DI Helen Grace returns in Pop Goes the Weasel, the electrifying new thriller from M. J. Arlidge.
The body of a middle-aged man is discovered in Southampton’s red-light district – horrifically mutilated, with his heart removed.
Hours later – and barely cold – the heart arrives with his wife and children by courier.
A pattern emerges when another male victim is found dead and eviscerated, his heart delivered soon afterwards.
The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse; revenge against the men who lead sordid double lives visiting prostitutes. For Grace, only one thing is certain: there’s a vicious serial-killer at large who must be halted at all costs . . .
Okay. Now, I’m a little more critical of serial killer stories because they’re so ‘popular’ in so many mediums. I can understand that people are facincated by fictional multiple murders. However, in the past I’ve found that there’s a very fine line between intriguing and cliche’. Sadly, there were parts in Pop Goes the Weasel that I cringed in. I can’t think off my head a book that’s attempted to ‘educate’ a reader of this minority group, without referring you to the reference books that are on my desk 24/7 thanks to my profession, but you’ll know it when I praise it, if it happens again one day. There was a particular chapter that I thought was probably the worst of the who book, which were ch79 and ch82. I won’t go into detail because I don’t want to put spoilers, but it was far too cliche for my taste. I’m wondering if the use of female offenders is something the author is trying to make this thing?
Other than that though, it was a pleasant read. The writer certainly has a way with word. I enjoy the easy flow of words, which is helped by the shorter chapters. I find this a winning pro of a book. It allows us to feel as if we’re reading more, by reading less. I enjoyed the few little twists. The reveal of the murdered was actually surprising, I’m not sure that you would actually pick it if you weren’t told.
The character I love to hate would definitely be that reporter Emilia. I think the author painted her with the same brush that many ‘investigative journalists’ are like. I’m not sure I like the storyline with Helen and Jake. I can see that the author is giving us depth to the main character, but…
So, overall. It was a pleasant read. The author is a skillful story teller, but errs on the cliche’ side a bit, which I could assume would be because of his ‘day’ job. If you enjoy serial killers, then you may enjoy this one. But you have to read it first without relying on my review.
I give this: 3.5/5