Review: Hide and Seek by M.J. Arlidge

Wednesday 7 September 2016
Title: Hide and Seek
Author: M.J. Arlidge
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 8th September 2016
Pages: 373
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
After the huge cliffhanger at the end of Little Boy Blue I could not wait for the release of Hide and Seek to continue with the story of DI Helen Grace and to find out just how the hell she was going to get herself out of the mess she had found herself in. That mess being her imprisonment in Holloway prison awaiting trial for crimes that she didn't commit. This book could be read as a standalone but as it's the culmination of everything that Arlidge has been building up to from day one, I would definitely recommend reading the series in order.

I had this book read in less than a day because, cliche I know, I just couldn't put it down. I actually did put it down to eat and try and watch TV but that soon got abandoned as I just kept picking my book back up for 'one more chapter'. If I had to describe Hide and Seek to somebody I would say Bad Girls meets Wentworth (though sadly, not nearly as brutal). Much of the action does take place inside Holloway prison with Helen's friend and colleague Charlie on the outside trying to prove her innocence. It is an incredibly atmospheric read because Arlidge's descriptions are so vivid and his characters are brought to life on the page. I actually felt as if I was in the prison myself at times and it was extremely unnerving.

Helen's fear is palpable and with her being a police officer behind bars, you know that danger is never far away as she faces animosity not just from those she's sharing a prison block with (some of whom she had a hand in putting there) but also from the prison officers themselves. I'm not going to allude to the story too much except to say that this book contains an absolutely brilliant murder mystery alongside the crusade of Charlie on the outside attempting to help her friend. It's an unpredictable read in the sense that I never knew what was coming, and had no idea just what tricks and twists Arlidge had up his sleeve. Hide and Seek is without a doubt one of the best books in this series, perhaps even the best.

The whole Helen Grace series would work great as a television series but Hide and Seek is the book I want to see on the small screen the most. It would make for absolutely gripping viewing and even as I read I knew exactly who I would cast for some of the roles, especially the role of one particular villain but for me to expand on that would completely give the game away. Sometimes when I read a book I zero in on one person as the bad guy and become almost fixated on them, well, this time around Arlidge's delivered one hell of a brilliant reveal that I didn't see coming. Perhaps some might, but I didn't and that's why I enjoyed the book so much.

It's obvious that this is the book that Arlidge has been building up to and I am annoyed that I have finished it because I am already so impatient for more. It's refreshing to read a series that doesn't just stick with the same formula book after book. It seems like only yesterday that Eeny Meeny was released and yet here we are at book six. I hope that there is plenty more to come because this really is a brilliant series but, Arlidge is such a phenomenal storyteller that I wouldn't hesitate to read anything that he writes and so I can't wait to see what he brings us next (which, according to Amazon is another Helen Grace novel in 2017). If you are yet to discover this series then I hate you because you are in for a real treat and if you are reading this book having already read Little Boy Blue then you will not be disappointed. An absolutely brilliant read that I cannot recommend enough.

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