M.J. Arlidge - Eeny Meany
"It will be interesting to see if Arlidge can top this one! A stunning debut."
Two hostages. One bullet. One lives. One dies.
'They were soul mates, destined to spend the rest of their lives together'. When a young couple wake up, disorientated and trapped, they are yet to grasp the true horror of their situation. They have no food, no water. Instead there is a gun loaded with a single bullet and a mobile phone with enough power only to deliver a short message: 'When one of you kills the other, the survivor will walk free'.
DI Helen Grace is the lead character in a new series of books from debut author M.J. Arlidge. Despite this being the first book from this author, it is clear to see why they have achieved success in their previous career working in television. The characters, in particular Helen Grace, are very strong but their flaws and life histories gave them a connection to this reader.
'Eeny Meeny' has a serial killer with a difference. This killer doesn't actually do the killing and instead leaves the choice of who will die to the victims. With scenes vaguely reminiscent of the film 'Saw', two people are abducted, and to ensure one's survival, they must kill the other. The scenarios deal with the human instinct of survival and just how far a person will go to live. The author also deals with the aftermath and the effects that this has on each person once they return to their own life, rather than it being a 'happy ever after' which gives the author further insight into human behaviour.
The story is written mainly around Helen Grace although there are also some previous flashbacks from one of the characters. Which character is not made clear until nearer the end, but it does give the reader the opportunity to guess who it may be, and also allows you to question the actions and integrity of each person. The motive for the killings, and the killer once revealed, were extremely plausible to me.
'Eeny Meeny' gripped me from page one and had an ending which didn't disappoint. Roll on the next book which is thankfully only a few months away. It will be interesting to see if Arlidge can top this one! A stunning debut.
Reviewed by: H.A.