As with the first two books in this series, Eeny Meeny and Pop Goes the Weasel, this latest race round Southampton for a serial killer is just as worthy of the lashings of praise I heaped on its predecessors.
The story begins with a body found buried on a beach by a young family on a day out, the body of a young girl with dark hair, bright blue eyes and a bluebird tattoo on her shoulder. And it soon becomes clear that the girl was the victim of a serial killer, one who starves his victims to death, all with a similar appearance – and missing girl Ruby Sprackling also fits that profile. The story itself is darkly chilling, all the more so because we view some of it through Ruby’s eyes as she tries to stay alive.
D I Helen Grace leads the hunt once again, and with her own flawed character and obstacles put in her way by those who should be working with her, this only makes us route for her more. But what I particularly liked about this book was, as we got to understand more about the killer and understand his background, he becomes real to the reader rather than just some faceless ghoul who’s motivation is not only believable but actually sympathetically drawn.
Arlidge really knows how to create tension, fear and excitement and knows how to do it well.
I suspected this may be the case after having read just the first book in the series, but having now read all three I can confirm that not only am I a huge fan, but Arlidge joins the ranks with Tess Geritssen and Val McDermid et al to be classed as one of my favourite crime authors. Praise indeed.