4 stars out of 5
This was not, I must say, the easiest of books to read. That's not because it isn't good - it is (and I thank the publisher, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read and review it). Rather, it's just tough when there's no one to "root" for. Every single character here is flawed in some way - some more than others; and much of the story centers on how those flaws impact their personal and professional lives (some in more ways than others). So while I was chomping at the bit to see how things turned out all around, I can't say it mattered much who was left standing.
The star of this show, Detective Helen Grace, certainly has her share of secrets (heck, let's just call a spade a spade; she's got some real doozies). Some of her baggage apparently is carried over from the first book in the series, Eeny Meeny, and it threatens to weigh her down here. She's also got a witch of a female boss who'll use anybody to get ahead, a co-worker who's hesitantly returning to active duty after suffering slings and arrows in the previous book, a spiteful reporter who'll sell her soul for a "big story" and kinky relationships with a couple of other strange dudes. What could possibly go wrong?
Not much, at first; a man's eviscerated body is found, and then his family gets a gruesome "gift" in memoriam. But when a second murder is committed in a similar manner, it begins to look as if a serial killer is off and running. The trail leads to some exceptionally sleazy neighborhoods and dead ends (pun intended), and there's no shortage of gory details. I won't speak to those, of course, lest I reveal too much; but suffice it to say that in the end, no one comes away unscathed.
Twists and turns? Too many to count, with almost none of them expected. Needless to say, though, since this is the second book in the series featuring Detective Grace and a third is on the way (The Doll's House), it shouldn't come as a surprise that she survives. As to how the rest of the lot fares, well, you'll just have to read it for yourself.
Pop Goes the Weasel by M.J. Arlidge (NAL, October 2015); 416 pp.