Publication: 20 September 2018 from Michael Joseph
ISBN-13: ISBN-13: 978-0718183875
The last thing Tom Campbell remembers is camping in the New Forest with his girlfriend, Melissa. Now he is helpless, alone and consumed by fear, hunted through the woods by a sinister, masked figure…
When Tom’s body is found, displayed with grisly relish, Helen Grace takes the case. But before she can catch her breath, a second victim is taken – a serial killer is on the loose.
You better not go alone…
Something dark and deadly stalks the forest. Helen and her team must race against time to catch the perpetrator, before more blood is shed.
But the hunt will take Helen back into the eerie twilit woods – and this time she might not make it out alive.
As with other books in this fabulous series, it is perfectly OK to read this book as a stand-alone. I am sure though that reading the whole series in order will give the reader a better background and understanding of the somewhat turbulent life that is experienced by D.I. Helen Grace, in charge of the Major Incident Team at Southampton Central Police Station.
Helen Grace is one of my favourite characters. M.J. Arlidge never spares her, regularly putting her life in danger and she never makes it through a case unscathed either physically or emotionally.
This time, something is rotten in the New Forest. First, it was the wild ponies, cruelly and mercilessly killed. Now both a man and a woman have been hunted down and murdered in seemingly unrelated killings while camping in different parts of the forest. Shot with home -made crossbow bolts, the victims are strung from the trees in a manner reminiscent of racist Klan killings in the deep South of America.
DI Helen Grace is finally making some kind of peace with herself. Her mentor and old friend Superintendent Simmons is temporarily in charge of Southampton’s Police Force and providing much needed stability with a watchful and non-meddlesome eye.
Helen has added a new member to her team with the introduction of D.S. Joseph Hudson. It is early days yet, but there’s something about him that suggests he’s worth closer inspection. Whether he is a benign character or otherwise, we will just have to wait and see.
Helen and her team need to know whether there is a connection between the two victims or if they are dealing with a rampaging psychopath. Their investigations are not helped by the constant interference of Emily Garanita, the local paper’s chief investigative journalist who has made herself Helen’s bête noir and who is determined never to miss a story, whatever it takes.
As they try to piece together the clues, the hunt leads them up and down some thorny paths which twist and turn but fail to deliver. The creepiness of the stalker in the woods is really very suspenseful and not a little disturbing and the plot leads are very convincing.
Well plotted, fast paced and thrilling, this is an accomplished addition to the Helen Grace canon.
Verdict. Another terrific heart-thumping page turner you can’t put down.
M. J. Arlidge has worked in television for the last fifteen years, specializing in high-end drama production, including the prime-time crime serials Torn, The Little House and Silent Witness. Arlidge also pilots original crime series for both UK and US networks. In 2015 his audio exclusive Six Degrees of Assassination was a Number One bestseller.
His first thriller, Eeny Meeny, was the UK’s bestselling crime debut of 2014. It was followed by the bestselling Pop Goes the Weasel, The Doll’s House, Liar Liar, Little Boy Blue, Hide and Seek, and Love Me Not.
Follow Matthew Arlidge on Twitter @mjarlidge