Love Me Not was published on 18 May 2017 by Michael Joseph and is available to buy here
THE SEVENTH DI HELEN GRACE THRILLER BY BESTSELLING AUTHOR M. J. ARLIDGE
She Loves Me
A woman’s body lies in the road. At first it looks like a tragic accident. But when Helen Grace arrives on the scene it’s clear she’s looking at a coldblooded killing. But why would anyone target a much-loved wife and mother?
She Loves Me Not
Across town, a shopkeeper is killed while his customers are left unharmed. But what lies behind the killer’s choices?
She Loves Me
Who lives? Who dies? Who’s next? The clock is ticking.
She Loves Me Not
If Helen can’t solve this deadly puzzle then more blood will be shed. But any mistake and it might be her own …
After the thrills of the last two books in the series, Love Me Not should have been gripping and highly emotive. Yes it was fabulous to have Helen Grace back, fighting crime and being her moody self. This is now the seventh book, in what has been a rather excellent UK crime series to date. I could not help feeling that the series has lost a certain special something here.
The story itself is rather mundane, in what should be an action packed chase across a Southern British landscape. Helen is out of prison, with her old job back. She feels out of place. She hasn’t quite adjusted to her new role, as a free person. She is suspicious of everyone. A leader cannot lead, when she is doubting everyone around her. Added to this, she encounters on the road a female shot at close range. Death seems to follow Helen. There are two spree killers on the loose, in the Southampton locality. A young disaffected pair, a modern day Bonnie and Clyde! Will Helen and her team work out what is driving the spree killers? Will Helen find a way to reunite her with her team? Over the space of a day, we follow the action and hope for a fast resolution.
I wanted to enjoy this. I tried to like it. However I felt very let down by the spree killer plot. The strengths came from Helen and her coming to terms with her ordeal behind bars, together with the redemption of Emilia Garanita, the journalist without a conscience. As well as Helen returning from her cosy prison cell, Emilia has been sacked from the posh London papers and has come home to the backwater of Southampton. She is desperate to be top dog again, in crime journalism.
The murderous spree offered very little that was new. Disaffection tick, revenge tick, access to guns tick, anger tick; plus we saw it all being played out as a race against time. I think the author missed a trick in sticking with bland stereotypes, instead of having a touch more pyschological insight to challenge the reader. I have just seen this done so much better; Emma Kavanagh with her excellent Hidden takes spree killing to a whole new level.
Overall I was highly disappointed with the latest instalment in the Helen Grace series. I can only hope that the next book is of a higher quality and gets the series back on track. Love Me Not pretty much describes my feelings.