Monday, August 17, 2015
It’s a game more twisted than any Detective Helen Grace has ever seen. If she hadn’t spoken with the shattered survivors herself, she almost wouldn’t believe them.
Helen is familiar with the dark sides of human nature, including her own, but this case—with its seemingly random victims—has her baffled. But as more people go missing, nothing will be more terrifying than when it all starts making sense…. -- NAL
EENY MEENY by M.J. Arlidge definitely sounds like a book I'd enjoy, but it wasn't really on my radar until I heard Mike Greenberg talk about it on his daily sports radio show Mike & Mike. The way he described this novel made it sound so good... and so twisted. I just knew I had to get my hands on a copy. I tend to agree with Mr. Greenberg on quite a bit so it wasn't surprised when I discovered that he was spot on with his thoughts on this book. I really, really enjoyed it!
EENY MEENY is one seriously creepy book. It begins with a scene of a boyfriend and girlfriend who have been kidnapped and placed in a deserted (and empty) swimming pool with nothing but an almost dead throw-away phone and a gun. The phone contains a message that says the only way to escape is if one of them kills the other one. Talk about a twisted game!
When Detective Helen Grace interviews the survivor, she isn't sure if the story is believable, but who in their right mind could make up a story like this? Though Helen has her own set of issues (which add another dimension to an already good story!), she is a thorough investigator and tends to believe the survivors.
As more and more cases of the "game" appear, Helen discovers that a few of the "players" have ties to her. An already tense investigation becomes personal for her as she discovers that the stakes are even higher than she every imagined!
I loved EENY MEENY! It was just the right amount of scary without being over the top, the mystery was tight, and I loved the character of Helen Grace. I honestly couldn't put down this book, but at the same time, I didn't want it to end. Thank goodness it's the first in a series!
I probably sound a bit twisted myself for saying this, but I loved the concept of this book and the crimes. A few of the scenes even made my skin crawl, and Mr. Arlidge didn't shy away from vivid descriptions or shocking surprises even at the expense of main characters. (Note: this book probably isn't for the faint of heart!) It was such a unique premise and so well done.
And that lead's me to my next point -- the mystery was set up and revealed almost perfectly. I admit that I had a few inklings, but I didn't fully understand all the details about the perpetrator. I am dying to discuss this but I don't want to give too much away. Suffice it to say that I wasn't totally surprised, but I was impressed with how everything came together. It all made perfect sense!
Finally, Helen is just a fantastic character and reminded me a bit of a female Harry Bosch. I mentioned earlier that Helen had some issues, but that's a tactful way of saying that Helen is still suffering the effects from her traumatic childhood. For most of the novel, the reader just knows that Helen finds the need to pay for some event from her past; and it's a pretty unconventional and disturbing way that she chooses to suffer. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the person responsible for these horrific crimes knows Helen personally; and it's up to Helen to figure out the who and why.
EENY MEENY was an extremely good mystery, but it was also special because the characters were so complex as were their relationships with each other. As a result, I do think EENY MEENY would make a fantastic book club selection. There is a reading guide with twelve questions included in the back of the book; however, I couldn't find an on-line link. Some of the themes you might want to explore include moral choices (like right vs. wrong and guilt vs. innocence), Helen's mental state, the role of women, co-workers, and family, self-doubt, guilt and more
I loved EENY MEENY and can't wait for the next book in the Helen Grace series POP GOES THE WEASEL. If you are a fan of twisted suspense stories, then I highly recommend this novel!
Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read. Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.