Title: Little Boy Blue by M.J. Arlidge
Helen Grace Series Book Five
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Detective Helen Grace faces her own dark compulsions in the twisty new thriller from the author of Pop Goes the Weasel and Eeny Meeny.
In the darkest corners of the city, there is a thriving nightlife where people can let loose and cross the lines of work and play, of pleasure and pain. But now that sanctuary has been breached. A killer has struck and a man is dead.
In a world where disguises and discretion are the norm, one admission could unravel a life. No one wants to come forward to say what they saw or what they know—including the woman heading the investigation: Detective Helen Grace.
Helen knew the victim. And the victim knew her—better than anyone else. And when the murderer strikes again, Helen must decide how many more lines she’s willing to cross to bring in a devious and elusive serial killer…
In Little Boy Blue, the latest installment in M.J. Arlidge’s Helen Grace series, DI Grace’s private and personal lives intersect when she and her team investigate a series of murders that target people who are involved in BDSM. Although this newest release is the fifth novel in the series, it can be read as standalone. However, I highly recommend reading the books in order to get background information on the principal characters.
Detective Inspector Helen Grace finds herself in a very awkward position when called to the scene of a lurid murder in a popular BDSM club. While she does not visit these types of clubs, she does rely on dominators to help quell her guilt and quiet her thoughts and she has worked hard to keep this aspect of her life private. At first believing the death was nothing more than a tragic accident, Grace quickly discovers the man was murdered and even more shocking, she recognizes the victim. Keeping their connection under wraps, she heads up the investigation which quickly goes nowhere since there is shockingly little evidence at the crime scene. When the killer strikes again and the victim is someone linked to her, Helen is forced to reveal her secret to her boss but he allows her to remain on the case. With very little information to go on, the investigation is at a standstill when Helen arrives at stunning conclusion about the murderer’s identity. Will she manage to capture the killer before a very diabolical plan comes to fruition?
In addition to trying to make sure her secrets remain hidden, infighting amongst two of Helen’s underlings jeopardizes the investigation. Newly promoted to Detective Sergeant, Charlie Brooks is still struggling to juggle the demands of motherhood and her career. Feeling pressured to prove herself, she is working long hours and when her co-worker, Detective Sergeant Joanne Sanderson, takes advantage of a lead Charlie uncovered, the two are soon locked in a not so private battle for power. This internal strife plays right into unscrupulous reporter Emilia Garanita’s plans to publicly humiliate Helen. An unexpected altercation between Helen and her superior, Detective Superintendent Jonathan Gardam, who has been keeping a very watchful eye on her ever since he became her boss, is the final nail in Grace’s coffin once all of these events coalesce into a perfect plan that could possibly destroy her.
The mystery surrounding the murders is certainly compelling but there is very little evidence to help Helen and her team catch the killer. Stymied at every turn as each clue turns into a dead end, Grace cannot figure out a motive for the crimes. Did the killer pick the victims at random? If so, is their lifestyle the reason they were murdered? As the body count rises, Helen finally figures out not only the killer’s identity but the real reason for the crimes. Unfortunately, this realization comes just as another shocking scheme is put into motion and Helen finds herself in a very tricky situation that appears impossible to escape.
Little Boy Blue is another riveting installment in the spectacular Helen Grace series that old and new fans do not want to miss. M.J. Arlidge is a masterful storyteller with an amazing ability to mask the killer’s identity and motive for the crimes with clever red herrings and misdirects. Although the crimes themselves are satisfactorily wrapped up for the reader, the novel ends on a whopper of a cliffhanger for the very intrepid but highly unlucky Detective Inspector Helen Grace.