Click here to read reviewer Michael Leonard's take on Hide and Seek.
Helen Grace is back, only this time as an ex-Detective Inspector of Englandís Hampshire Major Incidents Team, accused of murder and awaiting trial in Holloway Womenís Prison. Currently, Grace is an object of disgust, a former lead detective housed with some of the very criminals she has put behind bars. At best, Holloway provides minimum care for inmates.
At worst, it is a seething cauldron of violence, rage and vicious actions. Many
prisoners seek to boost their reputations by taking Helen out. Her only focus is staying alive until her trial.
Helen Grace has always been a fascinating figure with a seeming lack of fear, often putting herself in mortal danger to make an arrest. Her new boss before the accusations, Detective Superintendent Jonathan Gardam, has already replaced his lead detective on the Major Incident Team. Detective Inspector Joanne Sanderson, an ambitious detective who coveted a close relationship with Grace, is happy now to step into her shoes. Only the loyal Detective Sergeant Charlie Brooks has refused to believe her mentor capable of murder, investigating on her own to expose the real culprit, someone who has chosen Helen as his scapegoat. Now the only time Helen feels safe is during nighttime lockup, but she canít sleep until thoroughly exhausted. Her mind is spinning with the puzzle: who could have set her up as the cold-blooded killer? It is a masterful plan, the final coup Graceís inability to provide an alibi or refute the carefully planted clues.
Grace has a tragic family history. Her dead sister, Marianne, was responsible for a series of vicious murders that baffled the team before its shocking conclusion. Marianne is gone, but her son, Robert Stonehill, has disappeared in spite of Helenís attempts to help him. A loner, Grace has long shielded herself from the curiosity of others, kept her life as private as possible, bearing this loneliness by remaining aloof and free of entanglements. Unfortunately, Helen is again at the mercy of her nemesis, Emilia Garanita, a journalist whose soul is as scarred as her face from an earlier accident. Though they have occasionally worked cooperatively, Emiliaís driving ambition once again rejects honor and integrity to expose Graceís humiliating incarceration to a greedy public. Gleefully, the journalist bribes a spy at Holloway for information about Helenís struggles.
Arlidge grooms his iconic protagonist through his nail-biting Helen Grace series. Fast-paced, filled with bizarre characters and Graceís usual denial of risk, each new story plunges Helen into darker, more harrowing situations. Hide and Seek drips with menace, the prison echoing with the howls of medieval treatment of prisoners, most jailers cruel and devious, inmates in search of victims to assuage their rage and mind-numbing helplessness. Helen is one of them, a potential trophy, easy prey without a badge. But even she is tracked by a brutal killer set on taking out every victim around Graceís cell. Arlidge manages to inject his thriller with moments of humanity, those who have not entirely lost the capacity for kindness, not yet degraded by the monsters around them. Such people do not go unnoticed by Helen. Refusing to be a victim of her situation, she is relentless in her search for truth, rigorously honest and a champion of the innocent, including herself.