Book review: Little Boy Blue

MJ ArlidgeThis book ends on such a cliffhanger I wanted to start reading the next straightaway. As the end approached I kept thinking ‘it won’t end like that, it can’t end like that’. Hide and Seek, sixth in the DI Helen Grace series by MJ Arlidge, is published in September, so not too long to wait. This is a chilling tale, one that pulls you in and turns the pages. I’d just finished a heavy literary book and needed a contrast, this book certainly provided it. As a television writer, Matthew Arlidge certainly knows how to manage tension and the pacing of his series is managed like television episodes. So perhaps it is not a surprise that Little Boy Blue ends on such a cliffhanger that it could actually be called part one of a two-part series.

The murders – yes plural, isn’t it always? – take place in Southampton’s shady world of BDSM, the world of sexual role play, bondage, dominance and submission. The first victim is someone known to Helen Grace and her instant reaction to hide this acquaintance is at the centre of this hurtling story of murder and secrets. What sets this series apart? The character of Helen Grace is intriguing and complex, we learn more about her in each book. She has a complicated, damaged past but instead of turning to the dark side, she always strives to do the right thing.

The stories are not standalone narratives, each book ramps up the tension and intrigue from the previous novels as the twists in Helen’s complicated life, her relationship with her colleagues and the politics of policing contribute to future tension. Events described in book one become relevant in book five. To get the best out of Little Boy Blue you need to understand the back story to Helen Grace and her team. Read my reviews of the preceding four Helen Grace books here:-
Eeny Meeny, #1HelenGrace
Pop Goes the Weasel, #2HelenGrace
The Doll’s House, #3HelenGrace
Liar Liar, #4 Helen Grace

If you want to find new crime series, try these:-
‘The Silent and the Damned’ by Robert Wilson
‘The Blood Detective’ by Dan Waddell
‘Blood Med’ by Jason Webster

‘Little Boy Blue’ by MJ Arlidge, #5 HelenGrace [UK: Penguin] Buy at Amazon

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
LITTLE BOY BLUE by @mjarlidge #crimefiction bookreview via @SandraDanby

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