Review: Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

Wednesday, 1 April 2015
Title: Eeny Meeny (D.I. Helen Grace, #1)
Author: M.J. Arlidge
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 8th May 2014
Pages: 448
ISBN: 9781405914871
Source: Won
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
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 . . .

I have had Eeny Meeny on my TBR for a long time, and despite having already read the subsequent books in the Helen Grace series, and therefore knowing a lot about the plot of Eeny Meeny, it was by no means any less enjoyable because of that.

I do love a crime fiction story that is that little bit twisted (or massively twisted in this case) and the plot in Eeny Meeny was, dare I say it, a very exciting and enjoyable one. The premise being that somebody is abducting pairs of victims, imprisoning them with no means of escape and leaving them with an impossible choice: kill or be killed. There can only be one survivor. DI Helen Grace is disbelieving when the first survivor dramatically turns up, with a tale that Helen just cannot believe to be true. Yet it isn't long before Helen realises just what she's dealing with, and alongside hunting down an unseen monster, she faces some quite drastic developments in her own life along the way.

It's hard to find anything to say that hasn't been said in the hundreds of other reviews, but stories such as the one in Eeny Meeny are compelling from the word go. A truly haunting and thrilling opening demanding that you read on, desperate to know just how things are going to develop, which of the pairs will actually commit murder, and how this will have an effect on their lives. I was particularly interested in the legal ramifications, and how the police would treat the 'survivors' of this rather sick game whilst at the same time wondering just who the hell was behind it all and why, with little clues being drip-fed to the reader along the way.

Arlidge is a brilliant writer, one that clearly knows the tricks of the trade as he had me gripped to the book throughout. Readers of the blog will know I am a quick reader anyway, but I had this one finished in no time at all, the suspense was kept up literally until the final page and had I not already read the following books in this series, the ending of Eeny Meeny would have had me picking up Pop Goes the Weasel straightaway. It's incredibly difficult to elaborate as to why, but the identity of the kidnapper makes for some heart-stopping developments towards the end of the book, and even though I knew a lot of what was going to happen, it was still so enjoyable to read. I said in my review for The Doll's House that Arlidge is one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction, and so for those who are yet to discover his work, do so now.

4/5

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