It Should Have Been Me by Susan Wilkins

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It Should Have Been Me by Susan Wilkins

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A cracking good thriller: I was hooked by the end of the first page and held until the last. It's my first Susan Wilkins book, but it won't be the last.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416/11h0m Date: January 2019
Publisher: Pan
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1509804542

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It's seventeen years since DC Jo Boden's sister, Sarah, was murdered and her life since has been lived in the shadow of what happened. Jo was only eleven at the time and her parents' marriage broke up in the aftermath: her brother Carl opted to go and live with his father but Jo stayed with her mother who was mentally frail and not coping with everyday life. She wasn't pleased when Jo decided to join the police, but the job satisfies Jo. She's passed her sergeant's exams but in the Met these days it's a case of dead men's shoes and no one seems inclined to make way for the younger generation. Still, being a detective is better than being a PC and when the opportunity to go undercover comes up, Jo grabs it.

All might have gone on in this vein but the man who was convicted of Sarah Boden's murder was released on licence, much to the dismay of Jo's mother. It was to get worse though: Nathan Wade had no real memory of what happened on the night that Sarah was murdered. He couldn't prove that it wasn't him and decided to accept his sentence, be a model prisoner and get out as quickly as possible. It was only when he was released that someone who had been at university with Sarah and Nathan came forward to say that she had her doubts about the conviction. She wants to make a film about what happened to prove Nathan's innocence.

I had some doubts about whether an intelligent young man would not try to prove his innocence and to me that's the weakest part of a very strong book, but suspend disbelief and enjoy what's a cracking good thriller, as Jo's job as a DC and her personal life are set on a collision course. Characterisation is excellent: Jo Boden is very well portrayed. There's a hardness about her: part of it comes from the job but it's also the way that she's coped with her mother's frailties. She's had to be the strong one, but it's not left much room for a personal life. She's always said that she'd never have a relationship with someone in the Met unless she was planning on marrying him, but it's strange what a moment of weakness, of neediness, can do.

Jo's mother is well done too. He daughter's death hit her hard, particularly when it was followed by an acrimonious divorce. The family lived in some luxury before the separation, but it's all hand-to-mouth now and the contrast with her ex-husband who's a property developer in North Norfolk fuels her erratic behaviour as much as the drink and medication which she regularly takes.

The women shine through in the book, but that doesn't mean that the men are weak characters. The atmosphere, the tribalism, amongst the police is well captured and I quickly felt that I was a part of what was happening. There came a point when the book would have had to have been surgically removed from my hands: it was completely gripping. This was my first Susan Wilkins book: it certainly won't be my last and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals the To Catch a Killer by Emma Kavanagh will be your type of book too.

Buy It Should Have Been Me by Susan Wilkins at Amazon You could get a free audio download of It Should Have Been Me by Susan Wilkins with a 30-day Audible free trial at

Buy It Should Have Been Me by Susan Wilkins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy It Should Have Been Me by Susan Wilkins at

Buy It Should Have Been Me by Susan Wilkins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy It Should Have Been Me by Susan Wilkins at


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