I certainly wasn’t bored reading the second instalment of Arlidge’s D. I. Helen Grace series. I hadn’t realised it was a series, otherwise I definitely would have started with the first, Eeny Meany. However, I’m not sold. The pacing was brilliant; the premise was terribly dark; the story telling was thrilling and gritty. So what was wrong? It’s the heroine, Ms Grace. She’s not likeable. She’s miserable and takes herself too seriously. In trying to write a very compelling, very dark procedural series about murder, rape and abuse, Arlidge has removed any light relief. It’s a full-on roller coaster of pain and misery. To relax herself, Grace doesn’t pop out for a drink; she pays someone to sexually beat her up. There’s no release. Even the grittiest stories have a little let-up. Not this one.