From the author of the Freshwater Bay Novel series, Trust Me packs romance and suspense into one thoroughly quaffable story. Annie’s spent twelve years avoiding going back home, when the unexpected death of her Dad, and a genuinely hideous day in the office, conspire to force her back to Wales. Leaving the London life behind, her west-coast farm community proves to be anything but dull, and she soon finds herself involved in a drama nobody expected.
romance | suspense | crime
A powerful love story with a dark-edged underbelly.
Glyn Evans’ death is clearly a tragic suicide. An open and shut case. And yet something about it feels off.
In a single day, Annie Evans’ life is blown to bits. It’s a huge mess and she desperately needs to escape from London. But that means going home. The place she’s been avoiding for years.
Jac Jones is back home too. And Annie’s never forgiven him. She vowed to ghost him. Never to see him again. Why didn’t her parents know that? Whatever possessed them to let this ex-special forces soldier rent their farm? Jac Jones is a player. Is he playing her again?
For Sion Edwards, his old army buddy’s place is the perfect bolt hole. A safe place to hide from the people who want to make him pay for what he’s done. And they won’t rest until he’s dead.
The detective is right. In this sleepy Welsh valley, not everything is as it seems.
Author – Nell Grey | Published by – Amazon in July 2020 | Pages – 267 (Kindle)
I would like to thank Nell Grey for providing me with a copy of Trust Me in return for an honest review.
One thing I’ve learned from years with my nose in a book is that there really is a book for every mood, every whim, and every occasion. Trust Me is absolutely the book to pick up when you need to slip into the story quickly; when you want the story to lead you by the hand and not fill the pages with serious, heavy, poignancy. It’s the book equivalent of a girls night in with a bottle (or two) of quaffable wine.
There are three main storylines intertwined in Trust Me …
The first is that of the apparent suicide of Annie’s Dad, Glyn. He’s a deeply troubled man, with a cruel streak that worsens with drink … and he’s rarely sober. It comes to light that Glyn is bi-polar and has expressed suicidal feelings to Annie’s mother in the past, but he’s remembered by the regulars at the Cross Keys as a jovial man who’s good company and popular; a persona at odds with the domestic abuser known to Annie and Maureen. Detective Ellis is sent out on a bitingly cold, wet night to examine the scene, and his suspicions are aroused by a few incongruous details. However, as Glyn’s troubled past is made known to him, and the post-mortem eventually confirms no signs of foul play, he writes his initial ill-feelings off as coincidence. Detective Ellis’s character fades into silence as his initial investigation winds down, but he makes a come back towards the end of the book albeit with some rather far fetched accusations which, for me, slightly undermined the character’s credibility.
The second strand of this story revolves around Annie; Glyn and Maureen’s only daughter who left their Welsh sheep farm for university twelve years previously, never to return (save for the occasional Christmas). Not only was Annie escaping the rage and wrath of her father, but also her broken heart at the hands of her childhood sweetheart, Jac Jones. Annie’s adult love life is faring no better, having wasted the last few years on an affair with the narcissistic Seb; once a colleague in the New York office, and now her line manager in the London office. Thankfully, Annie’s woken up and smelt the coffee – in a coffee shop with her colleague and trusted friend Stacey – and has called time on their affair. Unfortunately for Annie this decision triggers the sudden collapse of her London life with brutally cold finality. In true Bridget Jones style, however, when one door closes another one opens, this time in the form of phone call from home. The call is from Jac, telling her about the death of her father and sparking a very complicated range of emotions. Annie’s relationship with her Mum has been distant, but over the course of the following few weeks they have the luxury of unencumbered, but bitter sweet, time together. Her homecoming has also brought Annie back into the same orbit at Jac, who’s returned from the Special Forces and is now renting the farm land. It’s the first time they’ve met since a memorable night twelve years ago and they both still nurture strong feelings for one another – but those feelings fluctuate from passionate frisson to bitter misunderstanding. Their on-off relationship teeters on the brink of infuriating, but it manages to stay just on the right side of the line, ensuring the reader continues to root for them. I mean, you’d have to be an ice queen not to conjure up a mental image of the hunky Jac with his armed forces physique, tattoos, and chocolate pool eyes that smoulder promisingly whilst manfully nurturing cute, newborn lambs!
The third facet of the story revolves round Jac’s friend and army-buddy Sion who, having left the armed forces behind is now a contract assassin working undercover for the NCA. Hot on the heels of his successful assassination of an Albanian gangster, Sion’s previously meticulous record is plunged into turmoil when an underworld contact turns Sion into a marked man, with an unusually generous price on his head. Unable to tell his friend Jac what he really does for a living, and finding himself falling head over heals for Cross Keys barmaid Claire, Sion realises too late the danger he’s in; so deep that a new life under the witness protection scheme is his only chance of survival.
Trust Me comes to a close with a distinct air of ‘to-be-continued’ … and from what I understand, the story will be continued in Nell’s next book, Find Me. But that ending doesn’t come before a twist that I just didn’t see coming … like Detective Ellis, I had some suspicions of my own throughout the book, but the truth of the matter was not at all what I’d expected.
This is the first book by Nell Grey that I’ve read. Her style is informal and accessible, creating an immediate impression of familiarity with the main characters, all of whom are credible and well written. Likewise, the three interwoven narratives have been cleverly constructed to drive the momentum of the book; they work well together to continually develop the plot, with each scenario craftily revealing snippets about the other stories.
I was immediately struck by the abundance of dialogue between the characters; the short bursts of conversation helped the story progress at quite a pace, and created a sense of immediacy that was entirely engaging. The clever use of colloquialisms, peppered throughout, served well in rooting the characters amongst the glorious Welsh countryside, as well as underlining the informality of the narrative style. However, there are times when Annie slips from using ‘Mam/Dad’ to using their forenames, which occasionally had me re-checking the text to try and establish exactly which character was speaking at that time.
My one niggle, however, was the characterisation of Glyn. This is a personal opinion, but I felt that the conditions of bi-polar and alcoholism had been applied with too broad a stroke, using them to define him as a bad person. I felt this could have been handled with a bit more sensitivity. Don’t get me wrong, domestic abuse of any sort is unacceptable and intolerable, but it’s not something can be ascribed so off-handedly to bi-polar or alcoholism.
All in all, I enjoyed Trust Me. It was an easy, engaging read with likeable characters and a story line that keeps you turning the pages. Its clever blend of romance and suspense/crime creates parallel plots that keep the story fresh and engrossing. It would make a great beach read … but if your holiday plans are have gone a little squiffy in this current climate, it’s good to know this book is just as enjoyable sat in a park with a pre-mix cocktail as it would be on a tropical beach with the real thing. Carry it with you wherever your book whim takes you.
about Nell Grey
I’m Nell Grey and I’m a full-time writer. I live in Wales with my husband and two girls.
When I’m not busy writing, I love to travel and we lived in New Zealand for a few years before returning to the UK. I’ve had a successful career and a rich gumbo of life experiences that have helped inspire my work.
Other things: I can’t function without coffee. I often write in the middle of the night. I enjoy biking (especially now I have a battery attached to it). And I love hiking in the Welsh countryside with my dog. The real Nell Grey.
But most of all, I love meeting people, listening to their stories and hanging out with friends. And yes, there’s usually wine involved.
My new novels ‘Trust Me’ and ‘Find Me’ are coming out July 31st.
These are a little darker than the Freshwater Bay novel series, but there is still plenty of romance, unexpected twists and some spectacular locations in Wales, Greece and New Zealand to enjoy.
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