Pop Goes The Weasel
Helen Grace, Book #2
By M. J. Arlidge
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 . . .
Helen has another serial killer to track down. This time someone is killing men who frequent prostitutes in very rundown areas of town. Not only is the killer mutilating the bodies and doing unthinkable things, they are sending body parts (the heart) to the victim’s family. These body parts are arriving as gifts wrapped up in brown paper. Helen knows that this is one sick individual who is responsible for these horrendous acts and catching them will not be an easy task. She will do whatever it takes to solve these crimes before the body list continues to grow.
The characters are well developed, well rounded and three dimensional. But none of them are particularly likable and are not people you really want to cheer for. All of them have their problems and they all have character flaws. They are an unforgettable cast of characters, though, and I found myself thinking about them even after I finished the book. This is one of the things I really liked about this book.
Helen is a no-nonsense type of person who plays by her own set of rules. Unfortunately those rules do not always mesh with department rules and she finds herself in some tricky situations more often than she would like. She has a lot of baggage from her past and sometimes that load is more than she can bear. But she knows that there is a serial killer one the loose and she will do whatever it takes to find the killer and bring justice for the victims and their families. She struggles to get along with some of her coworkers and her superior but realizes that sometimes you have to play nice to achieve your desired outcome. Sounds like a good life lesson to remember.
This book is gritty and hard hitting. The crimes are gruesome and the description of the crime scenes and the condition of the bodies is top notch. I thought the suspense and tension were riveting and I could not keep turning pages fast enough to find out more details. The fact that the chapters are short helped me read the book faster because I kept thinking, “okay, just one more chapter” that usually turned into five more chapters. Parts of the book are dark and twisted and exactly what I want when I read a suspense thriller.
I would definitely recommend reading book one, Eeny Meeny, before reading Pop Goes The Weasel. There are many references to the case that Grace was working on and who the killer is from that book. I want to go back and read book one but now I need to wait awhile so that my memory can forget this information. Reading the books in order will prevent you from having the same problem. I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a well plotted mystery suspense thriller.