Truth or Dare by M.J. Arlidge #bookreview #blogtour

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the new novel by M.J. Arlidge on my blog today, Turth or Dare. With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part.

Truth or Dare: Pre-order the nail-biting new Helen Grace thriller now by [M. J. Arlidge]

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A crimewave sweeps through the city and no-one is safe. An arson at the docks. A carjacking gone wrong. A murder in a country park. What connects all these crimes without causes, which leave no clues?

Detective Inspector Helen Grace faces the rising tide of cases which threatens to drown the city. But each crime is just a piece of a puzzle which is falling into place.

And when it becomes clear just how twisted and ingenious this web of crime is, D.I. Grace will realise that it may be impossible to stop it . . .

MY THOUGHTS

Helen Grace is back in M.J. Arlidge’s latest crime novel, Truth or Dare. Once again, Helen certainly isn’t given an easy ride. When I first started this series when the first book was released, Eeny Meeny, I knew it was going to be one I would be sticking with. I can’t believe that we’re now ten books in. With all the Helen Grace books, M.J. Arlidge always manages to create utterly gripping and unputdownable reads.

In this book, not only does Helen have to deal with a rise in crime in Southampton, but one of her colleagues, DS Hudson, is desperate to bring her down. This causes further tension in their team as Helen becomes aware of what is going on. It made me wonder just how far DS Hudson would be willing to go to achieve their goals and if Helen would be able to come out the other side this time. For all that she has been through over this series, it made me feel angry that someone would want to treat her like this. And of course, journalist Emilia Garanita is back on the scene and keen to find whatever she can on Helen to damage her career.

The current spate of rising crime is bothering Helen. There appears to be nothing to connect them, and they all seem to be just random attacks. If they are just random attacks, it makes it a much more terrifying prospect. It’s what makes this book such a tense read as well, as we have no idea will happen next.

Once again, M.J. Arlidge delivers on pace and tension, and his writing quickly absorbs you into the story. It feels as though Helen is on her own in this book, battling against a heavy storm that is coming her way.  Although all of M.J. Arlidge’s books are very dark, I think it makes the tone even darker.

M.J. Arlidge really does ratchet up the tension in Truth or Dare, especially as Helen begins to understand why these crimes have been happening. I really wanted to know what the link was, if there was a link, and when the revelations come, they are chilling.

I’m a huge, huge fan of this series. I’m always impressed at how M.J. Arlidge always manages to create another exciting, tense read. Reading these books makes you feel as if you’re discovering the series for the first time with each new book. The ending always leaves me desperately wanting the next book. Truth or Dare is another brilliant addition to the series!

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 24th June 2021

Print length: 367 pages

Truth or Dare is available to buy:

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You have one hour to live … All Fall Down by M.J. Arlidge #bookreview blog tour @mjarlidge @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be sharing my review of All Fall Down by M.J. Arlidge, the latest book in the DI Helen Grace series. With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

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“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

You’re just leaving work. You step into the lift, and you receive a phone call. On the other end of a line, a voice tells you, “You have one hour to live.” Then the call goes dead. This is what happens to Justin in the opening chapter of the new Helen Grace thriller by M.J. Arlidge, All Fall Down. He isn’t sure if the phone call was a callous prank, but he is nervous. And within the next hour, he is dead. But Justin isn’t the only intended victim of his killer.

M.J. Arlidge’s latest book in the Helen Grace series is tightly plotted, and I think it’s one of the best books in this series. When Helen is informed of Justin’s murder, it isn’t quite certain what they are facing, until a second murder takes place and a link is discovered. The victims were among a group of five teenagers who, several years ago, were kidnapped by a madman and barely escaped with their lives. Not all of them made it; one girl was tragically killed by their attacker. But now someone is coming after them. It was never clear if the man who did this to them survived that night after a fire ravaged his home. So why are they being targeted now all these years later?

All Fall Down hooks you in right from the first chapter. We hear from the first victim’s point of view, and M.J. Arlidge paints a vivid portrayal of just how scared they are. What I thought was the most interesting part of this novel was how M.J. Arlidge gradually revealed the backstory of the victim’s. We get to understand what they went through all those years ago, but as I was reading, I had that niggling sense of doubt that there was something they weren’t being entirely truthful about.

M.J. Arlidge kept me guessing as to what the real truth was as another victim turned up. One of the victims, Maxine, is releasing a book about their ordeal. As the book progresses M.J. Arlidge we get to read snippets from Maxine’s book. This did make me wonder why Maxine was choosing to publish their story when it seemed as though she hadn’t got permission from the rest of the group to tell their tale.

M.J. Arlidge delivers a dramatic finale as Helen Grace and her team finally work out who is behind the killings, and it turns into a race against time to track the killer down before they kill again. This is a series which continues to keep me entertained; I can’t believe that we’re on book nine. It doesn’t all that long ago when I first read Eeny Meeny. All Fall Down can be read as a stand-alone, but you’ll definitely want to read the rest of the books as well once you’ve read it.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 11th June 2020

Print length: 496 pages

All Fall Down is available to buy:

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Down to the Woods by M.J. Arlidge #bookreview

I’ve finally caught up on M.J. Arlidge’s DI Helen Grace series. I’m sharing my thoughts on the ninth book in the series, Down to the Woods on my blog today.

Down to the Woods: DI Helen Grace 8 (Detective Inspector Helen Grace) by [M. J. Arlidge]

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If you go down to the woods today, you better not go alone . . .

The last thing Tom Campbell remembers is camping in the New Forest with his girlfriend, Melissa. Now he is helpless, alone and consumed by fear, hunted through the woods by a sinister, masked figure…

When Tom’s body is found, displayed with grisly relish, Helen Grace takes the case. But before she can catch her breath, a second victim is taken – there’s a serial killer on the loose.

Something dark and deadly stalks the forest. Helen and her team must race against time to catch the perpetrator, before more blood is shed.

But the hunt will take Helen back into the eerie twilit woods – and this time she might not make it out alive.

MY THOUGHTS

In Down to the Woods, the eighth novel in M.J. Arlidge’s DI Helen Grace series, a killer is on the loose in the New Forest. DI Helen Grace is called to the scene after the body of a man is found hanging from a tree. It seems at first that this could be the work of an eco-warrior, as Helen and her team delve further into the man’s past. But then a woman is found in the same area, and this prompts belief that a sadistic killer is on the loose, who doesn’t care who their victims are. Unless they can find a connection between the victims, this will make it very hard to track the killer down.

What I love about these books is that M.J. Arlidge always keeps the pace turning up a notch and he uses short and snappy chapters. After reading the last book in the series a few weeks back, it had left me wondering how Helen and her team were getting on. There is also a new member of Helen’s team who M.J. Arlidge introduces us to, DS Joseph Hudson. It appears that he and Helen may have a future together, but if you’re a follower of this series, you will know that Helen and relationships don’t work well together. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops further. I think Helen deserves it after everything that she’s been through throughout the series.

Journalist, Emily Garanitia, is up to her usual tricks. You would think that she would have learned to have stepped back a little bit, after what happened to her in the previous novel. If anything, though, she seems more determined to break the rules to chase down a story, even if it means upsetting her boss. The only person who she seems to worry about is herself, and her own career prospects. I don’t particularly like her as a person, but she is compelling, and I wondered just how close she was going to get to the investigation. She’s always never far from Helen Grace.

DS Charlie Brooks is also in the spotlight in this novel. Her daughter is having night terrors at home, which are starting to have a negative impact on her work life. But Charlie’s relationship with Helen begins to improve again, and I really liked this aspect of the novel.

I don’t think this is my favourite of the series, but I would still definitely recommend reading the books in order, to get the most out of the characters and their individual stories. I’m looking forward to seeing what M. J. Arlidge has install for us next.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 20th September 2018

Print length: 473 pages

Down to the Woods is available to buy:

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DI Helen Grace series:

Eeny Meeny

Pop Goes the Weasel

The Doll’s House

Liar Liar

Little Boy Blue

Hide and Seek

Love Me Not

Down to the Woods

 

 

Love Me Not by M.J. Arlidge #bookreview

The Helen Grace series is another series I’ve fallen behind on. I’ve just caught up on the seventh book in the series, Love Me Not and I’m kicking myself that I haven’t got round to reading it sooner.

Love Me Not: DI Helen Grace 7 (Detective Inspector Helen Grace) by [M. J. Arlidge]

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A blood-red sunrise
Just after 7 AM DI Helen Grace stumbles on a dead woman lying in a country road. She has been brutally shot for no apparent reason.

Two hours later
At gunpoint a shopkeeper is forced to close up by two assailants. Before the police can get inside a single gunshot rings out.

A rampage of revenge?
Over one long day the town of Southampton is terrorized by two young killers who appear to be killing at random.

For DI Helen Grace, it’s a race against time. Uncover why they’re doing this and who’s next or always be a step behind – until the sun sets on this bloody killing spree.

MY THOUGHTS

Love Me Not by M.J. Arlidge takes place over a single day. A shocking series of crimes are about to take place in Southampton, and Helen Grace is on the hunt for a pair of terrifying killers. They kill without mercy and to them, it seems almost like a game. Helen and her team don’t have any idea how long this killing spree will last and how it’ll end. It becomes a race against time to track their suspects down before it is too late.

Whenever I pick up a book by M.J. Arlidge, I know that I’m going to race through it. He writes with urgency, and you can feel the tension on every single page as Helen races to find the killers. The killers in this book are terrifying, when we first meet them, they gave me chills, and I had to keep reading. I was rooting for Helen to find out who they were and bring them to justice. I have to admit that they did remind me of Bonnie and Clyde and there are a few references to them in this book.

Helen feels a lot more detached from the rest of her team in this book. I think before you read this book, it will definitely help to read the previous book, Hide and Seek, but it still works well as a stand-alone. You can see that she feels very much on her own, and she struggles to reconnect with her old friends. It’s difficult to talk further about the plot here without giving too much away and I don’t want to spoil it for you.

I always find at the end of each chapter in any of the books in this series; I’m always eager to read the next making M.J. Arlidge’s books very difficult to put down. Short pacy chapters keep the pace flying forward. The writing grabs you without any effort and pulls you straight into an action-packed read.

After finishing this book, it does make me wonder how Helen will feel towards her team in the future books on the series. I can understand why she is feeling the way she is, but it is also clear that her old friends are desperate to win back her approval and friendship. I think this may take time, but I hope that they will be able to get along again.

Love Me Not is another brilliant addition to this series, and I am looking forward to catching up on the next book. If you start reading this book, or any books in this series, make sure you have a lot of free time on your hands because you will want to get to the end as soon as possible. Riveting stuff!

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 21st September 2017

Print length: 352 pages

Love Me Not is available to buy:

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A Gift for Dying by M.J. Arlidge #bookreview blog tour @mjarlidge @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m absolutely delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for M.J. Arlidge’s first stand-alone novel A Gift for Dying. I’m a big, big fan of his Helen Grace books so I was really intrigued to see what he had come up with.

A Gift for Dying by [Arlidge, M. J.]

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With just one look, she knows how and when you will die . . . 

Nothing surprises Adam Brandt anymore. As a forensic psychologist, he’s seen and heard everything.

That is, until he meets Kassie.

Because she claims to have a terrible gift – with one look into your eyes, she can see when and how you will die.

Adam doesn’t believe her, obviously.

But then a serial killer starts wreaking havoc across the city, and only Kassie seems to know where he’ll strike next.

Against all his intuition, Adam starts to believe her.

He just doesn’t realise how dangerous this trust might be . . .

MY THOUGHTS

Being a big fan of the Helen Grace books, I was so excited to find out that M.J. Arlidge had a new stand-alone coming out and he explores a very interesting and scary premise. Kassie is a teenager who you wouldn’t want to come across. Kassie believes she has an incredible but terrifying gift, she can see exactly when and how you’re going to die, and there is very little she can do to prevent it. Her psychiatrist, Adam tries to understand what is going on inside her head, but as he gets to know the young girl better, he begins to wonder if there is perhaps any truth in her claims, and the closer he gets to her, the more danger he is putting himself in.

What I absolutely love about M.J. Arlidge’s writing, is that he never fails to grip me straight away. Following on in the same style as the Helen Grace series, A Gift for Dying is told in short, punchy chapters. The storyline is very different compared to his previous books; although it does partly follow a police procedural element, it is also set across the Pond in the United States, Chicago.

Kassie was a character who I wanted to get to the bottom of. Like Adam was to begin with, I too was sceptical of her claims, so it was fascinating to see their relationship develop. As Kassie herself became more deeply connected to the murders that were taking place in her home town, I did begin to wonder myself if she was more involved than she was letting on and I was thinking about several reasons why this could be the case.

I became utterly gripped by the storyline in this book, and I deeply cared for Kassie, and I wanted to find out more about her. As I raced through the final chapters to get to the end, I didn’t once look up from the writing on the page, I just had to know what was going to happen and what Kassie and Adam were going to do next, any jobs that needed doing just had to be put aside until I was finished.

A Gift for Dying is a terrific stand-alone thriller. This is one of those books which will just keep you engrossed in the storyline and the characters; M.J. Arlidge is a writer who knows how to write gripping prose. Addictive and brilliantly written, I have no doubt at all that this will be a bestseller.

Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, and to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 7th March 2019

Print length: 468 pages

If you would like to purchase A Gift for Dying, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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