Down to the Woods – MJ Arlidge (Helen Grace Book 8)

About the book:  There is a sickness in the forest. First, it was the wild horses. Now it’s innocent men and women, hunted down and murdered by a faceless figure. Lost in the darkness, they try to flee, they try to hide. In desperation, they call out for help. But there is no-one to hear their cries here…

DI Helen Grace must face down a new nightmare. The arrow-ridden victims hang from the New Forest’s ancient oaks, like pieces of strange fruit. Why are helpless holidaymakers being targeted in peak camping season? And what do their murders signify? Is a psychopath stalking the forest? Is there an occult element to the killings? Could the murders even be an offering to the Forest itself? Helen must walk into the darkness to discover the truth behind her most challenging, most macabre case yet.

My Review: Down to the Woods is the latest book in the wonderful Helen Grace series and whilst it could be read as a standalone, personally I think you need to read all the books in order to get a better understanding of who Helen Grace is and the rest of the team.

This book felt very different to the previous 7 in the series, the pace was much slower, the plot-line less frantic and the overall feel was of a slow burner rather than a gripping page-turner.  This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it though, it means the reader has more time to really get to know the main characters in more depth which, as a huge fan of this series, I really appreciated.

Still mourning the death of one of their team members, Helen, Charlie and the rest of the team are struggling with their feelings and emotions and when a mutilated body is found in the New Forest the team have to try to find the killer before he or she strikes again.

This book has so many red herrings  I actually thought I was at Billingsgate Fish Market at times.  I was absolutely convinced I had worked out who the killer was at least 4 times only to realise MJ Arlidge had led me down a one-way street and just left me stranded.

The introduction of a new team member shakes up the dynamics of Grace and her team and personally I loved getting to see her softer and more vulnerable side for a change.  Another great book in one of my favourite series.

About The Author:  M. J. Arlidge has worked in television for the last fifteen years, specializing in high-end drama production, including the prime-time crime serials TornThe Little House and Silent Witness. Arlidge also pilots original crime series for both UK and US networks. In 2015 his audio exclusive Six Degrees of Assassination was a Number One bestseller.

His first thriller, Eeny Meeny, was the UK’s bestselling crime debut of 2014. It was followed by the bestselling Pop Goes the Weasel, The Doll’s House, Liar Liar and Little Boy Blue.

Note:  It’s highly recommended that you read these books in order

  1.  Eeny Meeny
  2. Pop Goes the Weasel
  3. The Dolls House
  4. Liar Liar
  5. Little Boy Blue
  6. Hide and Seek
  7. Love Me Not
  8. Down to the Woods

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