John Parker is a Graduate-qualified English/Spanish Teacher, owner and director of CHAT ENGLISH, an English Language Centre in Avilés on the north coast of Spain . A voracious reader, he has particularly loved horror fiction for many years.
In this, the ninth DI Helen Grace book we enter a world that is perhaps quite alien to many readers, namely the world of BDSM. It is a private world for Helen that no one in her professional life knows about.
That is about to change as she leads an investigation into the shocking murder of a close friend, killed at a fetish club called The Torture Rooms. Her double life is in danger of being revealed, which is something that Helen is desperate to avoid. Nobody in her professional circle would understand. Or can she confide in her close allies DS Charlie Brooks and DS Sanderson?
Things begin to get a little more complicated with the involvement of the sensationalist journalist Emilia Garanita who is certainly not on best friend terms with Grace. She knows about Grace’s other life and means to use that knowledge to her own advantage. Then, when a second victim is found, another person known to Helen, she becomes even more determined to solve the case. It is a race against time as DI Grace is prepared to do whatever is needed to solve the murders even at the cost of her own privacy.
Arlidge has been quite prolific with the publication of this series and will please his many fans with a fast-moving, nerve-shredding tale. The novel does work as a stand-alone as well, although those who have read the whole series will enjoy it more. Short chapters make for a fast, easy read. Some may be confused by talk of wet sheets, Edge Play and ball gags but it does not obtrude on the main plot. So, this is a reasonably entertaining thriller although if I have to make a complaint, I would state that I was not wholly convinced by the sub-plot between DI Grace and her boss DS Jonathan Gardam. Despite that, I will be reading the next book which should resolve a few hanging plot threads from this latest episode.