenge porn and objectionable internet sites. Ms Clarke creates credible characters who reveal their weaknesses and strengths as the plot develops.
As the story unfolded, I picked up Angela Clarke’s clues – I have not been a fiction editor and crime writer for nothing – but this did not detract from my enjoyment of Watch Me, rather it enhanced my appreciation of the fast-paced plotting and character development the author excels at.
Watch Me is chillingly scary – an object lesson on what not to get involved with on the internet. Highly recommended.