Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Mel Sherratt is a talented debut British writer, who's just published exactly the kind of highly commercial, first-in-a-series, gritty detective crime novel a lot of mainstream publishers and editors constantly claim they're crying out for. Only Mel has published it herself.

TAUNTING THE DEAD is currently riding high at Number 37 on the Amazon UK Kindle chart and is receiving plenty of positive reviews. I should know, I've just given it one myself (see below). Not because I know Mel, but because her novel is really good.

I've since found out that Mel is lucky enough to be represented by a very good agent at super-agency Curtis Brown, who's been knocking on all the right doors. The trouble is that in a risk-averse publishing climate such as we're suffering right now, it's often easier for editors to not buy (ie keep their heads down and stick with marketing the talent already on their books) than take a chance on someone new.

What I'm interested to see now is what effects Mel's continuing high sales rank will have. One imagines that any editor worth their salt will keep a keen eye on the charts (ebook as well as paper). In an ideal world, her agent will have already had a few calls from publishers interested in taking Mel and her series on.

I'm hoping there's a good editor out there for Mel. It would be good to know that writers such as her, who've got the talent and ambition to push their books solo, can also be given the full and proper commercial chance they deserve. It would certainly make for a more interesting and diverse crime writing community if this were so.

Anyway, here's my review:

"A really enjoyable debut, introducing DS Allie Shenton. The plot races along smartly, with the victims piling up, before culminating in a series of twists that hit you like body blows. DS Shenton feels real and ends up balancing all kinds of conflicting desires as the murder investigation progresses. A terrific cast of villains. The Stoke underworld depicted here, in all its viciousness, smacks of authenticity. Fans of Martina Cole will devour this is one sitting. I'm already looking forward to reading DS Shenton's continued exploits."

Emlyn Rees is the author of Hunted, out now in hardback and ebook.

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