Goodreads Review: Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

I finished this book during my recent trip up north to the Minnesota Yarn Shop Hop for some hardcore yarn shopping and friend time. You know it’s a good weekend when you get to chill with cool people, buy a ton of yarn, and finish a good book. This one reminds me of my mom, but only because it reminds me of Val McDermid’s crime novels, and my mom got me hooked on those. I think she’ll really enjoy this one. My mom, I mean. Not Val McDermid. Though maybe Val will enjoy it too. The book comes out on June 2, 2015, so put in a request at your local library. 

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace,#1)Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Mystery/crime drama isn’t my first choice of genre, but the premise of Eeny Meeny intrigued me, so I requested it and am so glad I got approved.

It starts with a young couple, then a pair of work associates, then a mother and daughter – people are disappearing in twos. Days later, one of them emerges, starved and sick. During their captivity, the victims are given a gun and a choice: shoot the other and be set free or die a slow, painful death from starvation. It falls to Helen Grace and her team to solve the mystery and apprehend the criminal. Pretty straightforward, right?

There were a lot of things that made this book enjoyable for me. I tend to give simplified plot synopses anyway, but in this case I’m doing so because I don’t want to give too much away. However, the writing and plot were solid. The author details the captivity of the victims in horrific detail (some of that detail made me uncomfortable, which raises its “awesome” factor) but not so much that the story drags. It keeps its pace with the main plot and the side plots of which there are a few, all of which intertwine through the main story with ease.

The characters were great. Helen Grace is a strong female character, but she’s also strongly damaged and comes with some painful quirks. The side characters, while taking a backseat to Grace and those involved in the crimes, are given their own personalities and lives that emerge throughout the book. By the end, I had a sense that I knew them, was involved with them, and even shattered with the ones who get dealt the trauma. My investment in this group was worth it…the payoff at the end of the book is good and sets things up for more in this series.

The writing was strong and the story well-paced. There were only two things I took issue with. The first was in the formatting more than the writing. There were no breaks when the scene shifted, so it was sometimes hard to easily discern when the setting and characters had changed. However, I think that was more an ARC format problem than a problem with the author’s presentation.

The second thing was the weirdly added romantic/sexual aspect to the story. It seemed to come out of nowhere, and I had to go back to make sure I hadn’t missed a chapter or two leading up to when it starts. As someone who loves a good romance and tends to prefer romantic interludes in all the books I read, I actually didn’t feel like this one was needed. It seemed a little forced and out of place, though not jarring enough to throw the whole story off.

If you like crime novels, definitely give this one a try. It reminded me of Val McDermid’s novels, and that’s a good comparison. Helen Grace could be the new favorite read of gritty/graphic crime lovers.

View all my reviews

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