Title: The Doll’s House by M.J. Arlidge
DI Helen Grace Series Book Three
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Length: 422 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Detective Helen Grace is on the trail of a twisted serial killer in this riveting thriller in the “gripping”* international bestselling series.
Ruby wakes up in a strange room. Her captor calmly explains that no one is looking for her. No one wants her. Except him.
When the body of a woman is found buried on a secluded beach, Detective Helen Grace is called to the scene. She knows right away that the killer is no amateur. The woman has been dead for years, and no one has even reported her missing. But why would they? She’s still sending text messages to her family.
Helen is convinced that a criminal mastermind is at work: someone very smart, very careful, and worst of all, very patient. But as she struggles to piece together the killer’s motive, time is running out for a victim who is still alive…
The Doll’s House is another chilling installment in M.J. Arlidge’s DI Helen Grace series. In this outing, Helen and her team’s latest homicide investigation is linked to the recent disappearance of a young woman.
The discovery of the body of a young woman buried on a beach is just the beginning of Helen’s latest case. After discovering her identity, she is stunned to learn the girl’s family did not file a missing person’s report since the victim has apparently been sporadically tweeting and sending text messages. Certain she is not the perpetrator’s first victim, a careful search of missing person’s reports yields a couple other suspicious disappearances and Helen convinces her superiors to go back to the beach to look for more graves. Discovering two more bodies, Helen and her team are sure that Ruby Sprackling’s recent disappearance is most likely connected to their case and they are soon in a race against time to find her before it is too late.
Helen’s squad is still a bit unsettled as new members transition in to replace the detectives who have left. She has a few trusted investigators that she relies on, but she worries there is a lack of cohesiveness among the group. However, by the time the various pieces of the investigation begin to fall into place, the squad is finally working together as a team as they frantically try to save Ruby from her abductor.
Helen’s relationship with her boss DS Ceri Harwood is still acrimonious and they continue to butt heads as Helen tries to convince her that their current cases are connected. She does not let Harwood’s resistance hold her back from following the various leads, but her refusal to co-operate means Helen must occasionally subvert her boss’s authority which causes more friction between them. Ceri’s professional jealousy clouds her judgment on more than one occasion and she eventually makes a decision that she later comes to regret when things begin to spin out of control.
While most of plot centers around the investigation, Helen’s personal life plays small, but pivotal, roles in the storyline. Her search for her missing nephew continues and she makes a few missteps once she uncovers new evidence about him. Helen also feels a startling connection to one of the victim’s fathers and she is surprisingly candid with him about her past. This vulnerability softens the tough as nails investigator and peels back yet another layer of this multi-faceted character.
The Doll’s House is another spellbinding addition to the DI Helen Grace series. The addition of new members to the team keeps the series fresh and Helen continues to evolve which keeps her character from becoming stagnant. The mystery is intriguing and M.J. Arlidge’s skillful utilization of red herrings and misdirects ingeniously conceals the perpetrator’s identity until the novel’s conclusion. An outstanding police procedural that will leave fans impatiently awaiting the next installment in this superb series.