Hide and Seek – M.J. Arlidge

I declared my love for this series in a previous post and pre-ordered my paperback edition of this latest installment absolutely ages ago. I then waited a couple of days before starting it, as I was busy, and know full well that I have to dedicate some serious time to these tales.

Hide and Seek begins with Helen in prison. This could be considered a spoiler but to be completely honest, you should only read this if you’ve read the whole series and if you have done that, you’ll know full well she’d be locked up. Also, it’s in the blurb.

Helen in prison was always going to be interesting. She’s not all that great either with criminals or authority figures so prison is really not the place for her.

We open with a rather brutal and twisted murder. Twisted and brutal enough to be interesting! No ‘random body found in cell’ here, oh no, much better. The murder takes place in Helen’s block and the whole block is terrified for their safety, as Leah was murdered in her bed, and they are locked in and alone at night.

Helen has to investigate. Of course she does. But she also has a lot to contend with. Given the nature of the murders she’s been convicted of, some suspicion falls on her. She’s also attracted the negative attentions of Wheelchair Annie, the prison’s drug dealer and go-to woman (there’s a phrase for this but it’s evading me right now). This all means that she lands herself in a few sticky situations in her attempt to find the truth.

This all occurs alongside the story of the outside, where we follow Helen’s faithful friend and colleague Charlie hunting down Robert Stonehill, the nephew Helen swears set her up. This is equally frustrating as we as readers know the truth, but at the same time sympathise with those who are questioning Charlie’s actions. The job on Helen was very well done!

Jonathan Gardam, the top guy at Southampton Police force (they all have titles but my book’s upstairs and that’s very far away right now), is a repulsive character. I must admit, I’ve kind of forgotten the intricacies of this particular plot point but he is awful.

Anyway, this is certainly not a disappointment. It’s a fairly awesome mix of everything good about the series with a bit of a feel of Orange Is The New Black thrown in. It’s a bit toned down from OitNB obviously – no explicit sex scenes or panty businesses here, but it’s got the same ‘characters’ I guess, with the same dynamics.

The pace of this is just amazing. I was completely exhausted yesterday purely because I could not put this down. I was maybe 120 pages from the end when I picked it up, and just had to finish it before I could go to sleep. The chapters are really short and that keeps you interested.

It’s just a good book. The whole series is just good. Just try them.

Currently reading:
Book: The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry and The Vegetarian, by Han Kang.
Audio: Kill Me Twice, by Anna Smith

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