Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pop goes the weasel by M. J. Arlidge

Pop goes the weasel is the sequel to Eeny meeny so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first book in the series.  While you can read this book independently of Eeny meeny you will get the most enjoyment out of reading the series in order as Pop goes the weasel will spoil the surprises in Eeny meeny so avoid ***SPOILERS*** by reading them in series order.

It has been nearly a year since Detective Inspector Helen Grace stopped the serial killer who just also happened to be her sister Marianne, but she is still unsettled by the events and the aftermath which nearly saw her loose her job.  She may be respected by her team, but her new superior officer is playing games and seems to be actively working against Helen.  When a body is discovered with the heart removed it seems like a gruesome and bloody murder but nothing particularly special - until the heart is delivered to the family home in a carefully wrapped package.  Suddenly the murder goes from gruesome to twisted, but it is just a single body - until the second one appears.

Helen Grace and her team are on the hunt for another killer, one that is targeting men who frequent prostitutes, men with cheating heats and hidden secrets.  From the start Helen faces pressure from Detective Superintendence Ceri Harwood, who seems to be playing games of her own with Helen's career and her team. With the discovery of the second body it is clear there is a pattern, but Harwood seems determined to avoid the words "serial killer" and seems equally determine to through Helen into the path of ruthless reporter Emilia Garanita.  For the first time Helen is facing not only a deadly killer, but also a wedge driving its way into her team and professional life.  There are a lot of players in the game this time - and they are playing for keeps.

Pop goes the weasel is the sequel to what was one of my favourite books of 2014 in terms of crime novels/thrillers and I had high expectations for this book and I was not disappointed.  The first novel set the scene perfectly, introducing us to the driven and very human DI Helen Grace, and we now pick up the story nearly a year later when Helen is facing not only a new killer, but also when she is facing a number of personal and professional challenges.  One of the aspects of this book that really resonates with me is how human Helen Grace is - she has made mistakes and continues to make mistakes, she has a new boss that is sending murky signals and keeps her off balance, and she is being hounded by the reporter she loathes - it all makes for a stressful and complicated existence.  Into this complicated world comes a killer who is just as twisted and unique as Marianne.

I have already described Arlidge as being like James Patterson - short punchy chapters drive this story forward and keep up a blistering pace while allowing you the odd bit of breathing space between intense chapters.  The story starts with a bang and keeps up the momentum from start to finish and it is very clear that Arlidge writes for television because this story would translate very easily to the big or small screen - this is not an insult, it is a compliment because the action, tension building, story development and character development are all perfectly balanced.  This is an intense series that leaves you feeling a little rung out in the end, but it is totally worth the ride.

A quick peak on the internet shows that book three in the series is due for release early next year and I for one can't wait to see what happens next for DI Helen Grace and her team.  These stories are dark and twisted, but they also show a deep understanding of the intricacies of the human mind and what can cause ordinary people to snap and do horrible things.  Everyone in the series is flawed in their own way which makes them completely human and all too easy to connect to - this series is a treasured find and I hope there are many more to come.

If you like this book then try:
  • Eeny meeny by M.J. Arlidge
  • Vodka doesn't freeze by Leah Giarratano
  • The surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
  • One step too far by Tina Seskis
  • The postcard killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund
  • The basement by Stephen Leather
  • The silence of the lambs by Thomas Harris
  • The surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
  • Level 26: Dark origins by Anthony E. Zuiker and Duane Swierczynski
  • Now you see her by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  • The postcard killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund
  • Private Oz by James Patterson and Michael White
  • The survivors club by Lisa Gardner
  • Darkly dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
  • Kill switch by Neal Baer & Jonathan Greene
  • The edge of normal by Carla Norton

Reviewed by Brilla

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