Two victims, one choice: to kill or be killed. The story of the girl escaping from the woods seems crazy. However, another victim is emerging claiming that someone kidnapped and imprisoned them until one of them killed the other one. Inspector Helen Grace is tasked to find the silent killer than imprisons its victims and forcing them to turn on one another as the one who kills, will be set free. But where do you start when there isn’t a pattern?
The main plot was ingeniously constructed and gripped me from the first page. The book is set in short chapters and alternating POV’s which I am not a fan of, but in this book it worked really well. The first victims, a young couple, are kidnapped and imprisoned in an abandoned swimming pool. The kidnapper leaves them with a gun and a phone with a simple message: kill the other one to be free. The portrayal of these characters undergoing physical and psychological breakdown is utterly fascinating and gruesome, carrying the reader through their struggles whilst they’re faced with the ultimate choice.
The investigation side of the story seems to have lacked strength and realism. At times it feels that DI Grace is more or less solo running the investigation, with Mark and Louise providing additional support even when an entire team is in charge with these cases. It makes no sense! More often than not I found that the POV’s of these other characters distracted from the main story. There was also some confusion of a side plot that popped somewhere mid-book that DI Grace was also investigating in relation to a mole leaking information and it all took the attention away from the main bit. This is where Arlidge added too much to the plot and the weight of it all made it hard for his characters to carry it without losing the reader and threatening the credibility of the story. Regardless though, I really enjoyed it!
DI Grace is an interesting character, however it feels like it was not fully fleshed out and lacked the abilities to carry her story with enough conviction. I never fully understood her affair with her insubordinate and the way she interacted with her Superior and Louise Tanner when inquiring into the leak was at times quite odd. Yes, she is a complex character, however the first instalment doesn’t give enough insight into her character in addition to sidetracking her from the main story which is complex and compelling enough on it’s own. I really liked her so I hope the second book will do her justice. In addition, I didn’t really see why I needed to be in the head of Mark or Louise as for me it did not feel like it added a lot to the story, I still enjoyed it, but I think I would’ve liked it more without. In regards to the villain, I still have mixed feelings about that one. Although the snippet-chapters from the POV of the villain’s past were intriguing, for me it felt… off. I am still arguing with myself about that one
Arlidge had a real talent of pulling you into the minds of his characters and depicting with utter sincerity and realism the struggles that his characters have to endure at the mercy of their killer. In those times when you could drive a bus through the plot holes, the writing flowed so compelling that I just could not stop reading. I was so compelled by his writing that I finished the book in two days, staying until 1 AM to finish it off.
Yes! Regardless of it’s negatives previously discussed, Eeny Meeny is a compelling read, almost visceral in going through the physical and psychological trauma of the victims. It is the kind of book that makes you want to say “one more chapter” and then it’s past midnight.
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