Eeny Meeny

Eeeny Meeny: M.J. Aldridge

Murders can happen anywhere. Killers choose their victims sometimes at random and other times with precision and planning. The killer within this novel has a unique, sadistic and sick way of dealing with her victims. The killer or murderer is a woman and her game or goal is having her victims choose the real victim by playing a sick game of Eeeny Meeny. Eeeny Meeny miny Moe you choose the victim and what happens next I only will know. Leaving her victims as she does the first two Amy and Sam in a deserted diving pool without any food, water, air or anything to sustain them but a gun and a cell phone. The phone is pin protected and the gun has one bullet. Challenging them to choose who lives or who dies by pitting friends, boyfriend and girlfriend, colleagues and co-workers pitting them one against the other. The winner is freed but at what expense and the reason behind the killings has yet to be revealed.

Detective Inspector Helen Grace is the lead and needs to find the victims before it’s too late. But, Helen herself harbors a dark past as the author allows readers to understand her need for pain as she meets with someone named Jake who inflicts the pain in order for her to sustain herself. Amy and Sam were planning on getting married but when they ran into trouble and her picked up by a stranger little did they know what was behind what looked like or appeared to be an act of kindness. Disguised and not easily recognized the killer offers them a drink and the next thing they know they are all alone in this diving pool. Living there for over 2 weeks, emaciated, sick and more someone has to decide who lives and who dies. A gun and a cell phone and a pre-recorded message stating that the one who lives and pulls the trigger will be freed. What would you do in Amy and Sam’s place? How do you play God over someone’s life?

As the victim count rises and more bodies are found the end result will startle readers as a link to Helen is found. Some survive and are released where others are tortured and one will die. But, Helen learns more about someone close to her from a man named Simon Ashworth and what he reveals will change things drastically and let Helen know that someone she thought she could trust well:
Eeeny meeny miny MO

Helen better watch out

The killer is targeting people you know

Why are these victims targeted and what his is the link to Helen? After analyzing the reason she now has to figure out how the killer was able to know where Amy and Sam were and that they were in need of a ride. She had to follow the Ben Holland’s schedule and then Marie and Anna who never left their apartment and were buried alive within the walls of what they thought were their only sanctuary. What about the transgender and what about Martina? Did the killer hack into their phone records? As the victims are taken suspicion falls on two detectives that are close to Helen. Questioning Charlie was brutal but proved that she was innocent of what Helen thought she leaked. Next is Mark her right arm and her partner so to speak and when firing off her questions she felt she had not choice but to fire him. Lies, betrayals, deceits and a very crafty, clever and devious killer just might get the revenge she seeks as the author allows readers into the mind of the killer as she endures the abuse and torture of those who were supposed to protect her. But, why is she after Helen? Who on the force can she trust?
Each victim that is finally found is disoriented, filthy and often can barely speak. Amy cannot function after killing Sam. But, what has her mother to do with this? With a reporter on her tail and relentless hoping to discredit her she has no choice at one point but to open up and hope that what she reports will be accurate and hopefully catch a killer. Relationships are broken and some take on a new turn while others are terminated. As Mark deals with his divorce and his ex-wife’s harsh ways his once again turns to the bottle and finds himself at odds with Helen. So, why does she try to help him and what happens between them that changes it all but for how long?

With a description provided by each of the victims that survived and the tenacity of DI Grace, her team and those whose help she enlists she comes face to face with her past, her own fears and we learn more about her relationship with her counselor named Jake and the reasons why she seems to want to punish herself.
When the final pieces come together you won’t believe the end result. As Helen learns the harsh truth about someone that she is supposed to trust whose relationship with one of the victims might mean his end as this person leaked information used someone as his scapegoat and causing Helen to wonder:
Eeny Meeny Miny Mo

Who can I trust I really don’t know!

The final nail in the coffin comes when the killer takes Charlie and Mark. Who lives? Who Dies? Who will be next?

Author M.J. Aldridge masterfully creates a plot so complex and so intricate keeping the reader as it did this reviewer glued to the printed page from start to finish. Beware: Once you start this book you won’t be able to put it down until you learn the truth behind the killer’s motive, the reasons she targeted Helen and:
Eeny Meeny Miny Mo

If you want to learn more

You have to read this five star novel you know!

Helen Grace is smart, astute, has flaws, has to deal with her past and hopefully move on in the present as author leaves you wondering: Who is the really winner? Will she make peace within herself? The only way you will find out is when you read the next novel titled: Pop Goes the Weasel.

Fran Lewis: Just reviews

here’s nothing new about a central police character as damaged as the victims they are fighting for, and in many ways DI Helen Grace is one straight out of the mould. She’s driven, single-minded, single and a devoted cop and good and supportive boss. She’s not a woman who is just suffering from “women’s issues” – she’s a cop with a hard and complicated past, dealing with it in a manner that’s sad and yet somehow unsurprising. This is a women who is beating herself up on a daily basis, and still operating as a good, hard-working, dedicated cop. who is hunting one of the most bizarre killers you’d ever come across.

Which makes this a rather spooky and confrontational plot. Definitely not one for those whose sensibilities are easily offended. There’s violence, terror, the worst of human nature and the particularly frightening idea that this killer is taking 2 people and putting them in the position of making a truly frightening choice. Starkly so in the first case – where a young couple are kidnapped, confined and left with a gun and that choice – one kill the other, and the survivor goes free. Whilst further cases and victims come to hand, somehow it’s that first couple – young, planning a future, and being forced into that position that remains so profoundly upsetting and shocking.

Not that the reader gets a lot of time to dwell in EENY MEENY. The pace is rapid-fire and the combination of victim, crime, investigation and personal really elegantly balanced to give you even more reasons to keep reading. There is, however, enough time for the reader to identify with the victim’s who “survived”, and the cops chasing the killer.

A killer who is female, and capable of some astounding feats of strength to say nothing of ruthlessness. Chased by a female cop, with a couple of well developed colleagues – one female and one male. Grace’s DS Mike is a cop with his own personal problems – the breakdown of his marriage means he’s drinking way too much, leaving the remaining main character – fellow cop Charlie with a surprisingly normal life. Although her much longed for pregnancy makes her vulnerable at the wrong time completely.

As followers of my reviews will know I’m a bit over spending heaps of time in the head of the barking mad serial killer style of books just because that’s a good place to get some shock value. There’s none of that feeling here. There are short segments written from the perspective of a very damaged individual, but it’s not killer-porn. It’s sad, sinister and revealing and it all seems to be building on the “why” (there’s twists and turns that mean it’s less what you think it could be by the end). There are, actually a lot of twists and turns in this plot and some elements that, frankly, made me kick myself for not seeing coming.

[…] Detective Inspector Helen Grace knows too well the dark and depraved side of humanity. It is up to her and her team to figure out who the killer is and what ties the victims together. But as Grace digs deeper she begins to figure out what really ties the victims together and how the past begins to come back to haunt her. But can she face the truth in time to save the next pair of victims as the killer turns the tables and begins to stalk the police themselves.

The plot and mystery here is exceptional. But for me, what really drives this novel is Detective Helen Grace. Arlidge has done a terrific job of developing this character and making her stand out from all the rest of the offerings for female detectives currently out there. Strong, independent, flawed, weak and unrelenting. Arlidge has also surrounded her with a team of characters that makes this one an ensemble as well as a single detective tale.A detective in Southampton, Great Britain, must follow the track of a serial murderer while trying to figure out the murderer’s motives. The victims have no connection to one another—at least, not at first. When the detective starts to figure out what the murderer wants to achieve, she must move fast before the murderer comes for her. British author M.J. Arlidge offers readers a fast-paced thriller in Eeny Meeny, the first novel of the Helen Grace series.


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