Available from booksellers nationwide on 24 April 2015
I now know exactly what I will be doing in early September this year: reading the coming Liar Liar, 4th in the Helen Grace series, which started with Eeny Meeny, then Pop Goes the Weasel, and now The Doll’s House – by UK author M J Arlidge, due for release on 12th February. I love this author’s style.
The accidental discovery of a young woman’s body in wet, cold, beach sand, having died of starvation in the darkness, begins DI Grace and her team’s investigation, leading them to trace the body’s identity and background.
At the same time, a parent reports the disappearance of their daughter Ruby, who shares the same hair and eyes.
Grace’s intuition tells her there is a link between the two cases, and when one of her team finds two old case files of similar missing persons, she realises the body uncovered on the beach is the first of three, all sharing distinctive features. Further examination of the beach reveals the two bodies – also having died of starvation in darkness, and over a four-year period. Another serial killer is out and about.
In the meanwhile, Ruby is being held in an isolated room, in darkness, occasionally visited by her captor, who seeks to replicate in Ruby the long gone love of his life, his sister Summer. He fantasises that the “Summer” living in the room below ground (set up to replicate their childhood safe place) is still having difficulty “adjusting” to being together again.
Forced to dress in clothing not of her own choosing, only being fed when she “behaves”, Ruby finds a stash of secret notes in a hiding place behind a loose brick, all written by the three previous captives. She learns to play her captor for small allowances – things she can turn to tools for an escape bid.
Meanwhile, on a personal level, DI Grace’s desperation for finding a trace of her missing nephew* leads her into breaching procedures, snooping through the national police database, and at last finding an entry under his name. A colleague helps track the full file. Grace is caught in a set-up created to rid the team of Grace and the overshadowing glory cast by her earlier successes.
The investigation is ensnared in false leads, but with assistance from a former nuisance, Grace finally has the full picture – where Ruby is most likely to be held, who the captor is, his motivation…and his intent.
The serial killer has found another candidate to become his Summer. Enraged by Ruby’s escape attempt, and realising police are watching his place of work, he tries to dispose of both Ruby and the doll’s house in which he has been holding her.
‘Read carefully, I will say only “zis”‘ … a lone Kawasaki motorbike is faster than a patrol car, and the absence of backup creates an urgent need to go it alone.
Published by Penguin, this is joining one of my crime authors’ collections on my shelves.
Reviewed by Lynne McAnulty-Street
The Doll’s House
by M J Arlidge
Digital Audiobook ISBN: 9781405921008
Paperback ISBN: 9781405919197
ePub eBook ISBN: 9781405919203