Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge (June 2, 2015 by NAL) – Two people trapped in an abandoned diving pool. A cell phone with enough juice for one text. And a gun with a single bullet. The game is simple: one has to die for the other to live. All you have to do is choose who dies, and who lives.
Detective Inspector Helen Grace has a hard time believing the survivors at first. The stories are too unbelievable, too many odds stacked against it being the truth. But as more bodies pile up, the more determined she becomes to uncover the truth, and soon she’s playing a twisted game of cat and mouse with the killer.
Twisted is almost too simple a word to describe Eeny Meeny. It’s clever, in a wretched sort of way. Arlidge gives you a firm nudge in one direction, gleefully leading you on, all the while pulling in bits and pieces to build a psychotic killer who practically delights in the anguish and chaos they cause. Frustrations rise to a fever pitch, and the police are left chasing their tails more than once.
Helen is a hard character to understand. Others comment on her singular drive and focus on the job in general and the case in particular, and the glimpses into the other sides of her too often left me feeling I was still missing something. The parts where she locked onto the work, and only the work, were the moments she shined – she’s quick, keenly observant, able to reason out a logical and plausible explanation for why this or that was important, or even happened in the first place. There’s no doubt she’ll get her man. The only question is if she’ll do so in time.
The ending cuts and jumps the way all the best, tension-filled police procedurals do. Right up until the very end, you’re left guessing as to the killer’s identity. A case this brutal is bound to leave a mark or two, and the ones left on Helen and her squad are long and deep. It takes an iron will to come back from something as personal and devastating as these killings. Time will tell if DI Helen Grace holds up under pressure, or if she’ll crumble under the weight of it all.
Copy provided by the publisher.