Richard and Judy Review: Eeny Meeny – M. J. Arlidge

Richard and Judy Review: Eeny Meeny – M. J. Arlidge

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“In the beginning a young girl emerges, traumatised, filthy and emaciated, from a forest. She is close to death; clearly she has been without food, warmth of water for many days.”

Richard’s review

Eeny Meeny’s plot is subtle and complex. Arlidge weaves a story that at first seems impossible to solve.

In the beginning a young girl emerges, traumatised, filthy and emaciated, from a forest. She is close to death; clearly she has been without food, warmth of water for many days. Her story, when she is finally discovered wandering in terror, is virtually unbelievable. She’s been abducted along with her boyfriend by a complete stranger, a woman, and imprisoned in an abandoned building. There is no light, no food, no heat, no water. All there is, is a gun. One gun between them, along with the message that only if one of them kills the other will the survivor be released.

It’s a horrific scenario. What does the girl do? She knows either she or her boyfriend will perish. So does she save her life – or her conscience?

This identical murder plot is enacted again and again by the sadistic killer. More and more couples are abducted, imprisoned, and forced to face this dreadful decision – to kill their loved one and escape, or take the bullet altruistically themselves?

DI Helen Grace, her morals so profoundly certain when it comes to policing, and yet so flawed in her private life, begins to realise that this whole nightmarish scenario is actually her own fault. She’s being punished for a terrible event that happened in her own childhood – a family trauma she’s spent her life trying to forget.

A compulsive read.

“She regularly visits a professional Dominator, who whips her, and only through that weird relationship can she feel relief.”

Judy’s review

This is a terrific read; it’ll keep you up turning the pages until the early hours, biting your nails.

It’s a debut novel, which makes it even more remarkable. Eeny Meeny has an assurance and confidence that many a seasoned writer might envy.

This is a compulsive thriller, no-holds-barred, creepy, dark and fast-moving. The protagonist, DI Helen Grace, is a dedicated policewoman with mysterious and traumatic past. Right from the start you know she is flawed and strange, with desperate sexual needs which are rooted in the perception of her own childhood. She feels the need to be punished, and that dictates her sexual desires.

She regularly visits a professional Dominator, who whips her, and only through that weird relationship can she feel relief.

But what has happened to Helen Grace in her childhood to make her not just a principled and dedicated cop, but has also led to her involvement in the most bizarre series of murder investigations that one can possibly imagine?

We don’t find out until the end of the book when a shocking twist reveals not only what happened to Helen long ago (and it’s not what you increasingly suspect) but also the motive for the terrible sadistic murders she is called upon to solve.

Arlidge is a strong new voice in thriller crime fiction. Brave, fearless, and quite terrifying. We don’t know if the author is a man or a woman – initials are a common writer’s ruse – but I suspect she’s female. Surely she couldn’t know Helen Grace so intimately without sharing her gender.

Press reviews

Here are a selection of the reviews for Eeny Meeny

“M. J. Arlidge has created a genuinely fresh heroine in DI Helen Grace… he spares us none of the dark details, weaving them together into a tapestry that chills to the bone “

Daily Mail

“A gripping debut…Helen Grace [is] a flawed but winning heroine…The pages fly by.”

USA Today

“What a great premise! . . . Eeny Meeny is a fresh and brilliant departure from the stock serial killer tale. And Detective Inspector Helen Grace is one of the greatest heroes to come along in years.”

Jeffery Deaver