M.J. Arlidge - Little Boy Blue
"I did not want this book to end."
Detective Inspector Helen Grace is no stranger to tragedy, but when a body is found in a Southampton nightclub, the death cuts too close to the bone.
Hiding her personal connection with the victim - and a double life that must remain secret at all costs - Helen becomes a woman possessed, working her team around the clock to chase down every lead.
As the killer strikes again, the investigation takes its toll not only on Helen but on her senior officers. Tempers flare, friendships fray and Helen faces an impossible choice: confess her sins and lose control of the case? Or does she keep living a lie, protecting her darkest secrets, and risk getting trapped in this tangled web?
But whatever she does, this killer will not stop until the truth is revealed: there are some fates worse than death.
I'm reminded of the advert for Pringles when I read a novel by M J Arlidge - once you pop you can't stop! The same applies here. Once you've opened his books you can't stop reading until you've devoured every page. 'Little Boy Blue' is a one sitting read and I defy anyone to stop reading before they reach the end. So, before you start, cancel your entire day as this book will consume you.
Helen Grace is a wonderfully broken protagonist. She's a brilliant and dedicated detective but her personal life and past are a car crash. However, it is here the two worlds collide and Helen's world may be obliterated. It's as if the previous four books have been leading up to this very moment. We've grown to love Helen and now her secret life is about to be made public we can scream our support just a tad louder. The subordinate characters are also lovingly created and rounded - Charlie Brooks particularly stands out with her self-doubts and loyalty to Helen.
The story is thoroughly well-researched and pitch dark - something we have come to expect from Arlidge. He doesn't shy away from context or dilute his story with unnecessary filler. This is a raw and stark book with amazing set pieces so vivid you almost feel you're there.
Arlidge writes with tremendous pace. His foot is pressed firmly on the accelerator as the plot speeds to an ending so shocking and alarming that you wish an extra fifty pages would suddenly appear. I did not want this book to end.
We have six months before book six, 'Hide and Seek', appears so we have to wait until then to discover the fallout from Helen Grace's most personal case yet. Six months? I don't think I can wait that long!
Reviewed by: M.W.