DI Helen Grace and (some of) her team are back in this third entry in M. J. Arlidge's series!
A body has been discovered on a remote beach and DI Helen Grace and her team are on the case. Strangely enough, the body has been there for over a year but when they identify the girl they find that her father has been receiving text messages from his daughter the whole time. Then they discover that another girl has just gone missing. One who resembles the dead girl they've just found. And this new missing girl is sending texts and tweets at the very same time as those still coming through from the dead girl.
After successfully solving two serial cases, it looks as though Helen Grace may have found herself a third.
But in the time since those first two very public cases, Helen's trusted team has dwindled - Charlie is out on maternity leave and only Sanderson remains now. Fortunately it hasn't kept Helen from doing her job - much to the disappointment of DS Harwood. They've come to a somewhat frosty agreement in the workplace since the Ella Matthews case, or so Helen thinks. In reality, Harwood has made it her goal to either shine beyond Helen's limelight or make sure Helen is ruined.
If you haven't read him before, M. J. Arlidge comes up with some truly twisted plots! They're fantastic, though. That said, I would suggest reading the books in order (Eeny Meeny, Pop Goes the Weasel, and then The Doll's House). They stand fairly well on their own but I think they really need to be read in sequence to truly understand the characters' back stories and the dynamics between the various characters as well.
So Helen has lost most of her team now and the newly promoted members are there by the grace of Harwood. Sanderson and Charlie both recognize it but neither is in much of a position to do anything about it: Sanderson has been overlooked for promotion and Charlie, as mentioned above, is out on maternity leave. Helen still believes that those around her will do their jobs simply because it's their duty, but Sanderson herself can feel the tension in the team and is all too aware that as a Helen supporter she's on the outs.
But again, it doesn't stop Helen from doing her job. She's dogged and determined (as is Sanderson, she's a great side character!) and well aware that the clock is ticking for their latest victim.
As usual, Arlidge offers readers alternating perspectives throughout the book - Helen, Harwood, Sanderson, and others on the force as well as the killer and Ruby, the missing girl. And like the past two installments, Ruby and the other victims go through a truly harrowing ordeal.
The tension and pacing here are absolutely phenomenal. And I do mean that sincerely - phenomenal! An up-all-nighter, a can't-put-it-downer, a book that you'll be dying to get back to if you do have to set it aside for any reason. You know, a call-in-to-work-so-you-can-finish kind of book. The best kind :)
The Doll's House is brand new out on shelves now. If you're looking for a great thriller, you definitely should run out and buy a copy. (This is perfect for fans of Elizabeth Haynes, by the way!)