Saturday 5 December 2015

Blog Tour: Extract from and review of Follow me by

I am very lucky today to have an extract for you as well as a review of Follow Me by Anfela Clarke, firstly I'll whet your appetite with the extract from fairly early on in the book. Keep scrolling down for my review and the blurb...


Friday 30 October


Sat on the windowsill, trying to block out the late lunch drinkers

in the Queen Elizabeth pub below, Freddie pressed her phone to

her ear. How, in Dalston, in the middle of the country’s capital,

could this be the only place to get signal in her room? Her new

flatmate – what was his name, short guy, wore glasses, worked

in ad sales, always out drinking after work. Pete? P – something.

Edged into her room, en route to the kitchen, mouthing, ‘Sorry’.

Must be his day off.


She nodded. Three people in one pokey two-bed flat had seemed

a great money-saving plan. But that was five flatmates ago, when

she’d actually known the two girls she shared with. Now she

slept in the lounge, the sofa claimed as a bed, and all and sundry

crossed her room to get their breakfast cereal. Privacy and mobile

reception were for other people.


Freddie gurned at her reflection in the seventies mirror above

the faux thirties fireplace opposite. Her brown hair, cut by a mate

with kitchen scissors, sprang away from her shoulders like she’d

been shocked. Flashes of red hair chalk zigzagged toward her DIY

fringe. Her legs, stubbornly plump despite working on her feet

and taking more than the recommended 10,000 steps a day, poked

out from beneath her nightshirt (a T-shirt that had belonged to

a long-forgotten one-night stand). Unless she squished herself in

with her hands or a belt, she never looked like she had a waist. Her

torso, like her mum’s, was square, with the addition of breasts that

practically needed scaffolding to restrain them. She wiggled her

black plastic rectangular-framed glasses. Not traditionally beautiful.


The line in her ear clicked, and the noise of the busy newsroom

came through. ‘Freddie.’ Sandra, the deputy editor of The Family

Paper online, sounded tense and tired. Business as usual. ‘Is there

a problem with this week’s copy?’


‘No. No problem.’ Freddie pushed her back into the cold glass,

willing the signal to hold. ‘It’s just I’ve been writing the Typical

Student column for three years now…’


‘Time flies when you’re having fun.’


Freddie thought of the two years she’d spent on the dole, clawing

her way into glass collecting jobs, churning out pitches, unpaid

articles and free features during the day – a blur of coffee, cigarettes

and unpaid bills since she graduated. ‘Yes, it is fun. And popular.

Didn’t I get over 90,000 hits last week?’


Sandra didn’t deign to confirm or deny this figure.


‘Well I was wondering if, given the column’s popularity, I might

get paid for writing it?’


There was silence on the other end. Only the sound of the UK’s

busiest and most hated newsroom could be heard. The clamorous

grind and grunt as the newspaper was conceived in a hail of

profanities all journalists told you was the best-paid gig. The one

that Freddie had written one hundred and fifty-six eight-hundredword

columns for, and been paid precisely nothing by.




‘We don’t have the budget. If you could get the column into the

print edition then you’d be paid,’ Sandra sighed. Freddie noticed

it was more from annoyance than shame.


‘How do I do that?’ Surely you could do that for me, you lazy cow.

‘I’ll think about it. I’ll send you some emails.’




‘Didn’t we try this before?’ Sandra sounded on the verge of

dozing off.


We? There’s no we in this, Sandra. You go off with your monthly

pay packet, and I sit in my lounge bedroom trying to work out how

I’m going to afford to eat this month. ‘Yes.’


‘What did they say?’


‘The student focus was too young for the main paper.’ Snotty



‘The online readers enjoy your stories of debauched students,

Freddie. They really go for it.’


They really go for hating on it. Last week she’d written about

getting wasted the night before an exam. Total fabrication. Her

and her mates had sat in night after night working in fear, as they

watched the collapsing economy swallow everything around it like

a dead star: paid internships, graduate schemes, jobs, benefits.

She might as well have spent her time downing pints of vodka. ‘I

graduated two summers ago, I’m not even at university anymore.’

‘It’s up to you, it’s all good experience.’


Experience. Everything was good experience: writing articles

for free for a national newspaper, landing a job in Espress-oh’s

coffee chain to pay her bills, pitching, publishing, pumping out

all her words for no reward. When was this experience supposed

to pay off? When would she have enough experience? ‘I’ll send

the copy over now.’


‘Let’s do drinks soon.’


They wouldn’t. That was what people with paid jobs said to

get rid of you. They didn’t need contacts. They didn’t need any

more drags on their time. When they were done, they wanted to

go home and wank off in front of their latest box set. Drinks were

for those who needed a way in. Drinks were fucking fictional.


Freddie left the phone on the windowsill. She should sleep.

What had she managed? Her shift finished at 6.00am. She’d brainstormed

ideas on the way home on the Ginger Line. 9.30am first

commission came in. There were three in total today, all wanted

them filed within a couple of hours, all under a thousand words,

only one of them was paid. Thirty pounds from a privately funded

online satire site. Gotta love the rich kids. Awash with their parents’

money, they didn’t have enough business sense to demand that

their contributors work for experience.


She clicked refresh on her Mac mail. No new emails. Then she

clicked refresh again. Then she did the same on Twitter, Facebook,

WhatsApp and Snapchat. Round and round. Waiting. For what?

Something. Something big.


Here's the blurb: 


The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.

But this is no virtual threat.

As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.

Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?

Time's running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?


Review: I was definitely hooked into this book from the word go. I don't read many books from this genre, but I know when Avon sends me one, it's going to be a good one. I have to admit, I really didn't like main character Freddie to begin with, or any of the other characters to be honest, but she grew on me as the book went on, there are lots of police names in the novel, understandable as it is a book about a serial killer, and a found those a little hard to keep up with, but it knew the main ones that I help contempt for so that was ok...

I liked the fact that this book was set in the UK, it made the real places and areas of London easier to follow. The story surrounding the serial killer is totally believable as well, it's something that could actually happen and that makes this book even more scary! I would say, though, that if you're not very social media savvy, some of the hashtags and abbreviations won't make as much sense as if you are very into Twitter or other social media sites. The main story will still flow and you'll be able to follow it but if you're not into twitter, I would suggest having a quick look at it before reading this! 

There is quite a lot of swearing in this book, at times I found it a little unnecessary, however I do understand that it is the character of Freddie and she swears a lot, does a lot of things a lot of people wouldn't do. I don't mind swearing in novels but there is quite a lot of crude language right from the word go. The murder scenes are pretty graphic and scary as well so something else just to be warned about. I think the fact that this book comes with so many warnings shows you what an effective read it is, it definitely effected me and I am glad that I read it! 

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