Published by Penguin Australia on 23 April 2014
Genres: Adult Fiction, Crime, Mystery/Thriller
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Two hostages. One bullet. One lives. One dies.
They were going to spend the rest of their lives together. Soul mates. But when a young couple wakes up alone together, disorientated and trapped, they are yet to grasp the true horror of their situation. They have no food, no water. Instead there is a gun loaded with a single bullet and a mobile phone with enough power only to deliver a short message: ‘when one of you kills the other, the survivor will walk free’. For their captor it’s simple: set the scene, watch, wait and leave the victims to do the killing. Tortured by fear, desperation, starvation and thirst, there’s only one way to end their ordeal: one of them must die.
DI Helen Grace and her team know they are hunting a complex predator whose broken survivors must endure their role as living calling cards. And killers. The victims - work colleagues, a mother and daughter, a pair of dancers - appear to be chosen at random and yet the planning is meticulous. There must be something driving the choice of victims, but until DI Grace can establish a connection, the killer is unreachable. A breakthrough is elusive and then, terrifyingly, the investigation begins to turn full circle...
In this startling highwire drama M.J. Arlidge throws us headlong into a chilling race to stop evil in its tracks. Dark, ingenious and bullet-paced, Eeny Meeny introduces a major new thriller writing talent.
I hadn’t read a crime novel in quite some time. When I was a teenager I gorged myself on James Patterson and it seemed to sate my ‘who-dunnit’ appetite for quite a long time. However, the plot of M.J. Arlidge’s Eeny Meeny seized my attention, and I found myself once more delving into the chilling depth of the psychopathic serial killer and the damaged yet kick-ass cop that will ultimately bring them to justice.
Helen Grace is that cop. She heads up an investigation surrounding the mysterious disappearance – and then reappearance – of a young couple, Amy and Sam. Weeks after they went missing, a malnourished and desperate Amy emerges claiming that she and Sam were held captive, without food or water, and given an ultimatum. In order for one to be released, one of them must die. Her story seems far-fetched and highly unlikely. However, when two business colleagues go missing under similar circumstances the police realise they are up against a malicious criminal – one who enjoys playing games with other people’s lives.
Eeny Meeny certainly kept me guessing, and the plot flowed and was easy to read. I wasn’t too keen on the ever changing POV’s though – one or two narrators are fine, but when you start getting points of view from a minor character’s mother – well, it is unnecessary.
Quite often I guess the outcome of these crime novels, but this time Arlidge tricked me, and I was glad he did. Not to say that is was a twist or revelation that blew my mind, but at least it wasn’t predictable.
I enjoyed it, but will not be in a rush to buy the second book in the series (if there is one).