Wow, it’s been a long time since I wrote a book review. The past 6+ weeks have been absolutely crazy. I can’t even say that I was reading a ton and forgot to post. Unfortunately, I was just busy adulting and basically living life the whole time. But I digress, I am here to talk about books!
M.J. Arlidge writes one of my favorite crime thriller series featuring D.I. Helen Grace. I started reading this series right before the second book came out, and I’ve been hooked every since. I am especially grateful to Berkley/ New American Library for sending me an advance copy. Being able to read an early copy of one of my auto-buy authors was a huge treat.
Rating: 4/5 stars!
Detective Helen Grace gets caught in an inferno of death and destruction in the red-hot new thriller from the author of Eeny Meeny, Pop Goes the Weasel, and The Doll’s House
Detective Helen Grace has never seen such destruction. Six fires in twenty-four hours. Two people dead. Several more injured. It’s as if someone wants to burn the city to the ground…
With the whole town on high alert, Helen and her team must sift through the rubble to find the arsonist, someone whose thirst for fire—and control—is reducing entire lives to ashes.
One misstep could mean Helen’s career—and more lives lost. And as the pressure mounts and more buildings burn, Helen’s own dark impulses threaten to consume her…
My honest review:
Right off I want to talk about this cover. I’m a sucker for a great cover. That being said I thought the cover for Liar Liar was perfect. The more I read the book the more I realized how fitting it really was. A gorgeous cover that perfectly matches the story plot of the book is a definite thing of beauty.
As the synopsis above states, this book is not about your typical serial killer. Yes people die, and yes it’s pretty gruesome. However, adding the element of a serial arsonist is a very nice twist on the usual serial killer character. Some series start getting predictable as they move forward. The same problems happen the same way each and every book. Some authors even have a formula developed to help them write books faster by simply plunking in details into designated places. This is NOT at all how M.J. Arlidge writes. This is the 4th novel in the series, and the arsonist villain was a perfect change. It kept the series interesting and alive for many books in the future.
Throughout the book a suspect seems nonexistent or there are too many suspects. This added to the complexities of an already complex storyline. I liked the many rabbit holes the case dropped into. At times you felt a hopelessness that things could never be solved. I suspected I knew who the arsonist was halfway through the book, but I was happily wrong. I love getting blindsided by a surprise conclusion. The excitement and anticipation helped the plot move along quickly.
Throughout the book we slowly learn a bit more about D.I. Grace. To say she is a complicated character is a monumental understatement. In The Doll’s House (book 3) we learn a lot more of her past and the skeletons hidden in her closet. Now that a lot of the past has been told we are seeing some of the subtle, softer sides of Helen Grace. She is slightly more relatable and definitely seems more personable. One of my favorite parts of this series is learning more about her character and seeing how she evolves.
I know I’ve touched on it before, but the arsonist angle was seriously a nice change up for book 4. It was a breath of fresh air, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I originally thought I would. There are some scenes in Helen’s personal life that might be a bit much or hard to understand for some readers. I like the subplot a lot and think it adds another level of complexity to each book. But please just be advised. I think most mystery and thriller readers will easily have no problems with that addition.
Interact with M.J. Arlidge at the links below ∇