Little Boy Blue: A Detective Helen Grace Thriller

M.J. Arlidge. Berkley, $15 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-101-99137-4

Helen Grace’s private and professional lives are threatened in British author Arlidge’s exciting fifth outing for the highly unusual, highly competent Southampton detective inspector (after 2015’s Liar Liar). Grace carefully keeps quiet her visits to dominators, whose punishments help relieve her tensions and guilt, but the sex-club torture murder of one of them, Jake Elder, shocks her. Grace reveals nothing of her connection to Jake as she organizes her team, including Det. Sgt. Charlie Brooks and Det. Sgt. Joanne Sanderson. A second, similar murder, also with a link to Grace, increases the stakes. A number of factors—the snooping of reporter Emilia Garanita, the professional jealousy of Brooks and Sanderson, Grace’s fear that her personal secrets may be revealed—force her to make tough decisions. A third homicide puts Grace in the crosshairs of a killer bent on vengeance. Readers should be prepared for an ending that merely sets up the next installment, resolving nothing. Agent: Hellie Ogden, Janklow & Nesbit. (Oct.)