Little Boy Blue

Written by M.J. Arlidge

Review written by Victoria Goodbody

Little Boy Blue
Michael Joseph
RRP: £10
Released: March 10 2016

DI Helen Grace’s world changes forever, when she’s summoned to investigate the circumstances of a dead body found in a Southampton club. However, this isn’t an ordinary club, as we soon discover.  It is an S & M Bondage club, with the majority of the clientele having things they wish to conceal, particularly from the police. We learn early on that Helen knows the victim well, and also that she’s an active participant in the S & M scene, which she seeks to conceal from her colleagues. 

Unsurprisingly there is a major conflict of interest, between Helen’s personal [and professional] life in the investigation; resulting in Helen losing everything. Interspersed with the chapters describing the investigation, are chapters from the perspective of another client Luke, and the impact the investigation is having on his life.

The characters are fairly one dimensional and stereotypical. Helen Grace is the maverick police officer, who breaks all the rules in order to solve her cases. Her two deputies, also conform to type. DS Charlie Brooks is a working mother with a lot to prove to the rest of her colleagues. Her equal DS Sanderson we learn is also a woman, but is never referred to in the book by her first name, she is either DS Sanderson or Sanderson. She is only too willing to cause trouble for everyone, to settle festering resentment which the case provides her with many opportunities to do so.        

M.J.Arlidge is a screenwriter, which is apparent in the structure of the novel, which has short pacey chapters full of dialogue, which helps drive the plot along. I found the intriguing narrative to be fast paced, which had me turning the pages quickly, keen to find out what would happen next. There were several twists and turns in the plot, which wrong footed me, undercutting what I thought would happen.

I enjoyed the novel far more than I expected to as it was an undemanding read coupled to an absorbing plot, which kept me turning the pages avidly toward the conclusion.  I enjoyed the depictions of life as a female police officer, although I kept finding echoes of the police officer played by Keeley Hawkes in the second series of Line of Duty, in the character of Helen Grace.   The ending of the novel was a total surprise to me, though I found myself wondering if there would be a sequel as like life, there were strands left dangling when the book ended.         


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