Little Boy Blue – M J Arlidge

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img_2880Detective 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 . . .

Absolutely amazing….. ’nuff said……

OK so first things first.  Little Boy Blue has a big part of its plot line based around the BDSM community.  There is nothing truly shocking in here, but to those who find these subjects making them feel a little red faced? Be warned.

Next up, Little Boy Blue is the fifth in the DI Helen Grace series, so the biggest question is, if you’ve not read any previous novels can you read it as a standalone novel?

Yes, of course you can.  It’s cleverly written with enough back story to the characters to tell you all you need to know to enjoy the book, but to avoid spoiling previous books.

That said, Should you read it without reading the first four books?  In my opinion, it’s one big definitive NO, read them all, in order, and do it now.  You’re already missing out on some amazing books.

I say this because as a reader you develop an intimate relationship with the characters throughout the course of a series, and many of the characters that appear in Little Boy Blue, we have met before, and it is these past relationships that enhance the impact of this latest novel.

The “love it” moments that make you flick the pages faster, and the “oh no, how dare you!” moments that make you want to through the book down in frustration are all the more emotional with the understanding of Helen’s back stories.  I honestly felt every pang of guilt, frustration, anger, and confusion that DI Grace goes through as the story unfolded and ultimately making the sting in the tale the most difficult ending to a book I’ve had to bear in a very long time.

It’s definitely Arlidge’s best yet, a book that will constantly keep you guessing as the storyline untangles, and with a killer you will not see coming.

There is one thing I guarantee with Little Boy Blue, as you close the final pages,you will be shouting

“hurry up and write the next one already!”

all whilst googling the release date for Hide and Seek and getting your pre-orders in now.

 

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Pop Goes The Weasel – M J Arlidge

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imageA 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…

Pop Goes the Weasel is the sequel to Richard & Judy book club pick Eeny Meeny, and I have to say there is no evidence of that ‘difficult second novel’ here. Arlidge maintains the same great pace from Eeny Meeny in this novel and ensures that the plot is not only as equally dark and twisted, but also that those who are eager to bring down DI Helen Grace are more despicable and determined than before.

Just as with Eeny Meeny previously, Pop Goes the Weasel is a real page turner of a book, that I would have sat and completed in one sitting had it not been for the pesky need of a few hours sleep. Helen Grace is a delightful character, that I really enjoy reading about, constantly unsure of what other people think of her and yet always confident in everything she does.

Overall this is a fabulous read, that as any good novel does leaves you with enough unanswered questions about who will be coming back, and how Helen’s relationships will change or grow that you’ll be keen to discover just when the next installment will be available, and hitting that pre-order button as soon as you can.