Saturday, 31 May 2014

Book Club: May 2014

This is something new that's going to be appearing monthly on my blog because I've joined a book club with some of my fellow bloggers: Isha, Ragini, Marie, and Cynthia! I've never been part of a book club before, and I've spoken about my love of books on here previously, so I'm very excited about it. Whether you're a regular book reader or not, I hope you find these monthly posts useful, and who knows - maybe you'll find something suitable for you to read? Feel free to join in! I will try to keep my reviews as short as possible, plus I'm not that good at writing reviews anyway. I also won't spoil anything that you wouldn't already know from the blurb, in case anyone wants to read the book too. Enjoy!

May 2014: Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

So we decided each month a different person would choose a book for the group to read, going alphabetically, which meant I was up first. I tend to have a long list of books that I want to read, but Eeny Meeny was one I heard about really recently when Richard & Judy were discussing their book club on TV. It's always nice having books recommended by someone with good or similar taste, especially as I can be quite picky. Unfortunately I DO judge a book by it's cover (and I do mean books, not people), as well as the blurb, so if it doesn't grab me in the first sentence I usually put it straight back on the shelf. It does mean lots of time wasted in a book shop, but I prefer that than wasting time on a bad book. What grabbed me about Eeny Meeny is that it's the sort of story I would watch as I am a big thriller/horror film fan. However, whenever I'd read detective type books in the past I've ended up getting seriously bored as they spend too much time describing every little detail, or telling us every aspect of the detectives lives, and therefore didn't finish the book. But I read Eeny Meeny in about four or five days as I couldn't put it down.

'The girl emerged from the woods, barely alive.
Her story was beyond belief. But it was true.
Every dreadful word of it.

Days later, another desperate escapee is found
- and a pattern is emerging. Pairs of victims are
being abducted, imprisoned then faced with a
terrible choice: kill or be killed.

Would you rather lose your life or lose your mind?'

'Let's watch it, lets watch it!' is what I would scream if it was a film, so of course I had to read this book. The writer, M.J. Arlidge, has worked in television for the past fifteen years, mainly focussing on drama and crime productions, including Silent Witness, which comes as no surprise when reading the book. Whenever I read I always imagine the characters and story developing in my head, but reading this book was actually like picturing a TV drama. It had just the right amount of description, not going into much details, and the chapters were incredibly short which made a welcome change from A Song of Ice & Fire series. In my head each short chapter was like cutting inbetween scenes in a TV episode, and it really worked to keep me on edge. It also meant I got swept away and before I knew it I had read a hundred pages.

The story line has a Saw vibe (the movie) to it, but isn't particularly gory in description. There was one bit towards the end, unrelated to blood or death, that did make me want to gag but I did quickly recover. Don't let that put you off though, as the story has mainly a detective focus rather than bloodshed like Saw and I really wouldn't describe this book as a 'gory' one. If anything it's more like Criminal Minds. The main character is Detective Inspector Helen Grace who we follow as she tries to solve these murder cases. We do know a bit about her character and her colleagues, which develops throughout the story, but like I said there's not over the top descriptions which isn't from bad writing but has been done on purpose. I found having less descriptions meant more time for the story line which kept fast pace and meant it was easier to read especially as I had this rolling TV programme in my head. What was a pleasant surprise was that the setting of the book is based in Southampton, which I know very well as I lived there for three years whilst as University, so I could actually picture some of the places mentioned. It was like a happy reminder as I only left Southampton a year ago and I sometimes miss it.

As you can tell from the blurb, the story line is about couples that are abducted and then are told that only one of them can survive. They are also given a gun with one bullet. Starvation, paranoia and desperation sets in, which can lead to unexpected endings. This obviously amuses the captor but what do they want? We get small snippets of the killer's back story throughout the book from their point of view, but does a terrible childhood justify murder? Detective Grace and her team have very little to go by as the captor has hid their tracks well, and the whole books leaves you clueless to who it could be. If I have one issue with the book it's that even though the reader is clueless, I feel for the detective it should've been obvious. (and that won't make sense to you whilst reading the book, so I haven't given anything away) Despite minor details, this books gives you a lot to think about - what drives a person to kidnap and force murder upon innocent people? How would you yourself cope in a hostage situation? Kill or be killed? At the end, are we all just the same - survivalists?

I was tempted to give this book three stars, but I think that would be way too harsh. I think it's because the ending left me feeling like 'oh, ok', and for me ending's are the most important part. I've been known to watch an amazing film and hate the ending, therefore that film is no longer relevant. Although, the ending to this book wasn't that bad, but wasn't amazing either. But please, do not let that put you off as it was still a really good read, and therefore I am giving it four out of five stars. (I'm doing stars because of Goodreads - feel free to add me) However, at the end of this book there was a snippet of Arlidge's next book, which I was surprised to see will be a carry on of Detective Helen Grace so it's obviously going to become a detective crime series. I would be interested to see how it would carry on, as I'm not sure how it would work, bearing in mind the ending of this one. I don't know if I would jump to read it but it depends how much the blurb lures me in, like this one did!

4 out of 5 stars

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to check out my fellow blogger's book club reviews:
What will next month's book be, I wonder?


  1. I think it's really interesting that you gravitated toward the book because of your love of horror/crime film! One of the things I actually didn't like about it is that at time Arlidge's background in TV was so obvious, and it felt more like stage direction than a novel. But I can see how a love of a similar genre on the screen would make this a much better read! It was definitely an interesting reading experience, so thank you for that darling!

    1. Yes, I think you're right - it's really obvious his background is in TV and he's written it almost like a ready script. I can imagine that it will be made into a TV series at sometime in the future. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it even it's not 100% your cup of tea. x

  2. Thanks for a great review. I think I'll put this on my list x3

    Looks like it's something for me, with crime and mystery :)