M.J. Arlidge - Pop Goes The Weasel
"...‘Pop Goes the Weasel’ will keep Arlidge at the top as one the best new writers around... "
The body of a middle-aged man is discovered in Southampton's red light district - horrifically mutilated, with his heart removed. Hours later - and barely cold - the heart arrives with his wife and children by courier. A pattern emerges when another male victim is found dead and eviscerated, his heart delivered soon afterwards. The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse; revenge against the men who lead sordid double lives visiting prostitutes. For Grace, only one thing is certain: there's a vicious serial killer at large who must be halted at all costs.
Following on from 'Eeny Meeny', Arlidge returns with the second book in the series. Grace is still suffering from the trauma of the case in 'Eeny Meeny', and many references are made to this. Whilst it is possible to read 'Pop Goes the Weasel' on its own, to get a better understanding of the characters and their behaviour, it would be beneficial to read these books in sequence. I feel this would give the existing characters more depth and keep them interesting as they grow and develop.
As with life, different people respond in different ways to cope with trauma. Grace may not be the easiest of characters to warm to, but Arlidge has made her very interesting and it is easy to be empathetic, if not fond of her. Arlidge portrays his characters warts and all. Each one has strengths and weaknesses, giving them a more realistic feel. Their imperfections only make them more life-like and easier to identify with.
The plot of 'Pop Goes the Weasel' is as gruesome as his debut, and although I thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down, I felt the plot of the first novel had the edge as it was more innovative. Having said that, 'Pop Goes the Weasel' will keep Arlidge at the top as one the best new writers around and will certainly keep me looking forward to the next book.
Reviewed by: H.A.