Book: Little Boy Blue

Little Boy Blue by M. J. Arlidge
Genre: Detective Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Berkley
Date: October 4, 2016
Reviewed by: Bob James
Fiction Addict Scorecard: B
Like most good mystery novels, Little Boy Blue (the 5th book in the Grace Hardy series) starts off with a murder. This murder takes place in the midst of a BDSM celebration. And Grace Hardy, the Detective in charge of the case, runs into an immediate problem. She knows the victim. Professionally. Thus begins a story that takes us down the back alleys of some of the seediest parts of human nature. Grace is in the midst of a race to find the killer, who seems to be killing people who serviced her, while hiding her personal connection to the case.

Grace’s team has a problem. They can’t find any actionable evidence. No one will come forward to help, for obvious reasons. They have another problem. Grace isn’t herself and no one understands why. The team that Grace has put together to solve crimes slowly unravels as tempers fray at the lack of progress. Suspects are questioned, and released, sometimes disastrously. Grace finally deals with her personal connection, but what she thought was a liberating moment, ultimately comes back to haunt her. Soon, with the help of a newspaper reporter who is out for revenge on Grace, the tables turn. The evidence points to Grace and she becomes a suspect while she is out following a lead.

The team now turns their attention to Grace. As the search for Grace heats up, she suddenly puts the pieces together. She realizes that her team is looking for her and not only who the killer is, but she may know how to find him. She eludes the police chasing her so that she can follow her hunch on where to find the killer. Her team tries to regroup and find her, while she is frantically searching for the real killer. Her hunch is confirmed and she sees him at his work; the chase is on. Grace finally catches up to and confronts the killer. She soon learns that when you make enemies, the price may be too high to bear.

Little Boy Blue deals with some strong human emotions: fear of exposure, betrayal, and revenge among them. Secrets that are meant to be hidden come out into the light. Some are forced out into the open while others need to be confessed. Partners undercut the work others are doing, and in the ultimate betrayal, seek the arrest of one of their own. Old scores are settled. The BDSM backdrop may be a bit intense, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about techniques, but I also gained a bit of understanding of the motivations of people in that lifestyle. While the information may be too intense for some people, the story moves well and the scenes have a reason for being there. If you can deal with the backdrop, it’s well worth reading.

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