Author: Sherryl Clark
Publisher/Year: Verve Books/2019
She hasn’t seen her brother in years. Now, he’s dead.
When Judi Westerholme finds out her estranged brother has been murdered, she assumes it’s connected to his long term drug addiction. Returning home, she is shocked to discover he had been clean for years, had a wife – now missing – a child and led a respectable life. But if he had turned his life around, why was he killed in a drug deal shooting? And where is his wife?
Desperate to know what really happened, Judi sets out to uncover the truth, even though it means confronting her own traumatic past. But she’s not the only one looking for answers…
She turned her back on her brother in the past. Should she trust him now?
With a gutsy, unapologetic protagonist, Trust Me, I’m Dead is a gritty and bold crime thriller that explores the sacrifices people will make for their families.
Reviewer: Ola Kwintowski
Peppered with clues, red herrings and romantic tension, Trust Me, I’m Dead is an exhilarating drive through Melbourne’s underworld, solving crime, and coming face to face with ganglords. My hollowed, tired eyes were an indicator of how difficult it was to put this book down. Sherryl Clark eases readers into the story over a nice cuppa in a picturesque country setting, then kicks them onto the busy streets of Melbourne, thrusting a detective hat on their heads, and stabbing their hands with a potato-peeling knife.
Clark’s writing flows effortlessly. Readers are led on a suspense-filled story and provided with clues that help protagonist, Judi Westerholme, solve her brother’s murder. However, Clark is sneaky – just as the clues are pieced together a new twist arises and readers are back to square one – flicking through the pages to see if anything was missed.
Upon meeting Judi, she is self-absorbed and cold but as the story progresses steps up to the challenge, embraces her faults and tackles her inner demons (including her affinity to gin and wine). The characters in Trust Me, I’m Dead are flawed – their interactions dramatic, exciting and often comedic. Clark mobsters range from ghetto talking, swearing, camouflage pant-wearing armatures to suit wearing, well-mannered, cold-blooded killers.
A few scenarios were a little unrealistic and perhaps convenient to the story line, but didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the story.
The romantic tension between Judi and detective Ben Heath adds zing to the story – like a lime in gin – adding a speck of glitter into a bleak scenario. When Judi hides out in a hotel, Ben comes to check on her welfare and inform her of more murders. She stays calm, her mind distracted: ‘I couldn’t look at his face so I concentrated on the buttons on his shirt, but that led me to think about what was underneath. For Christ’s sake, get a grip, woman!’ I loved Judi’s internal argument –recognizing the graveness of the situation, but having trouble resisting temptations –a huge change in Judi’s character to the closed off gardener we met at the start of the novel. Will she be led into temptation?
For a page-turner that makes you question your morality, I recommend Trust Me, I’m Dead. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and will be keeping an eye open for more of Clark’s future crime novels.