Synopsis: Housing office Josie Mellor loves the community spirit of the notorious Mitchell Estate – when it doesn’t involve benefit cheats, aggression, or murder and mayhem, that is.
But it isn’t exactly a party for some of her tenants. Kelly Winterton thinks Josie is sticking her nose in where it’s not wanted. Her partner’s just been packed off to prison and she’s left worrying how to fend for herself and her young daughter. Charlotte Hatfield has fled from her violent partner. With four children in tow, she lives in fear of him finding her again. Amy Cartwright has learning difficulties. She finds it hard enough looking out for herself and her six-month-old baby without being taken advantage of.
In the midst of it all, Josie has secrets of her own. Trapped in a loveless marriage, she struggles to escape her controlling husband and, as her home life deteriorates, she realises only a thin line separates her from the people she’s trying to help. Can Josie save herself and return the estate to relative normality when a spate of burglaries causes havoc and deadly violence erupts? Or will both she and her tenants become victims of violence that no one will see?
Kat’s Rating: 4/5
Kat’s Review: It’s funny how when you haven’t read something for a while you forget the reason you loved it in the first place. I am certainly a fan of Mel Sherratt, however when I realised book 4 was due for release I caught up with book 3, only to realise I also hadn’t read book 2! Thankfully all the reasons I like these books came rushing back and this one was no different. Book one I thoroughly enjoyed, book 3 was an absolutely brilliant read as was this (although book 3 has the edge). Josie Mellor seems to be the heart of these books (although not necessarily the main focus of stories). As the Housing Officer for the Mitchell Estate where these books are set, she is a pretty central and important character.
In addition to Josie in this book we meet Kelly Winterton who is a charming woman although young and a little naïve. She and her daughter are now fending for themselves after her boyfriend is sent to prison. Her boyfriend, is certainly a character you can love to hate. However, I liked the way that multiple stories are told and we get to see another Tenant Amy Cartwright try to make her way as a young mother with learning difficulties. Add on top of this the death of a resident and multiple burglaries on the estate and you have lots of drama at every turn.
The nicest thing about this particular book is that Josie actually plays a larger part in it than in book 3, and you get to see a lot more about her personal life, which makes for an exciting plot line on its own. It took me only a couple of sittings to finish this and I really did enjoy immersing myself in the gritty worlds of the tenants living on the Estate. I think the only thing that made finishing this book less depressing, was knowing that I have book 4 lined up and ready to go.