Hide and Seek by M J Arlidge (Helen Grace #6)

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Synopsis: AFTER Little Boy Blue FIND OUT WHAT AWAITS DI HELEN GRACE IN THE SIXTH THRILLER BY BESTSELLING AUTHOR M. J. ARLIDGE

Kat’s Rating: 6/5…oh no I can’t do that so 5/5 will have to suffice!


**NOTE – Do NOT read this review if you are planning on reading the series in order (which you really should) or are not up to date as this will inevitably contain spoilers!!!***

Kat’s Review: Oh my goodness, I literally do NOT know where to start. I think the first thing I need to point out is that although some people will say this can be read as a stand alone I COMPLETELY DISAGREE! You really do need the previous book and in my opinion the whole series to really feel the impact of this latest release.  We rejoin Helen Grace, except this time she is behind bars and awaiting her trial in Holloway Prison for murders that she didn’t commit. That’s the first thing that set my teeth on edge, it almost gave me a bad taste in my mouth…but in a good way if you know what I mean.

I was just gobsmacked, here she is the leading character and formidable DI Helen Grace and she is living alongside some of those she has put behind bars herself. The whole setting is enough to make you squirm with the feeling of hopelessness at Helen’s situation. However nothing is as easy or straightforward as that where Helen is concerned and being in prison only highlights that. Helen’s stay is far from easy and we see her battle to just stay alive as there are plenty of people who would like to finish her once and for all.

Thankfully there is one person left batting for Helen and that’s her colleague Charlie Brooks. While Helen is trying to stay alive Charlie is desperately trying to find the proof that Helen is innocent. Meanwhile a grisly murder happens within Holloway and it’s definitely on the inside. With so much going on there is no time for the reader to do anything (such as work or other important things) other than turn the pages. This was so well written I could almost feel myself getting claustrophobic from the time inside those prison walls. The ante is upped as more and more story threads are pulled at and there is no let up in this until the very last page.

Relentless in pace and a real nail biter, M J Arlidge has outdone himself with this terrifying and gripping book. I certainly didn’t want to put it down and think fans will be delighted with this latest instalment. My only question now is…”what next for Helen Grace?”. Whatever comes next whether it be more of Helen or a new character I will be itching to read it as M J Arlidge has just shot to the top of my ‘Must Read’ authors. An outstanding book, and an amazing series that I really think if you haven’t already you should read!

Little Boy Blue by M J Arlidge (Helen Grace #5)

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Synopsis: 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 . . .

KAT’S RATING: 5/5

KAT’S REVIEW: I have been reading the Helen Grace Series from the beginning and was so looking forward to the next installment. As soon as I started I was straight back into Helen’s world and was absorbed within a matter of a few chapters. One thing I will point out is that although you may well be able to read this as a standalone book, it is made so much better by the fact that I have been following the series. You have a real sense of the characters and their history and how each path has been crossed with other people. Helen is an outstanding character and as many readers will know she has her own secrets which will put her firmly in the firing line in this latest book.

A body is found to start us off, only this time it’s found at a Southampton nightclub which was hosting a fetish ball and as soon as Helen arrives she realises that she has her own personal connection to the murder. This alone makes for an outstanding read, but add in all the other factors such as the return of favourite characters and I knew this would be a full5 star read and I wasn’t even halfway.

Helen’s superior Gardam made for such a good thread to the story I had no idea where the story would go with it until it smacked me around the face (I didn’t see that coming). We also see Helen’s juniors Sanderson and Brooks fighting for their position as Helen’s right hand woman. The murders continue to increase and every plot thread added to the tension and ratcheted up the nerve endings. By the time the last quarter of the book was upon me, all thoughts of dinner, washing and anything else remotely house related went straight out the window. The real kicker was the ending. It was a real OMG moment and I was FURIOUS that Arlidge has left us hanging. It was so good it was bad (if you know what I mean). All I can say is I am literally on tenterhooks waiting for the next book which is due for release on 8 September 2016. An absolutely brilliant book which I think is Arlidge’s best yet and I cannot recommend this series highly enough.

Liar, Liar by M J Arlidge (Helen Grace #4)

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Synopsis: 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…

Kat’s Rating: 5/5

Kat’s Review: Having only recently (from Nov 14) starting to read M J Arlidge books this series is brilliant and fast becoming a firm favourite. This is book 4 in the series and features DI Helen Grace who is a fantastic character and one that I have been looking forward to reading about again. Alongside Helen is her colleague Charlie who is also another favourite of mine and I think the series works well with both of them in it.

Charlie is back at work following the birth of her daughter and we see her juggling both career and Motherhood. In addition Helen is working alongside a new boss who I really like and think he makes a good fit it the series. When they are called to the scene of a fire, it’s clear pretty quickly that this was no accident. The reader sees glimpses of the killer and their rambled thoughts by way of a Blog, and these small snippets actually worked really well.

I must say that I am a little squeamish when it comes to fire and MJA does a cracking job of being extremely descriptive when writing the scenes of the victims in the moments when they realise what they are faced with. The story seemed to pick up extreme pace for the last quarter and I had no idea what was going on or who was responsible. The one thing I will say is that I had a shock when it was revealed who it was but in a good way as I love that surprise element.

However there are two loose threads that have been left wide open meaning the next book is bound to be explosive. My absolute favourite thing happened with this book. Just when you think it’s all sorted out that very last sentence that makes you shout out “Nooooo”. Yep, that! M J Arlidge you have seriously raised the bar with this latest instalment and I am literally on tenterhooks waiting to see what the next book will bring. Thankfully we don’t have too long to wait as ‘Little Boy Blue’ is due out in March 2016. This was a tense and heart stopping read that got better with each page!

The Doll’s House by M J Arlidge (Helen Grace #3)

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Synopsis: 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 hiller’s motivation, she begins to realize that she’s in a desperate race against time . . .

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

My Review:  I’ve only recently discovered M J Arlidge and Helen Grace and must say I am certainly a fan now that’s for sure. Helen Grace is a fabulous character and one that you root for because you know she doesn’t care about superiors or the rules, she works on gut instinct. However, I had some reservations with this latest release as I knew that following the last book it appeared her colleague Charlie was no longer working with her. Thankfully though, Charlie appears and I am hoping it’s not the last we see of her. We also see her new boss Ceri Harwood who I instantly disliked and just knew she was there to cause trouble.

The case for Helen involves missing girls, and it seems another girl has now become a victim. The victim gets to tell her story too and we see her go though some harrowing times as she faces her killer on a regular basis. In a weird way, I liked the killer and how he was portrayed. It seemed much more realistic for some reason and I really believed that the guy was a complete nut job. It seems like Helen has her hands full and we see the full extent of the problems she faces with both work and her personal life,

The writing flows well and as with the other MJA books I read they are so easy to get absorbed into that before you know it you are nearly done. There was plenty to keep me entertained in this book and I am so pleased that Charlie appears alongside Helen at times, maybe we get to see her in future books? Who knows? I couldn’t get along with some of the newer characters that now work with Helen but I’m hoping that won’t matter by book 4!

This was certainly another cracking read and it makes me look forward to reading book 4 in the series which is due out in a matter of months (September 2015).

Pop Goes The Weasel by M J Arlidge (Helen Grace #2)

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Synopsis: 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…

My Rating: 4/5

My Review: I only recently stumbled across M J Arlidge and after reading his debut for this series ‘Eeny Meeny’, I wanted to get cracking with book 2. DI Helen Grace is a bit of a force to be reckoned with. The first book gives you a real insight into her past, however only parts of her character at present are revealed leaving me with questions at the end of book 1. The story in book 2 is rather gruesome and when a man’s body is found in a house with its heart cut out, I knew this wasn’t a book to be read over my lunch!

We also see the return of Helen’s colleague Charlie although things are rather stilted following the events in Book 1. I really like Charlie and think she makes a great addition to the book and series. The storyline continues with more bodies, more gore and more problems for DI Grace. It’s really fast paced and I read this in just over a day.

I liked seeing more of the personal lives of the people involved, and am eagerly anticipating what book 3 will bring. There are a number of things in Helen’s life which are still unresolved and it will be interesting to see where the author takes them. There is a certain intensity to these books that makes me gripped and the writing flows wonderfully making it a very engaging and absorbing read. I’m hugely looking forward to Book 3 entitled The Dolls House which is due for release in February 2015.

Eeny Meeny by M J Arlidge (Helen Grace #1)

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Synopsis: The girl emerged from the woods, barely alive. Her story was beyond belief. But it was true. Every dreadful word of it. Days later, another desperate escapee is found – and a pattern is emerging. Pairs of victims are being abducted, imprisoned then faced with a terrible choice: kill or be killed. Would you rather lose your life or lose your mind? 

Detective Inspector Helen Grace has faced down her own demons on her rise to the top. As she leads the investigation to hunt down this unseen monster, she learns that it may be the survivors – living calling cards – who hold the key to the case.

 And unless she succeeds, more innocents will die . . .

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

My Review: Another book, another series, I just love it. A couple of my followers kept mentioning M J Aldridge and I relented and brought another book to add to the ever increasing to read pile. I’m very glad that I did as I read this and loved it. DI Helen Grace is a great character with some serious issues. These are highlighted from the start and it made me more intrigued about her. In addition to Helen we meet her two colleagues Mark and Charlie. Mark has his own issued and Helen does everything she can to keep him on the straight and narrow. Meanwhile Charlie is just trying to find her feet and prove herself to her boss Helen. All three characters were really engaging and highly enjoyable to read about.

The storyline was extremely catchy with murder victims being taken in pairs and left to die alone, hungry and scared. Their only choice is kill or be killed. The body count is high and it seems that there is more to this plot line than first meets the eye. Helen Grace seems to be very much at the front and centre and slowly more and more layers of Helens life are revealed leading to many question in my own head, as well as wondering who on earth would want to do that to her.

The violence is pretty graphic and ramped up with the complications between the three colleagues I was hooked from the start. Although Helen was readable there were still a few unanswered questions about her even at the end of the book. Having said that, for a debut novel it was a cracking read and I have already gone on to start book 2. I think this is a series which will definitely get better and better and the author clearly likes to reveal titbits rather than fling all the character info in within the first book. A definite recommendation from me and I can’t wait to get started on book 2!