Source: Review copy
Publication: 11 June 2020 from Orion
“You have one hour to live.”
Those are the only words on the phone call. Then they hang up. Surely, a prank? A mistake? A wrong number? Anything but the chilling truth… That someone is watching, waiting, working to take your life in one hour.
The job of finding out falls to DI Helen Grace: a woman with a track record in hunting killers. However, this is a case where the killer seems to always be one step ahead of the police and the victims.
With no motive, no leads, no clues – nothing but pure fear – an hour can last a lifetime…
I’m a big fan of the Helen Grace books, but goodness Mathew Arlidge doesn’t half put her through some tough stuff both personally and professionally. This book is no exception. Just when you begin to think that D.I. Grace might be in danger of getting a life, Arlidge puts a halt to that in no uncertain terms.
The case this time dates back some years ago to when a group of five teenage schoolchildren were outward bounding for their Duke of Edinburgh Award. Out on the moors, the mists fell and unaccompanied and trying to find their way back over rough terrain, they were forced to take shelter in a run-down farmhouse where their worst nightmares were enacted.
Not all of them would make it out alive.
Years later, that night still haunts them and now one of that group has written a book about the events of that night, while the others prefer to stay out of the limelight.
Then one receives a call telling them that they have one hour to live and sure enough, our killer is true to their word. Some, it seems, is picking off the members of that group. With precious little to go on and finding that Emily Garanita, Helen’s least favourite journalist, always seems to be in the know if not one step ahead, Helen and her team are faced with a race against time to save the last members of the group.
As ever, Arlidge creates a fast moving, gruesome story with a terrific villain and a lot of grief for Helen. Helen has swapped other forms of stress relief for speed and now she de-stresses by taking her leather clad body out on her motor bike and going hell for leather until she can’t go any further.
Charlie, her colleague, friend and confidante is heavily pregnant and a new bloke seems to be shaping up well, but there is something about him that makes Helen wonder. Helen’s boss Simmons still has her back, but she, too, is coming under pressure from above to make sure this case is solved as Garanita contrives to make the investigation look pretty bad.
With so much pressure, the tension really is taut all the way through and the adrenaline ride is intense as we go with Helen on her racing trip to find the killer before it is too late. The narrative is all-consuming and I was lost in this book from the first five minutes right through to the end.
Verdict: All Fall Down is everything we have come to expect from M.J. Arlidge and this series. It is a fabulous, exciting and riveting read.
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, Love Me Not and Down to the Woods.
Follow Matthew Arlidge on Twitter @mjarlidge