Every book in the Helen Grace series by MJ Arlidge is fast-moving, but Love Me Not is the fastest of them all. The action happens, almost exclusively, in one day. It starts in the early morning when a commuter is shot on a rural road. Why kill a respectable wife and mother who has a socially-responsible job? As the day progresses there are more shootings around Southampton, each victim seems completely different from the others. Where is the pattern?
This story is different in that the action is not focussed so much on Helen Grace and, with the exception of a few references to previous books, can be read as a standalone story. There is a gunman on the loose, shooting people at random. Or is it two gunmen? As the victims start to pile-up, a pattern begins to emerge. Will the police identify the shooters in time to stop another murder? Why are the killers staying so close to Southampton? The point-blank callousness of the murders is chilling. When the answers are found, they are unfortunately all too believable. The reader, unlike the police, knows the who but not the why and that’s what keeps the pages turning.
As always with this series, the hunt for a killer is underlain by tensions within the police team. Some of these tensions are caused by Helen herself, as always a challenging, flawed but dynamic character. It is good to see continuing characters such as Charlie Brooks and Emilia Garanita.
I read this in 24 hours.
‘Love Me Not’ by MJ Arlidge, #7 HelenGrace [UK: Michael Joseph]
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LOVE ME NOT by @mjarlidge #crimefiction http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2PL via @SandraDanby