This is the fourth novel featuring Detective Helen Grace (and the first one I’ve read) written by M.J. Arlidge.
Quick paced with 433 pages and 143 chapters.
Detective Helen Grace is faced with an arsonist in the town of Southampton, England. Six fires in twenty-four hours, two people dead and several more injured. It’s as if someone wants to burn the city to the ground…
“These days she seemed to lurch from one mini-crisis to the next, achieving little, pleasing no one, forever facing choices that left her the loser whichever way she jumped. Would she get better at this? Or was this how it would always be? Perhaps the brutal truth was that, whatever she did and whatever she tried, this was one circle that Charlie would never be able to square.”
With the whole town on high alert, Helen and her team must sift through the rubble to find the arsonist, someone whose thirst for fire—and control—is reducing entire lives to ashes.
One misstep could mean Helen’s career—and more lives lost. And as the pressure mounts and more buildings burn, Helen’s own dark impulses threaten to consume her.
DI Grace and DC Brooks are heavily featured here, which was the highlight of this novel for me as you learn more about their relationship and both characters’ strengths and weaknesses. DI Grace’s past haunts her, it makes her heavily flawed, yet oh so human. DC Brooks’s own past stays with her every single day. It affect both how she raises her daughter and her job as a police officer. Both women are tough, resilient and formidable and saving lives is all that matters to them.
I honestly couldn’t figure out who was behind it all, until at the last minute when I started to suspect one person. But, even after that did Arlidge surprise me with an intriguing twist to the story.
Helen’s boss (yes, boss) questioning her about her personal life and pontificating in an internal monologue on how sad she must be to not have anyone. Not all single people are friendless losers…
The police procedures get a bit overbearing at times and the characters are flat and hard to connect with. The good guys seemed darker than the villain and the Dominatrix scene.. I nearly threw the book away at that point.
Since it’s the first time picking this author up and this is the fourth book in a series and I don’t usually like detective novels, I’ll put it in my charity box. Not good enough for my bookcase. (1/5)