Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace Series #1)

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace Series #1)

by M. J. Arlidge

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Overview

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace Series #1) by M. J. Arlidge

The “dark, twisted, thought-provoking”* international bestseller—first in the series featuring Detective Helen Grace.

Two people are abducted, imprisoned, and left with a gun. As hunger and thirst set in, only one walks away alive.

It’s a game more twisted than any Detective Helen Grace has ever seen. If she hadn’t spoken with the shattered survivors herself, she almost wouldn’t believe them.

Helen is familiar with the dark sides of human nature, including her own, but this case—with its seemingly random victims—has her baffled. But as more people go missing, nothing will be more terrifying than when it all starts making sense....



*#1 New York Times bestseller Tami Hoag

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780698194892
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/02/2015
Series: Helen Grace Series , #1
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 52,794
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

M. J. Arlidge is the international bestselling author of the Detective Helen Grace Thrillers, including Hide and SeekLittle Boy BlueLiar LiarThe Doll’s HousePop Goes the Weasel, and his debut, Eeny Meeny, which has been sold in twenty-nine countries. He has worked in television for the past fifteen years.

Read an Excerpt

1

Sam is asleep. I could kill him now. His face is turned from me—it wouldn’t be hard. Would he stir if I moved? Try to stop me? Or would he just be glad that this nightmare was over?

I can’t think like that. I must try to remember what is real, what is good. But when you’re a prisoner, the days seem endless and hope is the first thing to die.

I rack my brains for happy memories to hold off the dark thoughts, but they are harder and harder to summon.

We’ve been here only ten days (or is it eleven?), yet normal life already seems a distant memory. We were hitching back from a gig in London when it happened. It was pouring rain and a succession of cars had sailed past without a second look. We were soaked to the skin and about to turn back when finally a van pulled over. Inside, it was warm and dry. We were offered coffee from a flask. Just the smell of it was enough to cheer us up. The taste was even better. We didn’t realize it would be our last taste of freedom.

When I came to, my head was pounding. Blood coated my mouth. I wasn’t in the warm van anymore. I was in a cold, dark space. Was I dreaming? A noise behind me made me start. But it was only Sam stumbling to his feet.

We’d been robbed. Robbed and dumped. I scrambled forward, clawing at the walls that enclosed us. Cold, hard tiles. I crashed into Sam and for a brief moment held him, breathing in that smell I love so much. Then the moment passed and we realized the horror of our situation.
We were in a disused diving pool. Derelict, unloved, it had been stripped of the boards, signs and even the steps. Everything that could be salvaged had been. Leaving a deep smooth tank that was impossible to climb out of.

Was that evil shit listening to our screams? Probably. Because when we finally stopped, it happened. We heard a mobile phone ringing and for a brief, glorious moment thought it was someone coming to rescue us. But then we saw the phone’s face glowing on the pool floor beside us. Sam didn’t move, so I ran. Why did it have to be me? Why does it always have to be me?

“Hello, Amy.”

The voice on the other end was distorted, inhuman. I wanted to beg for mercy, explain that they’d made a terrible mistake, but the fact that they knew my name seemed to rob me of all conviction. I said nothing, so the voice continued, relentless and dispassionate:

“Do you want to live?”

“Who are you? What have you done to u—?”

“Do you want to live?”

For a minute, I can’t reply. My tongue won’t move. But then:

“Yes.”

“On the floor by the phone you’ll find a gun. It has one bullet in it. For Sam or for yourself. That is the price of your freedom. You must kill to live. Do you want to live, Amy?”

I can’t speak. I want to vomit.

“Well, do you?”

And then the phone goes dead. Which is when Sam asks:

“What did they say?”


Sam is asleep beside me. I could do it now.

2

The woman cried out in pain. And then was silent. Across her back, livid lines were forming. Jake raised the crop again and brought it down with a snap. The woman bucked, cried out, then said:

“Again.”

She seldom said anything else. She wasn’t the talkative type. Not like some of his clients. The administrators, accountants and clerks stuck in sexless relationships were desperate to talk—desperate to be liked by the man who beat them up for money. She was different, a closed book. She never mentioned where she’d found him. Or why she’d come. She issued her instructions—her needs—clearly and crisply, then asked him to get on with it.

They always started by securing her wrists. Two studded leather straps pulled taut, so that her arms were tethered to the wall. Iron ankle fetters secured her feet to the floor. Her clothes would be neatly stowed on the chair provided, so there she’d stand, chained, in her underwear, awaiting punishment.

There was no role play. No “Please don’t hurt me, Daddy” or “I’m a bad, bad girl.” She just wanted him to hurt her. In some ways it was a relief. Every job becomes routine after a while and sometimes it was nice not to have to pander to the fantasies of sad, wannabe victims. At the same time it was frustrating, her refusal to strike up a proper relationship with him. The most important element of any S&M encounter is trust. The submissive needs to know that they are in safe hands, that their dominator knows their personality and their needs and can give them a fulfilling experience on terms that are comfortable for both parties. If you don’t have that, then it swiftly becomes assault or even abuse—and that was most definitely not Jake’s bag.

So he chipped away—the odd question here, the odd comment there. And over time he’d divined the basics: that she wasn’t from Southampton originally, that she had no family, that she was closing in on forty and didn’t mind. He also knew from their sessions together that pain was her thing. Sex didn’t come into it. She didn’t want to be teased or titillated. She wanted to be punished. The beatings never went too far, but they were hard and unremitting. She had the body to take it—she was tall, muscular and seriously toned—and the traces of ancient scars suggested she was not new to the S&M scene.

And yet for all his probing, all his carefully worded questions, there was only one thing that Jake knew about her for sure. Once, when she was getting dressed, her photo ID slipped from her jacket pocket onto the floor. She snatched it up in a heartbeat—thought he hadn’t seen, but he had. He thought he knew a bit about people, but this one had taken him by surprise. If he hadn’t seen her ID, he’d never have guessed that she was a policewoman.

3

Amy is squatting a few feet away from me. There’s no awkwardness now and she urinates on the floor without embarrassment. I watch as the thin sliver of piss hits the tiles, tiny droplets of it bouncing back up to settle on her dirty knickers. A few weeks ago I would have turned away at the sight, but not now.

Her urine snakes its way slowly down the slope to join the stagnant puddle of waste that has built up at the deeper end. I’m glued to its progress but finally the last drops disappear and the entertainment is over. She retreats to her corner. No words of apology, no acknowledgment. We have become animals, careless of ourselves and of each other.

It wasn’t always like this. At the beginning, we were furious, defiant. We were determined that we would not die here, that together we would survive. Amy stood on my shoulders, her nails cracking as she clawed the tiles, straining to reach the lip of the pool. When that didn’t work, she tried jumping up from my shoulders. But the pool is fifteen feet deep, maybe more, and salvation seems forever just out of reach.

We tried the phone but it was PIN-locked and after we’d tried a few combinations it ran out of power. We shouted and screamed until our throats raged. All we heard in response was our echo, mocking us. Sometimes it feels like we are on another planet, with not another human being for miles around. Christmas is approaching, there must be people out looking for us, but it’s hard to believe that here, surrounded by this terrible, enduring silence.

Escape is not an option, so now we simply survive. We chewed our nails until our fingers bled, then sucked up the blood greedily. We licked the condensation from the tiles at dawn, but still our stomachs ached. We talked about eating our clothes . . . but thought better of it. It’s freezing at night and all that keeps us from dying of hypothermia is our scant clothing and the heat we glean from each other.

Is it my imagination or have our embraces become less warm? Less secure? Since it happened, we have clung to each other day and night, willing each other to survive, desperate not to be left alone in this awful place. We play games to pass the time, imagining what we will do after the cavalry arrives—what we will eat, what we will say to our families, what we will get for Christmas. But slowly these games have tailed off as we realize that we were brought here for a purpose and that there will be no happy ending for us.

“Amy?”

Silence.

“Amy, please say something.”

She doesn’t look at me. She doesn’t talk to me. Have I lost her for good? I try to imagine what she’s thinking, but I can’t.

Perhaps there is nothing left to say. We have tried everything, explored every inch of our prison, looking for a means of escape. The only thing we haven’t touched is the gun. It sits there still, calling to us.

I raise my head and catch Amy looking at it. She meets my eye and drops hers. Could she pick it up? A fortnight ago, I’d have said no way. But now? Trust is a fragile thing—hard to earn, easy to lose. I’m not sure of anything anymore.

All I do know is that one of us is going to die.

4

Stepping out into the crisp evening air, Helen Grace felt relaxed and happy. Slowing her pace, she savored this moment of peace, casting an amused eye over the throng of shoppers that surrounded her.

She was heading for Southampton’s Christmas market. Ranged along the southern flank of the WestQuay shopping center, the market was an annual event—an opportunity to buy original, handcrafted presents that weren’t on any Amazon wish list. Helen hated Christmas, but every year without fail she bought something for Anna and Marie. It was her one festive indulgence and she always made the most of it. She bought jewelry, scented candles and other trinkets but didn’t stint on the comestibles either, snapping up dates, chocolates, an obscenely expensive Christmas pudding and a pretty packet of peppermint creams—Marie was particularly partial to those.

She retrieved her Kawasaki from the WestQuay car park and blasted through the city center traffic, heading southeast toward Weston. She was speeding away from excitement and affluence and toward deprivation and despair, drawn inexorably toward the five monolithic tower blocks that dominate the skyline there. For years they’ve greeted those approaching Southampton by sea and in the past they were worthy of such an honor, being imposing, futuristic and optimistic. But it was a very different story now.

Melbourne Tower was by far the most dilapidated. Four years ago, an illegal drugs factory had exploded on the sixth floor. The damage was extensive, the heart ripped out of the building. The council promised to rebuild it, but the recession put paid to their plans. It was still technically scheduled for renovation but no one believed it would happen now. So the building remained as it was, wounded and unloved, abandoned by the vast majority of the families who used to live there. Now it was the terrain of junkies, squatters and those with nowhere else to go. It was a nasty, forgotten place.

Helen parked her motorbike a safe distance from the towers and continued on foot. Women generally didn’t walk the projects alone at night, but Helen never felt concerned for her safety. She was known here and people tended to steer clear, which suited her fine. All was quiet tonight, apart from some dogs sniffing around a burned-out car, so Helen picked her way past the needles and condoms and stepped inside Melbourne Tower.

On the fourth floor, she paused outside flat 408. It had once been a nice, comfortable council flat, but now it looked like Fort Knox. The front door was riddled with dead bolts, but more striking were the metal grilles—padlocked firmly shut—that reinforced the main entrance. The vile graffiti—flid, retard, mong—that covered the exterior gave a clue as to why the flat was so protected.
It was the home of Marie and Anna Storey. Anna was severely disabled, unable to speak, feed herself or go to the toilet. Anna, now fourteen, needed her middle-aged mother to do everything for her, so her mum did the best she could. Living on benefits and handouts, buying food from Lidl, being sparing with the heating. They would have been okay like that—these were the cards they’d been dealt and Marie was not one to be bitter—had it not been for the local yobs. The fact that they had nothing to do and were from broken homes was no excuse. These kids were just nasty thugs who enjoyed belittling, bullying and attacking a vulnerable woman and child.

Helen knew all this because she’d taken a special interest in them. One of the scrotes—a vicious, acne-covered dropout called Steven Green—had attempted to burn out their flat. The fire crew had got there in time and the damage was contained to the hallway and front room, but the effect on Marie and Anna had been devastating. They were utterly terrified when Helen interviewed them. This was attempted murder and someone needed to be called to account for it. She did her best, but the case never went to court for lack of witnesses. Helen urged her to move, but Marie was stubborn. The flat was their family home and had been kitted out specially to deal with Anna’s mobility limitations. Why should they have to move? Marie sold what valuables she still possessed to fortify the flat. Four years later, the drugs factory blew up. Before that, the lift had worked fine and flat 408 was basically a happy home. Now it was a prison.

Social Services was supposed to call round to keep an eye on them, but they avoided this place like the plague and visits were fleeting at best. And so Helen, who had little to keep her home at night, would pop in. Which was why she’d been there when Steven Green and company returned to finish the job. He was high as usual and clutching a petrol can that he was trying to light with a homemade fuse. He didn’t get the chance. Helen’s baton caught him on the elbow, then across the neck, sending him sprawling to the floor. The others were caught off guard by the sudden appearance of a copper and dropped their petrol bombs to flee. Some of them made it; some of them didn’t. Helen had been well trained in how to take the legs out from under fleeing suspects. She foiled the attack and not long after had the distinct pleasure of watching Steven Green and three of his closest friends get a substantial prison sentence. Some days the job really did give back.

Helen suppressed a shiver. The dingy corridors, the broken lives, the graffiti and filth were too redolent of her own upbringing not to provoke a reaction. It conjured up memories she’d fought hard to suppress and which she forced back down now. She was here for Marie and Anna—she refused to let anything darken her mood today.

She knocked on the door three times—their special code—and after much unlocking, the door swung open.

“Meals on Wheels?” Helen ventured.

“Piss off,” came the predictable reply.

Helen smiled as Marie opened the outer grille for her to enter. Already her dark thoughts were receding—Marie’s “warm” welcome always had that effect on her. Once inside, Helen doled out her gifts, received hers and felt utterly at peace. For a brief moment, flat 408 was her sanctuary from a dark and violent world.

5

The rain poured down, washing away her tears. It should have felt cleansing, but it didn’t—she was too far gone for that. She plunged madly through the tangled foliage of the wood, not heeding her direction. She just needed to keep going. Away. Away. Away.

Thorns tore at her face; stones lacerated her feet. But on she went. Her eyes scanned desperately for someone, something, but all she could see were trees. For a moment she had a terrible thought—was she even in England still? She screamed for help, but her cries were feeble, her throat too hoarse to function.

At Sampson’s Winter Wonderland, families were queuing patiently for Santa’s Grotto. The whole site was really just a handful of tents hastily erected on muddy farmland, but the kids seemed to like it. Father of four Freddie Williams had just bitten into his first mince pie of the season when he saw her. Through the driving rain, she appeared ghostly. Freddie’s mince pie hung in midair as she limped slowly but deliberately across the site, her eyes fixed on him. On closer inspection, she wasn’t ghostly; she was pitiful—bedraggled, bleeding and deathly pale. Freddie didn’t want any part of her—she looked mental—but his legs wouldn’t move, rendered immobile by the fierceness of her gaze. She covered the last few yards quicker than he’d expected and suddenly he was reeling backward as she launched herself upon him. His mince pie somersaulted into the sky, landing with a satisfying splat in a puddle.

In the site office, swathed in a blanket, she didn’t look any less mental. She wouldn’t tell them where she’d been or where she was from. She didn’t even seem to know what day it was. In fact, all they could get out of her was that she was called Amy and that she’d murdered her boyfriend that morning.

Helen jammed the brakes and came to a halt outside Southampton Central Police Station. The futuristic glass and limestone building towered above her, commanding fantastic views over the city and the docks. It was only a year or two old and by any measure was an impressive nick. State-of-the-art custody facilities, a Crown Prosecution Service unit on site, SmartWater testing facilities—it had everything a modern copper needed. She parked up and walked inside.

“Sleeping on the job, Jerry?”

The desk sergeant snapped out of his daydream and tried to look as busy as possible. They always sat up a bit straighter when Helen entered. This wasn’t just because she was a detective inspector; it also had something to do with the way she carried herself. Entering the building clad in her bike leathers, she was six feet of driving ambition and energy. Never late, never hungover, never sick. She lived and breathed her job with a fierceness they could only dream of.

Helen headed straight for the offices of the Major Incident Team. Southampton’s flagship nick might be revolutionary, but the city it watched over remained unchanged. As Helen surveyed the caseload, she sagged a little at the predictable familiarity of it all. A domestic argument that had ended in murder—two lives ruined and a young child taken into care. The attempted murder of a Saints fan by traveling Leeds United supporters, and most recently the brutal killing of an eighty-two-year-old man in a botched mugging. His attacker had dropped the stolen wallet while fleeing the scene, handing the police a clean fingerprint and a swift ID. The perpetrator was well known to Southampton police—just another lowlife who had devastated an unsuspecting family in the run-up to Christmas. Helen was due to brief Crown Prosecutin Service lawyers on the particulars this morning. She opened the file, determined that the case against this little thug should be absolutely watertight.

“Don’t get too comfortable. Job’s on.”

Mark, her DS, approached. A handsome and talented copper, Detective Sergeant Mark Fuller had worked hand in glove with Helen for the last five years. Murder, child abduction, rape, sex trafficking—he’d helped her solve numerous unpleasant cases and she had come to rely on his dedication, intuition and bravery. A nasty divorce had taken its toll, however, and recently he’d become erratic and unreliable. Helen was depressed to notice that he once again smelled of booze.

“Young girl who says she’s killed her boyfriend.”

Mark extracted a photo from his file and handed it to Helen. It had the distinctive Missing Persons stamp on the top right-hand corner.

“Victim’s name is Sam Fisher.”

Helen looked down at the snapshot of a fresh-faced young man. Clean-cut, optimistic, even a touch naive. Mark paused a moment, allowing Helen to examine the photo, before handing her another.

“And our suspect. Amy Anderson.”

Helen couldn’t hide her surprise as she took in the image. A beautiful bohemian girl—twenty-one years old at the very most. With long flowing hair, striking cobalt eyes and delicate lips, she looked the definition of youth and innocence. Helen picked up her jacket.

“Let’s go, then.”

“Do you want to drive or shall—?”

“I will.”

They walked down to the car pool in silence. En route, Helen extracted her DC, who’d been liaising with Missing Persons. The irrepressibly perky Detective Constable Charlene “Charlie” Brooks was a good officer, diligent and spirited, who resolutely refused to dress like a cop. Today’s offering was skintight leather trousers. It was beyond Helen’s remit to take her to task over her dress sense, but she was tempted to nevertheless.

In the car, the stale alcohol on Mark’s breath smelled even stronger. Helen cast a sideways look at him before rolling down the window.

“So what have we got?” she asked.

Charlie already had the file open.

“Amy Anderson. Reported missing a little over two weeks ago. Last seen at a gig in London. She e‑mailed her mother on the evening of the second of December to say she was hitching home with Sam and would be back before midnight. No sign of either since. Her mother phoned it in.”

“Then what?”

“She turns up at Sampson’s this morning. Says she’s killed her boyfriend then clams up. Won’t say a word to anybody now.”

“And where’s she been all this time?”

Mark and Charlie looked at each other. Mark eventually replied:

“Your guess is as good as mine.”

They parked the car in the Winter Wonderland car park and marched to the site office. Entering the tired trailer office, Helen was shocked by the sight that greeted her. The young woman huddling beneath a tatty blanket looked wild, unhinged and painfully thin.

“Hello, Amy. My name’s Detective Inspector Helen Grace—you can call me Helen. May I sit down?”

No response. Helen carefully eased herself into the chair opposite.

“I’d like to talk to you about Sam. Is that okay?”

The girl looked up, a horrified expression spread over her ravaged features. Helen studied her face intently, mentally comparing it to the photo she’d seen earlier. If it hadn’t been for her piercing blue eyes and the historic scar on her chin, they’d have struggled to ID her. Her once lustrous hair was lank, knotted and greasy. Her fingernails were long and dirty. Her face, arms and legs looked like a frenzy of self-harm. And then there was the smell—that’s what hit you first. Sweet. Pungent. Revolting.

“I need to find Sam. Can you tell me where he is?”

Amy closed her eyes. A single tear escaped its confines and ran down her cheek.

“Where is he, Amy?”

A long silence and then finally she whispered:

“The woods.”

Amy categorically refused to leave the sanctuary of the trailer office, so Helen had to use the dog. She left Charlie to babysit Amy, ordering Mark with her. Simpson, the retriever, buried his nose in the bloodstained rags that had once been Amy’s clothes, then shot off through the woods.

It wasn’t hard to see where she’d been. Her progress through the woods had been so blind, so crashing, that she’d rent great holes in the thick undergrowth. Bits of cloth, bits of skin decorated her path. Simpson hoovered these up, bounding through the brush. Helen kept pace behind him and Mark was determined not to be outrun by a woman. But he was laboring, sweating alcohol.

The lonely building came into view. A municipal swimming baths, long since earmarked for demolition, a sad relic of fun times gone by. Simpson clawed at the padlocked door, then broke away, racing around the building before eventually coming to rest by a broken window. Fresh blood decorated the cracked panes. They had found Amy’s cocoon.

Getting inside was tough. Despite the building’s derelict state, care had been taken to secure every possible entry and exit. Secure it against whom? Nobody lived round here. Eventually the lock was forced and the usual ballet began, shoes cased in sterile covers skating over the floor.

And there he was. Lying fifteen feet below them in the diving pool. A brief delay as a long ladder was sought, then Helen was in the pool, face-to-face with Amy’s “Sam.” He was a straitlaced kid, bound for a law firm, but you wouldn’t have known that to look at him. He looked like the corpse of any old dosser you might find on the streets. His clothes were stained with urine and excrement, his fingernails cracked and dirty. And his face. His gaunt face was contorted into a hideous expression—fear, agony and horror written in his twisted features. In life he had been handsome and winning. In death he was repulsive.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Dark, twisted, thought-provoking, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Take a ride on this roller coaster from hell—white knuckles guaranteed.”—Tami Hoag, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Cold Cold Heart

"No doubt about it! Eeny Meeny debuts one of the best new series detectives, Helen Grace. Determined, tough, and damaged, she must unravel a terrifying riddle of a killer kidnapping victims in pairs to send a particularly personal message. Mesmerizing!”—Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Crash & Burn

"What a great premise! . . . Eeny Meeny is a fresh and brilliant departure from the stock serial killer tale. And Detective Inspector Helen Grace is one of the greatest heroes to come along in years.”—Jeffery Deaver, New York Times bestselling author of The Skin Collector and Solitude Creek

“There are so many things about this novel that are expertly pulled off. It has a devious premise. DI Helen Grace is fiendishly awesome. It's scary as all hell….Eeny Meeny is a dark, edgy thriller.”—Will Lavender, New York Times bestselling author of Obedience

“[A] taut, fast-paced debut.”—The Sun (UK)

“A tapestry that chills to the bone.”—Daily Mail (UK)

“A fast-paced roller-coaster ride.”—Life Through Books

“A thrilling and enjoyable read…a shocking twist at the end.”—The Crime Scene

“[A] rip-roaring affair…pulls no punches with its opening lines and doesn’t let go until the very last.”—Boy, Let’s Talk About Books

Customer Reviews

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Eeny Meeny 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
tpolen More than 1 year ago
This book really grabbed me at first - I mean, what a premise - two people imprisoned, no food, no water, a gun and one bullet. Killing the other person is the only way out. But as the book went on, I lost interest in the MC, Helen Grace. She's a flawed and complex character, but very difficult to connect with. I found her to be cold, brash, and generally just unlikable. I felt like the author did an excellent job at getting into the heads of the victims, relaying their thought processes and what they were feeling. I've seen some other reviews that mentioned confusion of changing POVs and short chapters, but that didn't bother me so much. What did bother me was the identity of the killer, but I can't really say why without giving away some spoilers, so I'll just say it was a disappointment. The ending seemed to come about rather abruptly, felt rushed, and just fell flat for me. Overall, I'd say this book started out with a bang, but went out with a whimper after losing its way somewhere around the middle.  This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.
Wanda_M More than 1 year ago
. A twisted, suspense filled thriller that took me to an all time adrenaline high, trying to figure out who did what as yet another victim fell prey to the onslaught. The excitement kept building as I turned each page. Then, as I read on I wondered, who will be next?  And, what is just around the next corner? What will happen after? Each victim  was abducted against their will,  being held prisoner and tortured, both physically and mentally. By killing one will destroy the other. So in the mind, the one who survives will suffer more. But why always in twos? EENY MEENY is truly a compelling story, and the criminal acts are so horrifyingly realistic. But, how are these kidnappings being pulled off without anyone finding out? How are the cops being outsmarted? Why does this frightful human being want each person to undergo such pain, or to be tortured to death? My heart cried out for those poor victims, because of the choices they had to make. There is a killer out there! And we need a hero or heroine to come to the rescue. Helen Grace is there to see that justice is done, and to find out who is causing all of  the kidnappings. She is a tough cop, but is she tough enough, and strong enough to unravel this mind-boggling horrible situation?  A murderer that seems to think that everything is flowing in his/her direction. This executioner must be stopped, and now! But how, when this dangerous person always manages to stay one step ahead of Helen?  Could there be a connection between the killer and the kidnappings? Could there be something in all the victim’s past  that had made them deserving of the murderer’s mindfulness? If so, would Helen be one of the victims too, or will she find out who it is in time before another violent death occurs? Maybe the killer is playing some sort of game. Maybe there is a puzzle to solve. Maybe the killer is wanting to be apprehended. But why go to such extremes? Unless this person is sending Helen a message. That is a strange way to send a message, and what kind of message could be that heartless? A very scary read.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Yes, you'll want to buy this first book in the DI Helen Grace series. BUT DONT! Buy the 6 - pack instead and be able to read Books 1 through 6 in one volume. You'll thank me. Then you'll buy #7 and pre-order #8. Really. The DI Helen Grace series is that good,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Short and sweet. Buy it, read it, love it.
misspider More than 1 year ago
This is the first volume in a new crime series. Helen Grace is a tough british cop with a dark history, carrying around her own personal demons, but this case is pushing even her to the limit. The killer uses an especially cruel and twisted MO, imprisoning two people without food, but with a one-bullet gun, offering one of them a way out by shooting the other. As more and more victims show up, the whole police unit is on the search, even within their own rows. The presented killer's method was not new, but fascinating nonetheless. The flaws and personal problems of Helen Grace and her team give the characters depth and reality, however some parts seemed too stagy for my taste. While I liked the short chapters, their meaning was rendered obsolete by the many jumps between POVs, switching characters and places too sudden. This was often  confusing and while it may have been meant too support the fast pace of the story, instead it slowed it down on many occasions. 'Eeny Meeny' is a very twisted thriller which offers great suspense and introduces an interesting new cop character readers will surely want to read more about. (I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an incredible read! I just couldn't put it down it just totally captivated me and I had to wad through it! The characters were great, the plot well written - and your mind just kept exploding with each new chapter ---- what a mess people make of their lives and how they treat each other. I immediately went and found other books by this author, great read!
Autumn2 More than 1 year ago
I received this book via NetGalley to give an honest review. When I saw the title and read the blurb I was like man this is right up my alley I have got to see if I could read this. Now when this book started off it made me think of the movie SAW. Just the way the victims were set up it came across that way which was not a bad thing. The author did a great job with the descriptions and keeping us readers on our toes as we navigate to find out who this killer was. Now to find out in the end who it was I was like what! Totally didn't see that coming at all. I have to say the one part that got me and I was throwing up in my mouth a bit was with the head wound and maggots that is all I am going to say about it, but I enjoyed it. It was pretty cool and I have to give the characters props as I don't know if in real life I could ever do something like that. DI Helen Grace is a top notch investigator and that is because she has no family, kids or husband it is just her so she is perfect for being able to throw her life right into her work. Though she does have her own demons she deals with on a daily basis which we learn what she does to ease them for just a bit.  When the first living victim is found it is up to Helen to figure out who the killer is and why is she targeting certain people, what is making her tick and she is racing against the clock. Some of the scenes are dark and gory which for me I love in books. Yes I am that sick person lol.  Now on a book like this I wouldn't hesitate to give this book a solid five wine glass rating, but being as I had some issues with the book it dropped it down. One of the issues being the changing of characters or scenes right in the middle of the chapter. I believe if you are changing characters or scenes then you need to either add some of these symbols *** or do another chapter even if it is small. Because when you are in the middle of a conversation with a character then next then you know you are with Jack it is like umm what did I miss?  The second thing was how did Helen find Hannah? I went back to re-read but either I missed or maybe I just missed it, so maybe another reader can clarify this for me.  Overall a really good story and I recommend this to anyone who likes crime, mystery, thrillers, suspense, action dark and gory. But be warn that there is reference to sexual child abuse within this story. 
Anonymous 10 months ago
Will be reading the next one
SherryF More than 1 year ago
The cover and title for Eeny Meeny by M J Arlidge made this an easy reading choice for me. It gave me a feeling of danger and kept me reading to the end. It’s his debut novel…and it’s a good one. Adult Reading. S&M, bondage. Hitchhiking, I think not. It will be very hazardous to someone’s health. Sam and Amy had been taken and Amy wondered if she was capable of doing what was necessary to survive. The psychological horror for Amy starts on the very first page. Will it destroy her? Helen was born to be a cop. She is a wicked good cop, with a flawed, yet soft heart, dedicated to her job. With a sadist serial killer, Eeny Meeny reads like a Criminal Minds episode. Some characters are flawed, but for me, that makes them more interesting. What is normal? Others are innocent, yet doomed. Who and why? Have I met the killer? Mystery and betrayal. Confrontation and choice? Love and sacrifice. Someone was playing a devious and cruel game. It took me a while to figure out the connection. Be careful. The author is not afraid to kill off anyone if it suits his purpose. I love dark and evil, with mystery and suspense to die for, and we have plenty of it here. I will be on the lookout for the next story in the Detective Inspector Helen Grace series. I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Eeny Meeny by M J Arlidge.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
Detective Helen Grace has a terrible situation to deal with. When a young woman kills her boyfriend, the story she tells is hard to believe. They were kidnapped and dumped into an abandoned dive pool with nothing but a gun with one bullet. To survive, one of them must kill the other, then they will be set free. The evidence proves the story true, now what. When more pairs turn up, Helen and her team are racing against the clock. The press are not helping any. The title "Eeny Meeny" is so appropriate. How and why are the victims being selected. Once they are in captivity, one of them will live, one will not. The one who lives, is haunted by what they did and unable to function back in "normal" life. This book had me hooked quickly and I enjoyed the way the plot moved. The crimes were unique and not the normal run of the mill that I had read before. Helen Grace is a complex character. As the story unfolds, we learn more about her past and what has made her into the woman she is. There are chapters throughout the book told about past situations and the narrator of these seems to be the murderer, but is it? A good thriller that introduces us to Helen Grace and her team and I will definitely look for more in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved reading this from the start with the "choice" premise, but the rushed ending, lack of real character development in the final chapters and frustrating wrap up overshadowed the good. Should have stopped 30 pages from the end and come up with a more satisfying conclusion.
shannonteea More than 1 year ago
a real page turner that will keep you enthralled
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings The first in a series that centers around Detective Inspector Helen Grace. Through this first book, the reader gets to know DI Helen Grace and her team while the go through their first major case. A serial killer is kidnapping people in sets of two and giving them an ultimatum they live when someone between the two dies. A little confusing, but trust me it was good. I loved starting this series at the beginning and getting to know the DI and her team while they are in action trying to track down a serial killer. With the chapters being short and sweet, I thought before starting that this book would lack flow - I was wrong, it did not. Instead I kept reading and reading well past my bedtime when I picked it up and almost got halfway done. I just wanted to keep reading and reading and the pace didn't slow from page one to the very end.
acorley84 More than 1 year ago
I do want to clarify that contrary to my rating system, I would give Eeny Meeny a solid 3.5 rating, however, I don't have the clip art to depict that! So, with that being said, I also must admit that some of the lack of rating is due to the fact that this story is a British Detective Mystery, which isn't always my favorite, especially when I'm listening to them. It takes me a bit to get used to the accent, and by the time I do, sometimes I find myself having a hard time getting into the story! With that being said, I honestly don't know that I could have told you that this title had four different narrators. Two, yes...but I never would have guessed four! Maybe I just wasn't paying a great deal of attention to the detail in the voices, I don't know! I think that the premise of the story isn't particularly unique, but interesting, nonetheless. It makes you wonder what you would do in that situation. It also is proof that the human race is that of sick and deranged people, and sometimes those people are the people that you'd least expect, as we find with DI Helen Grace! I have mixed feelings about Helen Grace! I do intent to read the next book in the series, as it is a read provided to me by Netgalley, so hopefully after that I will have more of an informed opinion of her! I had a difficult time in trying to come up with a rating for this title, and still struggle with it a bit! I am impressed with the surprise ending, but the story just didn't seem to capture me like others do! I found myself not really feeling much emotion toward it at all! Perhaps it was my mood at the time of reading...who knows! I should have a better picture of my feelings and thoughts after reading Pop Goes the Weasel!
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Eeny Meeny by M.J. Aldridge is a British suspense/thriller novel. It is the first book in DI Helen Grace Thriller series. Detective Inspector Helen Grace is devoted to her job as the head of the Major Incident Team at the Southampton Central Police Station. She had a rough childhood and does not let anyone get close to her. Helen’s latest case, though, is going to push her to the limits. Amy Anderson and Sam Fisher were kidnapped and held hostage. They were unable to escape. They were given a cell phone and a gun (no food, no water, and no facilities). The only way they could leave was if one of them died. Amy is the only one to come out alive. Helen is not sure if she can believe the story or not until two other people are kidnapped. Helen and her team are going to have to be quick to get ahead of this killer. Eeny Meeny is a wonderful novel. It keeps you riveted until the very end. It is a well-written book that I could not put down. I give Eeny Meeny 5 out of 5 stars. There is violence, sex, and foul language in this book. Also, it is a British novel so some of the phrases and word spellings are unfamiliar but can be figured out from the context. This book will keep you guessing with all the wonderful twists and turns. I cannot wait until the next book in the series. I received a complimentary copy of Eeny Meeny from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.
debwill74 More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Eeny Meeny is a wild dark ride with many twists and turns. It left me guessing till the bitter end as to who the perpetrator is.
VioletL More than 1 year ago
A dark, insidious thriller, that will keep you interested till the end. The ending will surprise you! Don't miss reading this book if you enjoy thrillers.
RaquelGabrielle More than 1 year ago
I needed a good mystery and this hit the spot for me. I read some other reviews before looking to much farther into this book and many said if you liked the Saw movies then you would like this. I liked the first couple of Saw movies when it actually but I think after the third one it went down from there. This book lived up to those first couple of Saw movies.
Aiwe More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of this from Netgalley. A great start to this mystery series! The story was well written and I enjoyed the twists and turns. It was a bit gruesome for my tastes, so I would not recommend it to those with weak stomachs. If you enjoy thrillers, you are probably used to that already though. The characters are well written. They have flaws, even the main character is wrong at times. So often you read a mystery and the main detective come off as all knowing and it takes you out of the story. Allowing for a character to be wrong at times makes them much more believable. Overall, I enjoyed reading it and would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of thrillers.
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
WOW!   This book had me on the edge of my seat.  I was unable to put it down.    I was invested in the outcome and totally shocked at the entire story.     Crime novels are a favorite of mine.   I love a good murder mystery.      M.J. Arlidge is an amazing author.   This is the first one by her that I have read and cannot wait for more of the Helen Grace series.    Eeny Meeny kept me guessing who the killer was.  I really had no clue who it was until the end.    I was intrigued, guessing, and kept changing my mind as to the actual motive and murderer.   I love that there was no cliffhanger, even though there is more to this series.    Yet, there is definitely more to Helen and how she will handle what has happen.    The chapters were interesting.    I liked that they were short, but sometimes I was confused as to who was telling the story.    There was no signal for a point of view change.    There were other times I felt like a chapter ended and another started continuing the same information of the story.    It caused me to have to re-read some parts of the chapters and re think what I was reading.    I enjoyed the storyline, the characters, and cannot wait for more.    Check out this series.