Thursday, March 19, 2015

The doll's house by M.J. Arlidge

The doll's house is the sequel to Eeny meeny and Pop goes the weasel so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first books in the series.  While you can read this book independently you will get the most enjoyment out of reading the series in order.

A young family at the beach makes a horrifying discovery when they dig in the sand - the body of a young woman.  She is pale and perfect, with no outward signs of trauma, although it appears she was starved in her last few weeks or months.  For DI Helen Grace the discovery is a jolt, a wake up call that there may be another killer out there - but will people believe her or just think she is after the glory of stopping another serial killer?  With her old team disbanded due to death, pregnancy, and retirement there are not that many allies for her to call on, and she is going to need all the help she can get.  Not one to necessarily play by the rules, DI Grace is about to face one of her greatest professional challenges yet.

When Ruby Sprackling goes missing it could easily have been another case of a young woman who runs away from her difficult past, but her mother is adamant that Ruby was about to come home, that the past had been forgiven (if not forgotten).  The more DI Grace and her team learn about Ruby's case the more red flags the case raises, and it soon becomes clear that they are indeed chasing a serial kidnapper who seems to kidnap his victim and them slowly lose interest.  Any serial case is challenging, but it seems as though Detective Superintendent Ceri Harwood is determined to stop Helen turning the case into another feather in her cap - even if it means ignoring the evidence and the gut instincts of a very experienced detective.

I have really been enjoying the DI Grace novels and I was (probably completely irrationally) thrilled to see that there is another book due for release at the end of the year!  One of the appeals for me is definitely the fast paced action and punchy chapters, and in the case of The doll's house the rapidly switching views between Ruby and Helen - it really ratchets up the tension and keeps you glued to your seat to see what happens next.  More so than the other books it "felt" like we were watching a high octane tv movie - except the action and drama plays out in your imagination rather than on the screen.  The main characters are gaining depth and becoming increasingly familiar, like old friends, while the new characters are adding depth and a reality to the story.

This series will not appeal to all crime and thriller writers because the material is rather dark and preys on your primal fears - how would any of us cope if we were kidnapped and kept completely at the whim of our captor?  Ruby is a particularly engaging character and through her we experience some of the most primal of emotions and survival pressures - do anything to stay alive, fight when you can, give up if you must.  A guilty pleasure that kept me on the edge of my seat - wanting (and getting) more.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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