All Fall Down (DI Helen Grace #9) by M J Arlidge

“History is just one person’s side of the story.”

I have been devouring this series since the first book was published in 2014 and have reviewed numbers two and three on my blog previously – Pop Goes the Weasel and The Doll’s House . Although it isn’t necessary to read the books in order, I have loved watching the character of Helen Grace develop and learning more about her story as the series goes on. The first in the series is Eeny Meeny if you haven’t started the journey yet (I am so jealous if you haven’t!) – it’s only £3.99 on kindle at the moment which is a total bargain!

What the blurb says:

“You have one hour to live.”

Those are the only words on the phone call. Then they hang up. Surely, a prank? A mistake? A wrong number? Anything but the chilling truth… That someone is watching, waiting, working to take your life in one hour.

But why?

The job of finding out falls to DI Helen Grace: a woman with a track record in hunting killers. However, this is a case where the killer seems to always be one step ahead of the police and the victims.

With no motive, no leads, no clues – nothing but pure fear – an hour can last a lifetime…

My thoughts:

This has to be one of Arlidge’s more chilling ideas – although I seem to think that every time I read one of his books! Can you imagine? When Justin receives this call, in the lift as he is leaving work one evening, he doesn’t know what to think. If it was just the words, perhaps he would have leaned towards the prank theory, but as the lift mysteriously stops whilst the caller delivers their message, he is understandably rattled. And rightly so…

When Callum gets this call, he is given an even more chilling message – if that’s possible: “You have one hour to live… unless, you’d like to trade your death for somebody else’s…” Helen quickly realises that the killer is targeting a particular group of people. This group were kidnapped as young adults doing their Duke of Edinburgh award at school and one did not survive the experience. The murders also coincide with one of this group, Maxine Pryce, publishing One Dark Night – their story of that time. Surely it all has to be linked? Could Daniel King, the perpetrator from all those years ago be back for a second try? If so, he’s only just beginning…

Our favourite characters are back to join Helen for her 9th outing. Grace Simmons reappears in this story as the boss who always has Helen’s back, although Helen is worried about her because she is ‘anxious and distracted…’ Could she be keeping secrets too? Emilia, the journalist everyone loves to hate is of course determined to be centre stage and appears to have found a weak link to exploit in Helen’s team. DC Charlie Brooks is massively pregnant and is torn between wanting to be at home with her husband and daughter, and being at the forefront of the action with Helen. There really is plenty of tension in this instalment from all angles.

This part of the story also sees Helen in a relationship – which, if you’ve read from the beginning, is a Big Step: “Finally, she had found someone who could keep up with her”. Unsurprisingly however, the path of true love is not destined to run smooth. Joseph is keeping secrets, and if there’s one thing Helen is good at, it’s sniffing out secrets.

This is yet another brilliantly plotted, twisty turny thriller from the master of the genre. I’ve said it before, but I do hope that we see DI Helen Grace on our screens at some point, and it goes without saying, but I do hope book number ten is not too far away!

“There is always a price to be paid for your actions…”

Links:

Amazon.

Goodreads.

Waterstones.

I would like to thank both Net Galley and Orion Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Pop Goes the Weasel by M. J Arlidge

Pop

This is the second book in the new DI Helen Grace series which started with the publication of Eeny Meeny in May 2014 and which was talked about ALL over the bookternet, so of course I had to read that one first. I was completely hooked and ended up reading both books in three days. Huge thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

NB: This second book gives away a lot of the plot of the first one, so DO read them in order if you haven’t read either yet… I’ve not included any spoilers in my review, just in case.

What the blurb says:

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…

Eeny Meeny explored a truly horrific idea: two people are kidnapped and kept in complete isolation. Only one can be released by using the gun provided on the other. Pop Goes the Weasel is set a few months later whilst the characters are still dealing with the aftermath: ‘There had been many who’d called for her to be stripped of her badge. For acting alone… for deliberately misleading fellow officers…’

This story is slightly less horrific and violent than Eeny Meeny but still gory in the extreme: ‘The top lolled lazily backwards, revealing the legend “Evill” written in dark crimson on the underside. It was the perfect introduction to the box’s awful contents. Lying within, in a nest of dirty newspaper, was a human heart’.

Both books are extremely fast paced – there is no getting bored here! They absolutely race along with any number of twists and turns along the way. Based in Southampton, this story is intricately plotted and Arlidge begins to further develop the character of Helen Grace for us. This is no one dimensional fictional detective; Helen Grace is a seriously complex character. Whether she is entirely likeable is questionable, but that doesn’t seem to matter in the least.

We meet many of the same characters from the first novel and get to know them just a little bit more –Tony and Charlie are just great. Each character has their own backstory – that of the killer being no exception. One victim’s wife particularly got under my skin – she irritated the hell out of me, in a completely good way! ‘Because he’s my husband. The head of the family. I am his helpmeet and I support him in any way I can, but it’s his duty to correct us when we require it’. I mean. AAAGGGGHHHH!

The chapters are short and hard-hitting. In theory this means you can easily dip in and out of the novel. In reality, it just makes it harder to put it down! I was convinced I knew what was coming on more than one occasion and was (as in the first novel), reassuringly wrong in every case. Arlidge poses some serious questions about the nature of good versus evil here, and the story stayed with me long after I’d finished the book. I’m only grateful that he is proving to be a hugely prolific author – the third in the series is due out next month, and the fourth in September; I can’t wait to read more.

Eeny Meeny is available on kindle for only £3.49: Eeny Meeny: DI Helen Grace 1

And paperback for only £3.85: Eeny Meeny: DI Helen Grace 1

Pop Goes the Weasel is £2.99 on kindle: Pop Goes the Weasel: DI Helen Grace 2

And paperback for £3.85: Pop Goes the Weasel: DI Helen Grace 2

Part 3 – The Dolls House – can be preordered on kindle for release 12th February for £4.31: The Doll’s House: DI Helen Grace 3

And part 4 – Liar Liar for £3.99 for release 10th September: Liar Liar: DI Helen Grace 4