Monday 1 June 2015

Reviewed: Death Sentence by Sheryl Browne.

Death Sentence is published by Safkhet on June 1, 2015.

Thanks to Sheryl for sending me a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.

It’d been nine months since I’d last read a Sheryl Browne book, which in my estimation was about nine months too long. Sheryl writes gorgeous, heart-warming romantic comedies which I adore but more sneakily, and recently, she writes a terrific psychological thriller. Her first, The Edge of Sanity, was one of the most intense, gripping books I’ve ever read and so I was crazy excited for the next one. Death Sentence was even better. It’s a compelling, hard-hitting tale of revenge between Detective Inspector Matthew Adams and Patrick Sullivan, the man who killed Matthew’s child. The tension is so high in this book that it’s pretty extreme for the most part with a villain who I was desperate to see get his comeuppance. I loved every second of this epic thriller.

Patrick was the most sinister, disgusting scumbag of a character I’ve read in a long time. He made my skin crawl at times. In parts of this book, we get told the story from his perspective and he was truly vile. Being able to get into the mind of Patrick was a great move by Sheryl because with each sentence he comes out with, it’s so easy to detest him. We also get to learn about the reason he’s so eager to inflict pain, or worse, on Matthew as he’s holding a grudge after the killing of his brother. Patrick is sick, twisted and a bully out to hit Matthew where it hurts the most, by kidnapping his secretly pregnant wife Becky. What creeped me out the most about Patrick was how he was always talking to the people he was hurting throughout this book, virtually making small-talk with them when he knew they wanted nothing less than him dead. Being able to hear from Patrick made me hate him more and more with every page.

Early on in the book, Matthew and Becky make the decision to take in Ashley, the teenage daughter of Matthew’s alcoholic sister who is not capable of looking after herself never mind anyone else. I had no idea how Ashley’s story would work out but I did fear for her right from the beginning, given Patrick’s abuse and prostitution of young women. But Ashley was a smart girl and I took to her straight away. She was struggling mentally but should have given herself more credit because she had a lot going for her. I loved her connection with Matthew and how she was brave even in the worst circumstances. There was really, to me, only about a handful of important characters in Death Sentence but Sheryl built them all with such depth. Every one of them was flawed but that’s what made them human (ok, maybe not Patrick) and interesting. I could buy into them much better that way and there wasn’t a moment in this book when I thought their actions and reactions weren’t realistic, weren’t the kind of things you’d do if you were under threat by a very pleased with himself psycho. The character that actually intrigued me the most was DS Steve who looked quite easy to influence. I really liked him and his humour but I was never quite sure if he was going to have a major part to play or how corruptible he might have been, especially when things were so personal for his boss. I didn’t know if Steve was really the trustworthy kind of person you’d want on your side but that’s what I liked about all the characters Sheryl’s written here, they were often surprising and unpredictable.

Death Sentence was one of those wonderfully engrossing books that completely consumes you. I went from being fascinated to see how things were going to play out to reading on the edge of my seat, not talking, not moving, barely breathing until I got to the end. Patrick controlled everything about this book, the pace, the violence, the lives of the characters. Sheryl did an extraordinary job of getting in to the mind of this sick creature and building him up with every page until I seriously could not stand him anymore. This book had a bit of dry wit to it and some dangerous, suspenseful altercations which left me eager to find out who, if anyone, was going to make it out alive. What a book.

The kind of book you're never going to be able to put down. Tense and gripping with this most repulsive villain.


  1. Sophie, I cannot tell you how much this means. Thank you so very much for making the time to review my book and for a fabulous review that completely took my breath away. I was literally stunned. And then a bit manic. :) Reviews are so important and this one has truly made writing this book worthwhile. So very appreciated. :) xx

    1. You keep on writing great books, Sheryl, and I'll keep on writing you these positive reviews :) xx

  2. thanks for this great review. I haven't read anything by Sheryl Browne, but will be looking out for this one xx

  3. Great review, I can't wait to read this!


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