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Liar Liar by M. J. Arlidge
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Three fires rage across Southampton. Two in commercial premises but one is at the house of the Simms family, Mrs Simms dies at the scene and her daughter soon afterwards, teenage son Luke jumps from the third floor and suffers devastating injuries. At first the police think the arson is related to Mr Simms failing business but the next night three more fires are started and then another three. As the death toll rises DI Helen Grace is trying to solve a series of crimes with no seeming connection whilst dealing with her own demons.

This is the fourth thriller in a series but it is the first that I have read. I know the series is really popular and I was intrigued to find out why, I'm still not sure. This is a fairly standard police procedural which is fast-paced and clever but no more so than many others. DI Grace is flawed heroine, but aren't they all? The Southampton setting makes a change from larger cities but the story could be set anywhere, there's little sense of place apart from references to streets and neighbourhoods. It is an exciting read and not too demanding but I can't say that I am champing at the bit to read the others in the series. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
Who is the arsonist in Southampton? After several, they have a suspect, but, do they? This whodunit goes on and on. ( )
  pgabj | Sep 23, 2016 |
Liar, Liar by M.J. Arlidge
Helen Grace series Book #4

From the Book:
Detective Helen Grace has never seen such destruction. Six fires in twenty-four hours. Two people dead. Several more injured. It’s as if someone wants to burn the city to the ground. With the whole town on high alert, Helen and her team must sift through the rubble to find the arsonist, someone whose thirst for fire—and control—is reducing entire lives to ashes. One misstep could mean Helen’s career—and more lives lost. And as the pressure mounts and more buildings burn, Helen’s own dark impulses threaten to consume her

My Thoughts:
DI Helen Grace is faced with a new kind of challenge: a serial arsonist is terrorizing the city, seemingly intent on burning it to the ground. This arsonist shows no pity, targeting suburban homes in the dead of night while their residents are fast asleep inside. With ever-present bureaucratic roadblocks standing in her way, Helen finds herself in a race against time to identify the arsonist and stop him from condemning more innocent lives to his fiery infernos. Helen also has a new supervisor that she can’t decide if he is just overly friendly and genuinely concerned about her or if he has another agenda in mind. The story does have plot twists of its own. I certainly never saw the ending coming…never guessed who the arsonist was…and the story had more than enough momentum to keep me reading. M,J. Arlidge’s writing has the same fast-paced quality as that of Peter James…one of my favorite authors. I was not disappointed in the ending but it opens up a creepy possibility that I hope the author doesn’t forget to explore in future books ( )
1 vote Carol420 | Sep 8, 2016 |
Thank you, FirsttoRead for my complimentary review copy.

Liar, Liar is the fourth in Arlidge's Helen Grace series. I read Pop Goes the Weasel(#2) and liked it enough to want to read the other books. Although each book functions well enough as a stand-alone, I would have preferred to read them in order to get a better sense of the characters' histories and relationship dynamics.

Southampton is going up in flames, literally. There have been six fires in just 48 hours, resulting in four deaths and several injuries, not to mention the emotional fallout. Helen and her team, along with Fire & Rescue, have their hands full dealing with the investigation. Who would do this? Were the sites random or targeted? Law enforcement is under immense public and media pressure.

Helen and her team also have to contend with personal and political dilemmas. Gardam, the new boss, is more pro-active and attentive to Helen than she is used to or comfortable with. Also, the "extracurricular activities" Helen engages in to reduce stress are not having their desired effects. Finally, Charlie is torn between her professional duties and family commitments.

Arlidge's writing style is very readable. The chapters are short and often end on a suspenseful note. As expected, Helen is the major character and main focus but all characters' perspectives are presented.

Overall, I enjoyed this installment. As in Pop Goes the Weasel, the perpetrator was not obvious. Arlidge led me to believe that any number of suspects could be the culprit and they were all viable possibilities. I would definitely want to catch up and continue with the series. I look forward to developments in the current cast of characters and meeting new ones. ( )
  kulmona | Aug 5, 2016 |
It's a lengthy (440 pages!) gritty police procedural about a series of deadly fires started by an arsonist. There's an intriguing story here with a climatic semi-surprise ending. It's an example of the banality of evil.
Despite being too long (a frequent complaint of mine), the story moves along briskly. This pace is established and maintained by the author's use of short chapters (one is a page, most are in the 3-5 page range). Tis approach helps to mitigate the extra length. Another thing in this regard is the changing points of view in the narrative -- it's not all told from the investigators' perspective, there's also that of some of the victims and of course that of the perpetrator.
This is the first DI Helen Grace novel that I have read and there's obviously some backstory I have missed. This gap however did not adversely affect my reading of this book however; in other words this book can stand on its own. Nevertheless for me, I plan to seeks out others books in the series to get caught up. I like this one enough to read others. ( )
  BrianEWilliams | Jul 4, 2016 |
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Luke scrambled through the open window and on to the narrow ledge outside.
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Liar Liar is the fourth gripping novel in the DI Helen Grace series. Faced with yet another ruthless serial killer, one with a penchant for pyromania, DI Helen Grace is an unwilling participant in a race against this new sadistic combatant.
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