Title: Pop Goes the Weasel by M.J. Arlidge
DI Helen Grace Series Book Two
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
Length: 416 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
From the international bestselling author of Eeny Meeny comes the second thriller in the “truly excellent series”* featuring Detective Helen Grace.
A man’s body is found in an empty house.
A gruesome memento of his murder is sent to his wife and children.
He is the first victim, and Detective Helen Grace knows he will not be the last. But why would a happily married man be this far from home in the dead of night?
The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse: a serial killer preying on family men who lead hidden double lives.
Helen can sense the fury behind the murders. But what she cannot possibly predict is how volatile this killer is—or what is waiting for her at the end of the chase….
Pop Goes the Weasel, the second book in M.J. Arlidge’s DI Helen Grace series, is an perplexing murder mystery that takes readers deep into the heart of the seedy world of prostitution. Who is behind the series of grisly murders in the red light district? Why is the murderer delivering gruesome trophies to the victims’ families and co-workers? Will Detective Inspector Helen Grace and her team of crack investigators catch the killer before he or she strikes again?
Although still dealing with a few lingering events from Eeny Meeny, Helen Grace has put most of what happened behind her. She has a new boss, Detective Sergeant Cheri Harwood, and although they get along in the beginning, their professional relationship grows increasingly strained over the course of the investigation into the brutal deaths. Equally troubling is her relationship with Detective Constable Charlie Brooks who is finally returning to work after a long absence. Helen is also distracted by the demands of sleazy reporter Emilia Garanita who somehow seems to know all of Helen’s secrets and tries to use this knowledge to her advantage.
The investigation of the horrific murders takes many unexpected twists and turns. Just as Helen and her team seem to have a viable suspect, they hit one dead end after another. When one of the investigators tracks down a seemingly credible witness, the case takes another shocking turn that puts Helen at further odds with her boss. She is under mounting pressure from Harwood to find the killer and the future of her career is soon in jeopardy.
Pop Goes the Weasel is written from multiple perspectives and there are numerous story arcs taking place simultaneously. While it is not completely necessary to read the first book in the series, a few of the unresolved plotlines from Eeny Meeny carry over into Pop Goes the Weasel. These issues dominate the first part of the story which makes for a bit of a confusing read until the focus shifts to the investigation of the murders. The novel is slow paced for about the first half of the book and the abrupt shifts in perspective and short chapters are a bit jarring.
Pop Goes the Weasel is an outstanding mystery that old and new fans of the DI Helen Grace series do not want to miss. The overall investigation is fascinating and M.J. Arlidge does an excellent job conveying both Helen’s frustration at the lack of progress with the case and her deepening enmity towards her boss. The perpetrator’s identity is cleverly concealed right up until the action-packed and highly dramatic conclusion.