Thursday, September 18, 2014

Eeny meeny by M.J. Arlidge

It starts with a young woman who stumbles out of the woods with an unbelievable story and a terrible burden.  For Detective Inspector Helen Grace and her team it seems like a relatively open and shut case of a young woman killing her boyfriend, but then they discover the place where Amy and Sam were kept and it becomes clear that it will not be a clear cut case after all.  No matter how unbelievable it seems Amy and Sam were held captive, faced with the choice of who was going to walk away.  It seems like it might be an isolated incident, but then more people go missing and it becomes clear that they are dealing with a serial murderer, and in this case it is the rarest serial murderer of all - a woman.

Helen and her team are in a race against time to discover the identity of the women who is taking people from their everyday lives, isolating them in a hopeless situation and then forcing them to play a game of eeny meeny miney mo to decide who gets to die and who gets to walk away alive - alive, but changed forever.  The cases are tricky because they are isolated and because they have to be careful to keep the story out of the press, not an easy thing to do when a determined reporter is stalking the story and Helen.  As the number of victims begins to grow, Helen begins to get inside the head of the killer, and what she discovers leaves her feeling unbalanced - because she knows the killer, but not the reason why.  As the pressure mounts to solve the case, Helen will have to face her demons, but she wont be alone because her team has their share of demons.

Eeny meeny is a fast paced adrenaline rush of a murder mystery, driving forward towards a mind-blowing ending that will leave you totally satisfied with this intelligent and absorbing mystery.  The concept is amazing, a twisted story that you can easily see played out on the big (or not so big) screen, a perfectly balanced and played out story that had me hooked from the beginning and kept me hooked until the end.  Not a small read, at 421 pages, I ended up staying up for more than an hour past my usual bedtime so I could finish the book in one day, because I didn't want to leave Helen and her team without knowing what the ending was!

One of the strengths of Eeny meeny is the fact that no one on the team is perfect - from top cop down there is something completely human about each member of the team.  Helen is wound tight and finds release through an unexpected avenue, Mark is hitting the bottle after losing his wife and daughter, and the other members of the team all have their own challenges and imperfections to face.  The killer is also not straight forward, not just because she is a woman, but also because her motivation is deeply seated in her psyche and it just makes sense once it is revealed.  This is not a book for the feint hearted, not because it is particularly gruesome or graphic, but rather because it pushes you to think about what you would do in the same position - would you be the brave one who sacrifices their own life so their loved one can survive?

I was very excited to see that there is a sequel already, with Pop goes the weasel released in September 2014 - which means that I don't have to wait long to see what is next for Helen and the team.  In the past I have picked up and discarded quite a few British crime novels because there is either too much information about the British justice system which bogs down the story and makes it really slooooowwww, or there is not enough detail and it becomes difficult for someone who is not from Britain to follow the story because the abbreviations don't make sense.  Arlidge has found the perfect balance between pace, description, and action - I would not think it an unflattering comment to say he could be the British James Patterson, or at least have the international appeal Patterson does.  An exciting new series to sink your teeth into, and hopefully there will be many more books to come from Arlidge.

If you like this book then try:
  • 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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