M.J. Arlidge’s “Eeny Meeny” was an entertaining read and introduced the world to a new star character in the world of thrillers. “Pop Goes the Weasel” is the second book in the series featuring Helen Grace and I was happy to have an advance review copy of the novel to read and enjoy.
Detective Inspector Helen Grace returned to her job quickly after the violent conclusion of her previous case only to find herself thrust immediately into another serial murder case. When the body of a middle age man is found dead and mutilated, the murder is at first thought to be an isolated incident. It becomes much more serious when the man’s heart is delivered to his wife by a courier. The terror continues when the cycle is repeated and Grace knows that she has a serial killer on her hands.
As the body count grows, greater pressure is put on Grace to bring the killer to justice as quickly as possible. The fact that her team seems on the verge of falling apart and a journalist starts prying into her life and threatening to reveal some her darkest secrets only makes things harder for Grace. With the dark corners of her life being dug into the reporter, Grace must dig into the darker side of society as she hunts down the prostitute that is killing her clients and delivering their hearts to the families. The end game of the investigation may cost Grace not only her job but her life as well as she works to stop the reverse Jack the Ripper.
I thought that Helen Grace was a solid character to build a series around when I read “Eeny Meeny” and “Pop Goes the Weasel” did nothing to change my opinion of her. Grace has the qualities necessary to make her easily accessible and she seems at times both strong and vulnerable so that she comes across as well-rounded and not just character instead of a person. Arlidge goes out of his way to make her seem edgy by mixing in a little taste of “50 Shades of Grey” intrigue with her and this is the only part of her character that bothers me as it just comes across as forced and completely unnecessary. It seems to me as if Arlidge is trying to add another dimension to the character to try to win more readers but it just detracts from the rest of the story and is something that I would like to see go away in future books.
The story in this novel is ok but not anything special. The concept is not an original one but Arlidge puts enough of a spin on it to keep it interesting but not much more than a couple hour’s entertainment. There are several times in the story when a chapter or two is devoted to something happening to someone on Grace’s team that had little to no impact on the story and broke the flow of the narrative for no real purpose. I am not surprised that Arlidge works in television as the story reads more like a formulaic police procedural than a crime novel. That being said, “Pop Goes the Weasel” did keep my attention throughout and I will look forward to reading the next installment of the series. I did enjoy this novel more than “Eeny Meeny” and hope that they will only get better as they go forward.
I would like to thank Penguin Group and NetGalley for this advance review copy. “Pop Goes the Weasel” is scheduled for release in October.