The Doll’s House by M.J. Alridge
In The Doll’s House, DI Helen Rome and her (ever-expanding team) are back again to hunt yet another serial killer in their Northampton town. This time it’s a man who has been kidnapping women over the last 5 or 6 years but making it seem like they disappeared by their own volition by continuing to post from their social media accounts. In addition, Helen is dealing with her superior, Ceri Harwood, who is determined to ruin Helen due to misplaced jealousy.
After a promising debut, I felt that the second book in the series was disappointing with the character development stalled out, repeating themes for the mystery, and a once-again confusing timeline. I continued to be disappointed with this third book. While the timeline was less confusing, I definitely feel that the author does not know how to truly grow her characters. She overloads the backstories of secondary characters (e.g., Lloyd Fortune) in an attempt to explain their motivations but does not devote enough time to letting us know her primary characters nor to see their growth or personalities (e.g., Helen and Charlie). In this book as well, we saw some pretty incongruent behaviors from some of the secondary players that were just annoying (e.g., stalking and jealousy from Jake who up to this point has been played as a level-headed, cool cucumber type). Arlidge has a tendency to over pack the story and to have us spend time with characters who we don’t care about. More and more her characters also are lapsing into caricature and stereotype which makes for some eye-rolling material. The mystery is aggressively fine with some suspenseful moments. It seemed like a plotline from the tv show Criminal Minds. I’m not sure if I’ll be back for more Helen Stone.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.