4 stars out of 5
Forewarned is forearmed: Major cliffhanger here. Put another way, if you want to find out how (or whether) lead character detective inspector Helen Grace gets out of the tangled mess she's in at the end of this one, you'll have to wait till the next installment is published.
I must say that ending, or the lack thereof, rather annoyed the heck out of me. But other than that, this is a doggone kick-butt book. In fact, I had a hard time putting it down. Thankfully, the chapters are short so it's easy to get in one or two while the coffeepot finishes up or even during commercials as I watched a favorite TV show. It's a fast-paced plot with enough murders to make the Boston Strangler wish he'd lived in merry old Southhampton.
The plot also smacks of kinky; in fact, it begins with a murder in a popular S&M club called the Torture Rooms. How bad? Well, I know I'm not fully cognizant of the words and phrases common to this fetish, but I admit to having to look up the definition of one or two. Understandably, secrecy is the order of business here; and when Helen sees the victim and realizes they knew each other, she nearly panics. That's a part of her life she really doesn't want revealed, but she knows keeping her proclivities to herself will become more difficult as the investigation progresses. Then, the unthinkable happens: Another murder, and once again, the victim is connected to Helen.
Clearly, Helen has issues - some of them whoppers - but then so does just about every person she works with in the department. And that doesn't count a bulldog-like journalist, once Helen's friend, who's sniffing in all the corners and under the beds in hopes of making Helen suffer and landing the scoop that will boost her career to the stratosphere.
This is, for the record, No. 5 in the series; I've read (and enjoyed) one other, so I was delighted to be approved by the publisher to read it in exchange for an honest review. For the most part it stands alone, although it was clear here and there that I'd have had a better understanding of some things had I read earlier editions. For that reason, I'll give the same advice I always do to readers of books in any series: For best results, start from the beginning.
Little Boy Blue by M.J. Arlidge (Berkley, October 2016); 393 pp.