Review–Pop Goes the Weasel by M.J. Alridge (Helen Grace book #2)

Pop Goes the Weasel is the second of the DI Helen Rome series by M.J. Alridge. My review for the first book, Eeny Meeny, can be found here. Unfortunately, Alridge did not recapture the magic of the first novel in her sophomore attempt.

Pop Goes the Weasel finds DI Rome, as well as one of her sergeants, struggling to return to normal life almost a year after the events of the first book. When Rome is faced with yet another serial killer case–this time, men who frequent prostitutes are being brutally murdered–they must face their demons to solve the case. While I found the characters in Eeny Meeny to be interesting and dynamic, they seem static this time around. It’s almost a year later, yet I don’t see any growth in them. Helen is also secretly keeping an eye on a young man and her motivations just do not do much to expand her as a character. The plotting suffered from a lack of clear timeline (as I talked about in the first book, “The story seemed like it took place in a week, maybe two, yet based on the number of victims and time spent in captivity it was more likely several weeks or maybe a couple of months.”). Also, I did not feel any connection for the secondary characters, including the murder victims. The first book excited me and built true suspense because we wanted to see the victims get free of the captor. In this book, we get a brief intro to the victims and the boom they’re dead. I also have a major complaint (SPOILER ALERT) of re-using the basic plot device of a surprise murderer that was used in the first book. It may be exciting the first time, but it’s just lazy the second.

Alridge has potential to be a great mystery writer, but she needs to tighten things up and focus on building rich and dynamic characters. The bones are there… now she just needs to work on the meat.

I received this book for free from Netgalley