Monday, 10 April 2017

Running Blind by M.J. Arlidge (DI Helen Grace, #0.6) - Book Review

4/5 Stars

There's a dark secret lurking amid the quiet fields of Hampshire,

one that Helen is determined to uncover...

Edition: Kindle
Pages: 101 (Roughly.)
Chapters: 41
Publisher: Penguin

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Facebook


Love a complex heroine that lives in the dark, depressing dwellings of evil? I do, and Helen Grace is one of the brightest. Running Blind, a solid short story that expands the series' protagonist's origins, is extremely enjoyable. Filled to the brim with morality, self-discovery, and, of course, the prerequisite doses of adrenaline-infused action, it's a novella with bite.

So I invite you to take a trip to England's Southampton during the early 90s, and witness rookie officer Helen Grace as she dodges her past and problematic persons in her present to fulfil her passion for justice. 

It's a juicy tidbit that'll have you salivating for the new core instalment, Love Me Not, which releases next month.


New to the police force, WPC Helen Grace is assigned to her first clear-cut case. Sure there's something sinister beneath the surface, Helen has a bad feeling...but who's going to take the word of a rookie?

Fresh out of Police College, 18-year-old WPC Helen Grace is the first to arrive on the scene of a fatal collision. Her colleagues see nothing amiss, convinced that the young man's death was a tragic accident. But Helen is not so sure.

Who is their mystery victim? Why would he risk life and limb running across a busy highway? And what might he have been running from?

There's a dark secret lurking amid the quiet fields of Hampshire, one that Helen is determined to uncover.

Plot - 4/5 Stars

Running Blind is a simple, yet frighteningly realistic case that bares the brutality that human beings are capable of inflicting. It's shocking and true. But Arlidge doesn't leave the reader floundering in the murky emotions alone. Enter newbie Helen Grace, a fresh recruit with a troubled past. She is the bold antithesis to the darkness; a light that stoically fights for justice.

The novella balances itself extremely well, building its procedural case with sturdy foundations while showcasing the talents of the series' main character. 

Short and bittersweet are the ingredients for the day, and they go down smoothly.

Pace - 4/5 Stars

Simply put: A fast, fun, ferociously delightful short e-book.

Characters - 4/5 Stars

Its relatively short length doesn't allow Running Blind much room in the way of cast progression, but the author does a stellar job with his main gal, and some side characters often surprise the reader with shining moments of palpable personality.

The e-book's undoubted focus centres on Grace's journey of self-discovery. Older than her eighteen years, she absorbs skills and information like a sponge, ready to apply her piercing perception to the hardest of puzzles. Running Blind finds her mostly enjoying her rotations through various police departments, but, alas, her tenacity, curiosity, and compassion place her on a very distinctive path that comes as no surprise to the reader or Helen.

Criminal investigations are where her destiny awaits, and they're a place that our complex heroine clicks in with determined ease.

Writing - 4/5 Stars

Arlidge creates vivid and emotional scenes that linger in the reader's eye; an especially admirable feat considering the novella's fast, action-packed flow.

Overall - 4/5 Stars

All in all, Running Blind is a handy little treat that'll satisfy fans of the series in the run-up to the next core instalment, Love Me Not.

Previous Instalment: No Way Back
Next Instalment: Eeny Meeny

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