Book Review: Hide and Seek by M J Arlidge

Hide and Seek


“Prison is no place for a detective
Helen Grace was one of the country’s best police investigators. 
Now she’s behind bars with the killers she caught.

Framed for murder
She knows there is only way out: 
stay alive until her trial and somehow prove her innocence.

Locked up with a killer
But when a mutilated body is found in the cell next door,
Helen fears her days are numbered.

A murderer is on the loose. 
And she must find them.
Before she’s next . . .”

I’ve loved all of the previous books in the Helen Grace series by M J Arlidge – and have always pre ordered the next so it just magically drops onto my Kindle on publication date.  But I realised it was ages since I’d read Little Boy Blue and thought there must be a new one.  Seemingly my ordering in advance had failed massively and I’d missed 2 new instalments (along with some short stories I’d not noticed before) so I did a big Kindle purchase and stocked up!  And my next read was ‘Hide and Seek’.

I think this would stand alone – but you’d be missing out, so I would definitely recommend reading all of the 5 preceding books in the series if you can.  The back stories  of various characters are filled in as required – but clearly not in as much detail as if you’ve read the other books.

My initial worry was that it wouldn’t be as good as the previous books – with Ms Grace behind bars – and it would all be a bit ‘Bad Girls’ – but I need not have worried at all, it was as fabulous as the previous books in the series.

There are basically 2 stories running concurrently.  Helen in prison and the trials and tribulations that brings firstly with ‘normal’ prison life, but then with a serial killer loose in the prison!  At the same time, outside Holloway, Helen’s friend and colleague Charlie is investigating the man who framed Helen to put her away in the first place, in a bid to clear Helen’s name.

Both plot lines build to a simultaneous climax and really keep you on the edge of your seat.  It felt a bit different to the previous books – I guess due to the settings – but still just as much fun.

I am intrigued as to how the series will now develop – but it’s ok, I already have the next one to read!  It’s like binge watching TV box sets already having the subsequent instalment ready to go.

I think this will slot into ‘the next book in a series you’ve started’ in my 2018 Reading Challenge.




Book review: Little Boy Blue by M. J. Arlidge

Little Boy Blue

Detective Inspector Helen Grace is no stranger to tragedy. But when a body is found in a Southampton nightclub, the death cuts too close to the bone.
Hiding her personal connection to the victim – and a double-life which must remain secret at all costs – Helen becomes a woman possessed, working her team around the clock to chase down every lead.
As the killer strikes again, the investigation takes its toll not only on Helen but also her senior officers. Tempers flare, friendships fray and Helen faces an impossible choice.
Confess her sins and lose control of the case? Or keep living a lie, protecting her darkest secrets, and risk getting trapped in this tangled web?
But whatever she does, this killer will not stop until the truth is revealed: there are some fates worse than death . . .”

This is the 5th book in the DI Helen Grace series – and having loved the first four (Eeny Meeny, Pop Goes The Weasel, The Doll’s House and Liar Liar) I had high hopes for number 5.

I was not disappointed.  The fast paced writing keeps you intrigued from the outset.  There are LOADS of chapters – and I’ve realised that Mr Arlidge also writes for TV (I was very excited to see him having written a Silent Witness episode in the last series) and the chapters are basically scenes from a TV drama.  I can’t believe I hadn’t realised that before!

Again it follows DI Grace’s personal and professional life – and this time they intertwine even more than before.  I really think you need to have read the previous books to get the most out of this – as there are lots of links to the previous 4 in many different ways.

As with the others in the book it is pretty graphic at times – in terms of violence, but more in terms of BDSM stuff in this particular storyline.

It twists and turns brilliantly – and the descriptions from the inside of a fetish club to Southampton Common – all give you a great feel for the individual settings.  It made me want to go back to Southampton again (more than 20 years after graduating from Uni there!)

Whilst all of the books follow on from each other – this one finishes on a total cliff hanger – and so I’m desperately wanting more – and have to wait until the Autumn – grrrrrrrrrrr.

I would thoroughly recommend this entire series to anyone – but be prepared to stay up into the early hours reading ‘just one more chapter’!!!







Book review: Liar Liar by M J Arlidge

Liar Liar

I have really enjoyed the first 3 books in the DI Helen Grace series (Eeny Meeny, Pop Goes the Weasel, The Doll’s House – in that order – as obviously my OCD wouldn’t let me list them in anything other than chronological order!) and so was very excited to see this pop up on my Kindle.  I’d forgotten I’d pre-ordered it (got to love Amazon!)

Because of pre-ordering, I hadn’t read the blurb – but here it is for you:

“In the dead of night, three raging fires light up the city skies. It’s more than a tragic coincidence. For DI Helen Grace the flames announce the arrival of an evil she has never encountered before.

Because this is no firestarter seeking sick thrills, but something more chilling: a series of careful, calculating acts of murder.

But why were the victims chosen? What’s driving the killer? And who will be next?

A powder keg of fear, suspicion and dread has been laid. Now all it needs is a spark to set it off . . .”

Again it was set in Southampton – where I went to Uni (and so I can feel a bit smug that I know how to pronounce Bevois Valley) – and again it was a grim race against time to protect the people of my home for 3 years from a serial killer.  As usual I loved the mix of police investigation and the personal lives of the main detectives – DI Helen Grace, but also her right hand woman Charlie.  The ‘working Mum guilt’ is bad enough as an accountant – but how much tougher it must be when your job puts you in physical danger.

The twists and turns were excellent – as I’ve come to expect from this writer both in his books, and when I see his name pop up as the writer of a similar genre of TV programmes.

I don’t think you would need to have read the first 3 books to enjoy this – but I would definitely recommend starting from the beginning if you haven’t already.

And, I’ve just downloaded the next in the series ‘Little Boy Blue’ to arrive in March 2016 – which I will probably have forgotten about by then, and it will be another lovely surprise!

Book Review: The Doll’s House by M J Arlidge

I have loved the previous 2 books by M J Arlidge about DI Helen Grace – so was pleased when this popped up on my Kindle (I’d pre-ordered it when I read the previous book ‘Pop Goes The Weasel‘ last year).

The Doll's House

Here is what the Amazon blurb says:

“A young woman wakes up in a cold, dark cellar, with no idea how she got there or who her kidnapper is. So begins her terrible nightmare.
Nearby, the body of another young woman is discovered buried on a remote beach. But the dead girl was never reported missing – her estranged family having received regular texts from her over the years. Someone has been keeping her alive from beyond the grave.
For Detective Inspector Helen Grace it’s chilling evidence that she’s searching for a monster who is not just twisted but also clever and resourceful – a predator who’s killed before.
And as Helen struggles to understand the killer’s motivation, she begins to realize that she’s in a desperate race against time . . .”

You would not need to have read ‘Eeny Meeny’ or ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’ (although I would highly recommend that you do!) before you read this – it would stand alone – but I very much enjoyed revisiting DI Helen Grace and some of the other characters. It definitely builds on the prior books so there would be ‘spoilers’ if you tried to read them retrospectively.

I’ve actually got to like Helen more with each book – I guess as we get to know her better and understand her more.

It’s a twisting and turning thriller as usual – and again set in Southampton (my stomping ground for Uni – which I think I must remember with rose tinted glasses, as the area I lived in again is described as rough!!) The stories interlink both in terms of historic crime, current crime and the personal lives of the protagonists both police and villains. Lots is interlinked and only concludes right at the end – but I was pleased the loose ends were all tied up.

I didn’t feel this was quite as gory as the previous books – but maybe I’m just becoming immune to it, as I’m a fairly recent convert to thrillers!

This – along with the other books in the series – would make great TV dramas (unsurprisingly given Mr Arlidge is also a script writer – I was slightly over-excited to spot his writing credit in the last series of Silent Witness on BBC1!)

I was pleased to see that this is no longer a trilogy and I have pre-ordered book number 4 for later this year!

Book Review: Pop Goes The Weasel by M J Arlidge

Earlier in the year, upon the recommendation of someone I follow on Twitter (and subsequently Richard and Judy) I read ‘Eeny Meeny’ by M J Arlidge. It introduced us to DI Helen Grace (I imagine her as a slightly younger, feistier and even more messed up Jane Tennison / Helen Mirren!) and her crime fighting in Southampton (where I went to University – so I always feel an allegiance to the city / football team) It was a fast moving, graphic, chilling thriller – and I LOVED it! I immediately pre-ordered the sequel ‘Pop Goes The Weasel’ and it magically appeared on my Kindle last week.

Pop goes the weasel

The Amazon blurb says this:

“A man’s body is found in an empty house. His heart has been cut out and delivered to his wife and children.
He is the first victim, and Detective Inspector Helen Grace knows he will not be the last. But why would a happily married man be this far from home in the dead of night?
The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse: a serial killer preying on family men who lead hidden double lives.
Helen can sense the fury behind the murders. But what she cannot possibly predict is how volatile this killer is – or what is waiting for her at the end of the chase…”

You don’t have to  have read ‘Eeny Meeny’ to read this – but, this has loads of spoilers in it explaining things that happened in the first book, so you couldn’t go back and read the first one afterwards without knowing lots about how it would conclude.

Again I raced through this, really enjoying the fast pace.  The chapters are often quite short – so  ‘just one more’ happens a lot (and before you know it, it’s 1am and you should have turned the light out hours ago!) I have to say I guessed who the killer was pretty early on this time around – although not all of the twists and turns that went with the story.  It was also quite stressful to find the suburb I lived in 20 years ago, Portswood, being described as the red light district – and that students from my University were being forced into prostitution to pay uni fees!!

Having just read up a bit about the author, he has worked in TV for years – and I think that’s quite apparent from the scene setting and excellent descriptions of the areas and characters (surely someone will buy the TV rights for this?)  This is gory – and you need a strong stomach for some of it – but it’s worth it.

Yet again I’m left wanting to find out what happens to DI Grace and the team next – roll on 12 February 2015 when the final book in the trilogy ‘The Doll’s House’ will hit my Kindle.  Suspect it won’t be the perfect Valentine’s read!!