Tuesday, 10 May 2016
Murder Month - Little Boy Blue
In this, the fifth DI Helen Grace series, DI Helen Grace and her team are called to investigate a murder at a BDSM club. It's obvious that this was't a sex game gone wrong. But when the victim is revealed to Helen, the case becomes too close to home and, hiding her connection to the victim, Helen must try and keep her head to investigate this case.
But with in-fighting between two of her officers, a boss that might have an unhealthy obsession with her, and a killer who seems to be one step ahead, can Helen solve this case? Or will this be her fall from grace?
Like I said in the previous paragraph, this is the fifth book in the series. A fact I didn't know this I was a good way into the story. And while you can read this as a standalone up to a point, this book does have connections to the previous books in the series so you might want to go back and start with Eeny Meeny and work your way through.
This story is a weird beast. There were elements of this I liked and elements I had serious problems with.
Let's start with the positives. This book was fast paced and moved at a good speed. The chapters are short - very James Patterson - and this felt like something was happening, even when you were going "Why are we reading about this?", even though you suspected that this was going to effect the ending of the book. It had a level of grit and it showed that the author worked hard to get details right and I haven't read a book that tackled BDSM before (it's always touched upon in some crime books I have read/watched but never tackled properly).
The negatives I will try and keep equally brief. I didn't like most of the characters and their attitudes. Most I felt didn't feel "right" and those that were, I felt were pure backstabbers - not something I felt would represent the Police in a respectable light. For example, there was one character who tried to do something to another (who fought back!). Later, out of pettiness, the first character decides to do something that could and will destroy the other character, and I found this unforgivable.
There were times I fear the story became predictable and if you are a seasoned crime reader, you might suspect where the plot might be going.
Also, I wasn't the biggest fan of the reader in this story. I'm not sure why - nothing wrong with Elizabeth Bower's reading. But I seem to prefer her when she was reading faster-paced scenes. When the pace slowed, I lost connection with the story.
But my main issue was that this book is a two-parter. The continuation of this story arc will go into the next book - Hide and Seek (out this coming September) - and I feel that this is a very cheap trick. Why wasn't these two stories written as one longer novel? And with the way this book ended, I can't see any way the author can undo the damage he's caused to his characters. I fear he might have boxed himself into a corner...
But, like I said before, I dived into this without knowing this was the fifth book in the series so I might be missing a trick that the author has pulled off in previous books...
If you are a fan of MJ Arlidge or the other DI Helen Grace books, you will devour this. Not come across this author before (barring Six Degrees of Assassination), I would say go back to the series start with Eeny Meenie and take it from there. But be warned, this series will not be everyone's cup of tea nor is it for the faint-hearted.