Friday, December 4, 2015

Pop Goes the Weasel ~ M.J. Arlidge (earc) review [@mjarlidge @BerkleyNAL]

Pop Goes the Weasel: A Detective Helen Grace Thriller (#2)
October 6, 2015
416 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Find yesterday's review of Book 1 Eeny Meeny here
From the international bestselling author of Eeny Meeny comes the second thriller in the “truly excellent series”* featuring DI Helen Grace.

A man’s body is found in an empty house.
His heart has been cut out and delivered to his wife and children.

He is the first victim, and Detective Inspector Helen Grace knows he will not be the last. But why would a happily married man be this far from home in the dead of night?

The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse: a serial killer preying on family men who lead hidden double lives.

Helen can sense the fury behind the murders. But what she cannot possibly predict is how volatile this killer is—or what is waiting for her at the end of the chase…

*The Sun (UK)

If you haven't already read Eeny Meeny, the first Helen Grace novel, you're going to want to. Before reading this Pop Goes the Weasel.

Not because you can't reed this first, it's definitely possible. You will want to read Eeny Meeny, though, and it would be best to do so first as Pop Goes the Weasel definitely spoils most of that book's mystery.

Now that we have met Detective Inspector Helen Grace, learned some about her and her work team, it is time to join them in solving a new case. It works well that Pop does not pick up right after Eeny Meeny ends. After all that happened to the characters in that novel and the losses they suffered, we wouldn't have had such an enjoyable mystery without the time lapse.

The characters have, of course, not completely moved past what happened, but there has been enough of an interval for another crime and the investigation of it to take center stage.

I really like that we build on what we learned about Helen Grace's character in the first book. Here we not only learn even more about her, both new things and a deeper exploration of things discovered already. Even better is that we see the ramifications and the impact of that information, what both readers and the other characters now know, on both her personal and professional lives.

Helen's character does not take all of the focus, instead adding to the team's investigation of the murders. This mystery, like the first, makes great use of misdirection and false leads and the narrator shifts. The secondary characters in this book were even more enjoyable than in the first - both the new ones and the ones we had already met but got to know better. Their lives have something or someone in them that makes them unique and you are invested in them, in their happiness and safety, even if they're only a small part of the whole story.

MJ Arlidge is one of the few times I have noted an author's gender neutral name/pen name and liked it. While I now the author's first name (and gender), reading these two books, it was not obvious whether it was a male or female writer. Helen Grace is a strong, flawed, complex and interesting character.

Knowing the characters better now, having learned some things about Helen's past (and with that short preview), the day I am able to read Book 3 The Doll's House can't come fast enough!

received for review, from publisher, via NetGalley

1 comment:

  1. Good to know I shouldn't read them out of order...and that the series lives up to its potential in the second book!


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