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Fans of James Patterson and Karin Slaughter, take note. Eeny Meeny is the serial-killer thriller début from M. J. Arlidge, introducing her first novel in the Detective Inspector Helen Grace. M. J. Arlidge has worked in television for the last 15 years, specialising in high end drama production, so she is one to take note of. Arlidge trained at the BBC, before spending seven years at Ecosse Films, producing series such as Mistresses (BBC1) and Cape Wrath (C4/Showtime). For the last five years he has run an independent drama production company, producing a number of crime serials for ITV and is working on a major adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms for BBC/FX. So it’s fair to say that he knows a thing or two about creating suspense and thrill.
Eeny Meeny follows the destructive path of a serial killer who likes to play dirty. A young couple wakes disoriented, trapped and without food or water or an escape route. Instead there’s a gun loaded with a single bullet and a mobile phone with charge enough only to deliver a short message: when one of you kills the other, the survivor will walk free.
Other pairs are soon taken. The victims appear to be chosen at random, but the planning is meticulous. And until DI Helen Grace can establish a connection, a twisted killer will remain out of reach. A breakthrough is elusive, but then the investigation begins to turn full circle.
The whole way through, Arlidge kept me engaged and not only wondering who the killer might be and what his/her game plan is, but also wanting to learn more about Helen Grace. Someone so strong, yet vulnerable, tough and attractive has to have a story of her own. We certainly get a glimpse of that too, but not enough to keep me content. Arlidge definitely reminds me a little of Karin Slaughter and I can’t wait to read his other books, as I’m hopefully they’re as captivating as this one.