THE DOLL’S HOUSE
CBTB Rating: 5/5
I’ve been happily singing the praises of M. J. Arlidge’s DI Helen Grace series for a while now, and the upcoming third novel in this series proves why I’ll be doing it for a while longer. THE DOLL’S HOUSE (Berkley/NAL) is every bit as suspenseful, entertaining, and gripping as its predecessors (EENY MEENY and POP GOES THE WEASEL). Simply put, M. J. Arlidge has written a series that is pure adrenaline-filled, page-turning entertainment.
In THE DOLL’S HOUSE, a young woman’s disappearance coincides with a morbid discovery: a family at the beach stumbles upon a woman’s corpse buried in the sand. The top officials at the local police department are unwilling to admit these incidents might be connected, but our favorite detective Helen Grace immediately recognizes the pattern. Once again, Helen is on the hunt for a serial killer, and in a race against the clock to save the missing woman’s life.
This story has all the elements readers have come to know and love from M. J. Arlidge: short, taught chapters, a strong female lead and her struggle against personal demons, and a wickedly clever and twisted killer. No matter how many serial killers Arlidge pits his leading lady against, it will never get old to me – I love following Helen’s clever detective work as she rushes headlong into these twisted cases. Combine her sharp mind with her no-nonsense attitude, and DI Helen Grace is consistently one of my favorite crime fiction protagonists.
Readers will find the case presented in this story particularly easy to get invested in: Arlidge gives us plenty of time living in the mind of the abducted woman, and we find ourselves on the edge of our seats as she struggles to endure captivity. This story envelops you not only in the mind of the abductee, but in the unending grief of her family. You will be flipping pages as quickly as you can, hoping against hope that Helen will save the day.
One of my favorite things about this series is how slowly and precisely Arlidge reveals new dimensions of Helen's character. In THE DOLL’S HOUSE, we are privy to a new side of Helen, as she struggles to find a balance between her professionalism and her growing romantic interest in an individual involved with this case. Couple this new interest with a quasi-romantic figure from her past, and Helen's personal life is almost as tumultuous as the case she is trying to solve. As if she didn't have enough on her plate, Helen will again find herself at odds with top police officials and one pesky journalist, and you'll cheer for her as she takes them all on.
This is a fantastic series, and I highly recommend it! I'm already looking forward to book four in the series, LIAR LIAR, which will be released later this spring. This series does need to be read in order, so pick up your copies of EENY MEENY and POP GOES THE WEASEL as soon as possible, and you’ll be ready for THE DOLL’S HOUSE to be released in February.
*Disclaimer: I am an employee of Penguin Random House.