Grab your keys and let’s take a road trip to Melbourne today!
A very happy publication day to Sherryl Clark!
Title: Trust Me I’m Dead
Author: Sherryl Clarl
Date of publication: 25 July 2019
Publisher: Verve Books
Number of pages: 268
Trust Me, I’m Dead. My first thought was “this should be on a t-shirt!” This efficient title hides a strong novel filled with small and big games, and the fact that no matter how great your sneakers are, you can’t run away from your past.
Judi hasn’t seen her brother in years, but the news of his death is a shock. The sharp contrast of Judi’s quiet live in the countryside and the awful truth that Andrew has been murdered made me extremely curious from the start. If the first chapter gives the reader a snippet of Judi’s recluse life, we don’t have time to get to know her nurturing her garden. Instead, we get swept away to the city, with a shocked and shaken woman forced to deal with matters she’d clearly could have done without.
Judi knew her brother as a clever boy, a target for an abusive father, and later, a drug addict. But the picture she gets from his life in Melbourne is completely different. A million years away from what I expected! A wife, a little kid, a respectable job, a nice house, and taxes paid on time. I had issues connecting Judi’s memories to the facts I was given, and Judi had the same problem! Murder rang well with his previous lifestyle, but didn’t fit the new portray of Andrew.
Judi is a really interesting character. Resilient, she can appear rude and hard, but it is easy to guess this is just a shell. A thick and heavy shell made to help her carry the weight of a lifetime of hardships. Her reactions sometimes took me by surprise, but old pains and grief are dealt with in a million ways. The more time I spent with Judi, the clearer I could see through her. She had retreated and somehow punished herself with a life of ‘keeping busy’, surviving rather than living. Now I sound very gloom, but she contents herself with gardening and movie nights with her friend Connor… until Andrew’s passing away forces her out of her bubble. Judi is witty, bold, with a heart of gold hidden beneath an armor. I rooted for her so easily I surprised myself! Her family history is not glorious and hangs over her head like an ominous cloud filled with eternal rain. But there is some beauty in the horrors Judi goes through, and the shackles she’s been living with get looser as she learns to get closer again to her dead brother.
But there is no time for bonding, as Judi meets the detective in charge of Andrew’s case, and what he thinks is “off” turns out to be wickedly off indeed. So off that danger starts springing from everywhere! Try keeping your mourning head cold with a two-year-old niece you have never met, the planning of funeral, and a search for the truth. I loved how subtle the plot is. Yes, drugs are quite the simple deal, but nothing is simple in this book! Relationships, memories, tricks and games sit one on top of the other, leaving Judi as the player of a puzzle with missing pieces and demons at her heels.
The writing is sharp, injecting tension, humor, bits of warmth cute moments, and scary moments. Judi’s shell’s cracks as the world grows darker and more dangerous. To solve the mystery around his death, Andrew takes her sister down memory lane, leaving clues behind him for her to decipher. As engrossed in the solving of the case as I was, what struck me the most was Andrew’s schemes. It broke my heart to see him bringing his sister to life via his own death. Well, she has to dodge many deadly traps to stay alive, for sure, but being pushed out of her routine sparks a light in her, a fire that the past had almost entirely extinguished. Andrew rekindles it from beyond the grave, and the story of those siblings is both complicated and beautiful. Don’t we love it when a gritty and compelling crime novel holds more than you hoped for?
Families… No matter what we say, they always have an impact on us. The author skillfully explores probes the wounds of a dysfunctional family.
Trust Me, I’m Dead is an intense, addictive read with enough action to get your heart beating for characters to die for.
Grab your copy now! Amazon
My biggest thanks to Clare and Verve Books for allowing me to kick off this blog tour and review this great novel.
Sherryl Clark has had 40 children’s and YA books published in Australia, and several in the US and UK, plus collections of poetry and four verse novels. She has taught writing at Holmesglen TAFE and Victoria University. She recently completed a Master of Fine Arts program at Hamline University, Minnesota, and is now studying for a PhD in creative writing.