Review of The Doll’s House by M J Arlidge

The Doll's House Book Cover The Doll's House
M. J. Arlidge
Penguin UK
February 12, 2015

Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller The Doll's House is the new twisting and terrifying thriller in the Detective Inspector Helen Grace series from M.J. Arlidge. Arlidge is the author of Eeny Meeny and Pop Goes the Weasel, and has been dubbed 'the new Jo Nesbo'. 'Detective Inspector Helen Grace is one of the greatest heroes to come along in years.' Jeffery Deaver, New York Times bestselling author of The Skin Collector and Solitude Creek 'The third instalment in the DI Grace series is as fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense as the first two. Taut and gripping, book four cannot come soon enough' Sun *************** A young woman wakes up in a cold, dark cellar, with no idea how she got there or who her kidnapper is. So begins her terrible nightmare. Nearby, the body of another young woman is discovered buried on a remote beach. But the dead girl was never reported missing - her estranged family having received regular texts from her over the years. Someone has been keeping her alive from beyond the grave. For Detective Inspector Helen Grace it's chilling evidence that she's searching for a monster who is not just twisted but also clever and resourceful - a predator who's killed before. And as Helen struggles to understand the killer's motivation, she begins to realize that she's in a desperate race against time . . . PRAISE FOR M.J. ARLIDGE: 'Page-turningly chilling' The Times 'DI Helen Grace is a genuinely fresh heroine ... MJ Arlidge weaves together a tapestry that chills to the bone'Daily Mail 'M.J. Arlidge is the new Jo Nesbo' Judy Finnigan 'Taut, fast-paced, truly excellent' Sun 'Chilling stuff' Fabulist 'A chilling read' My Weekly 'A grisly, gripping thriller' Sunday Mirror 'Dark, twisted, thought provoking, and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Take a ride on this roller coaster from hell--white knuckles guaranteed.' Tami Hoag, number one New York Times bestselling author 'Gruesomely realistic, intriguing and relentless. Arlidge's fledgling army of fans is about to grow' Sunday Sport 'Eeny Meeny debuts one of the best new series detectives, Helen Grace. Determined, tough and damaged, she must unravel a terrifying riddle of a killer kidnapping victims in pairs. Mesmerizing!' Lisa Gardner 'Expertly pulled off. It has a devious premise. DI Helen Grace is fiendishly awesome. It's scary as all hell. And it has a full cast of realistically drawn, interesting characters that make the thing read like a bullet' Will Lavender

The Doll’s House by M J Arlidge is the third of the Helen Grace books from the author. Having read and really enjoyed the first two Helen Grace books I was looking forward to see how things would develop in this new story. It has the same simple direct style of writing, which helps to make M J Arlidge a master of the taught, tense thriller. I guess there is a sense in which much of the basic story is fairly obvious; another serial killer is on the streets and Helen and her team have little time to prevent yet another murder. This could be quite a pedestrian tale if it were not so well written and the tension on the case is well sustained throughout the book. In particular I do find Helen an excellent character and one who is developing very well as time goes by.

If I do have any reservations about these tense police stories it concerns the peripheral threads contained in the main story. The first book really did not have anything much in the way of story other than the excellent crime idea. Now we are starting to get personal issues and tales in addition to the police murder story. I guess some folk may well find this good however personally I find some of these less well written and a distraction. This is by no means a big complaint simply a comment. I do hope however that these stories do not go the way of some other thriller writers around at present where the soap opera takes centre stage to the crime story – it would be a pity. The Doll’s House is a great read, well paced, which I’ll happily recommend. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.

Note – I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review