Hide and Seek
By M. J. Arlidge
Detective Inspector Helen Grace has spent her whole life running.
From the past. From herself. From everyone who's ever tried to get close to her.
She's spent her whole life hiding.
Behind the badge. Behind her reputation as one of the country's best detectives. Until - framed for murder - she became one of its most high-profile prisoners.
Now there is nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.
Because HMP Holloway is a place of dark days and long nights with dangers at every turn. Despised by the inmates and reviled by the guards, Helen must face her nightmare alone.
And then a carefully mutilated body is found in a locked cell.
Now Helen must find a ruthless serial killer. Before the killer finds her.
This fast-paced and suspenseful book drew me in right from the opening lines where we are introduced to prisoner Leah Smith. Leah is normally not one to avoid confrontation but on this particular night she is walking quickly and keeping her head down trying to make it back to her cell and safety before lockdown.
They knew. And they were coming for her. It was just a question of where and when. Immediately I wondered who was after Leah and why? I was hooked.
The fear in this initial scene was almost palpable and the author does a very good job of keeping the reader interested.
Helen Grace is a former police officer and lives in the cell next to Leah in Holloway prison. As a former police officer she sits
somewhere between the grasses and serial killers in the prison pecking order. She is an object of derision for many of the prisoners and has few allies within the prison system.
On the outside Helen’s friend and former colleague is working tirelessly to try and find evidence to clear Helen’s name before the case goes to trial. Helen’s sister, Marianne had been locked up for the murder of their parents and was eventually shot dead by Helen. Her nephew, Robert Stonehill, discovered this after a journalist leaked the information. In retaliation he had murdered three people in a successful attempt to frame Helen. Her planted her DNA on the scene and tempted her into lying about her personal connection to the victims.
For Leah the hours after lockup allow her to feel closer to her memories of her two sons Caleb and Dylan who are currently being looked after by her mother. For Helen, however, the hours after lock-up are where she is tortured by the horror of her situation.
Leah wakes in the middle of the night after a nightmare and finds someone sitting on the edge of her bed holding her shiv.
The next morning Leah’s body is discovered,
they’d done a job on her. They sewed up her mouth. Her eye’s too…they sewed her eyelids to her bloody cheeks. That’s how they find her – eyes shut, grinning from ear to ear. Gruesomely, not only was her body mutilated in this way but every other orifice was also sewn shut and stuffed.
Suspecting that there is more to the murder than simple prison justice, Helen decides to do some investigating, endangering herself in the process.
I thought the author did a very good job of describing Cathy Smith’s grief after the death of her daughter,
“It didn’t seem possible. How could it be that so much love, so much effort, so much worry could be expended on someone, only for them to vanish from your life? She would never laugh with Leah again, never nag her, never talk to her. She was gone.”
This book is definitely not for the fainthearted, elements of the book made me feel a bit squeamish including the incident with the hot sugared water. Having said this it certainly didn’t put me off the book, in fact, I think it added to it.
At several points during the book I felt I knew the identity of the killer but I am pleased to say it came as a shock when the identity was revealed. This was one of those books where you wish you could read quicker just to find out what is going to happen next – brilliant.
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