Reviewsday: Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

Sam is asleep. I could kill him now. His face is turned from me – it wouldn't be hard. Would he stir if I moved? Try and stop me? Or would he just be glad that this nightmare is over?

9781405914871There's a lot to be said for a gripping opening. There's a lot more to be said for an opening that sets the pace for the whole novel to come. Eeny Meeny gripped me by the throat, and has not let go long after I've turned the last page.

This is M J Arlidge's debut novel, the start of the DI Helen Grace series, and it is a heart-stopper. Grace herself is a fantastically powerful female lead character, reminiscent of Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, whose strength and resilience are a direct result of her damaged past. In fact, each character has their flaws and wounds completely bared to the reader, and we get to watch as they learn to cope or are crushed by what life brings.

But really, it's the plot that will keep you coming back for more. A sadistic killer is kidnapping victims two-by-two, imprisoning them together with a gun, and these simple instructions: to survive, kill your partner. And after holding out for a few days, with no food and no hope of escape, that gun sure does start to look enticing...

Full of thrills and twists to satisfy even the most demanding crime fiction audience, Eeny Meeny will keep you hooked to the very last page. I found myself hungrily falling for all of the tiny clues left behind, guessing which way the story was going to twist next, only to have him throw something completely new and unexpected in my path.

9781405914963His second novel, Pop Goes the Weasel, is currently taunting me from my bookshelf. I'll let you all know how it goes...