Two people are abducted, imprisoned, and left with a gun. As hunger and thirst set in, only one walks away alive.
It’s a game more twisted than any Detective Helen Grace has ever seen. If she hadn’t spoken with the shattered survivors herself, she almost wouldn’t believe them.
Helen is familiar with the dark sides of human nature, including her own, but this case—with its seemingly random victims—has her baffled. But as more people go missing, nothing will be more terrifying than when it all starts making sense…. (goodreads.com)
My first reaction before reading too far into the book was how very Saw without the gore porn. Aside from the circumstantial similarity (people trapped somewhere and they’ll either need to hurt themselves or someone else to get out) that’s where the similarities end. Once the people are trapped in their respective boxes they have nothing except a gun with a single bullet. No food, no water. Someone has to die, and it has to be by someone’s hand, not a natural death, in order for the other to get out.
So I wanted to swallow this book whole. I zoomed right through it and it was almost painful to put down because each short chapter ended on a little cliff hanger of information and it was like I CAN’T STOP NOW. Life getting in the way of reading, let me tell you. But EENY, MEENY was just so good.
The characters are wonderful in all their flawed glory. Even those that weren’t on the page much I really felt when something happened to them. Arlidge’s way of writing just sucks you into whatever scene you’re reading. So much is said about characters and he doesn’t actually say a whole lot about them. As a reader you’re following your way around their lives and picking up information that way. It’s a total immersion into the situation and every time I read I felt like I was in the middle of it all.
I’m torn on the BDSM sliver of the story. It doesn’t play a big role in the story at all but it explains how one character deals with past pain. I don’t know to much about that lifestyle but I have a hard time swallowing the reason behind said character’s masochism because, what I do know, is that nearly all people who are into that sort of thing don’t have that kind of trauma in their lives. It’s just a kink and this lends itself to the misrepresentation of the community a la 50 Shades of Grey that people who are into BDSM are messed in the head. If I’m not mistaken the dom in this situation also has a past. I also felt it was used because it’s rather hot-button right now instead of it being genuine to the character. The character could rightly have been a user or an alcoholic or any number of things people use to numb pain so in that respect it kind of fits but it’s the one part of the story that isn’t slotting right for me.
One major thing that I found I needed to suspend my disbelief for was the phones the killer uses for the trapped people. When you’re in one of those scenes you’re in the POV of the trapped people. No one ever mentioned that the cell phones were relics and they had to have service because the killer calls into them. Yet all of the characters try to unlock the phone instead of making an emergency call. As far as I’m aware, unless it’s an old phone there’s a function on all cell phones that allows for emergency calls without getting past the password on it. Yet no one used that function. No one mentions the phone being hacked to remove that function, no one mentioned it’s missing and, like I said, no one mentions it’s an old phone. But no one’s making emergency calls. Yes, the phones die not long after the killer calls into them so the effectiveness of an emergency call would be called into question but it’s a non-entity all together in the story. I mean, that’s the first place my brain went. Emergency call. You don’t need a passcode to access the phone. Nope. It’s just not mentioned ever. Personally this is a pretty big issue for the success of the plot that would have been easily solved with an old phone had it been mentioned. Unless I’m not remembering something, this is just ignored and the plot carried on.
There’s also another convenience later in the story surrounding email passwords and how to hack into them. In the story when you go to reset a password apparently it gives you the option to keep the current password. Never, in all my password resetting past, have I seen the option to keep the current password and then it just lets me into the site. Never. I’ve seen a password reset email come in that says if you didn’t request it just ignore it but the way password resets work in this book would allude to all emails being “hacked” all the time. I wasn’t buying that.
Other than that I was hooked. I love these kinds of murder mysteries that throw all of these scenarios at you and all of these red herrings and trying to work my brain through the puzzles to figure out who the killer was just brought me joy. It’s just the downside to reviewing one of these books is that some of the situations I want to comment on are spoilers so it’s like THAT MOMENT *backspace*. It’s annoying. So I’ll say there are a ton of twists happening in EENY MEENY that kept throwing me off and, of course me, I think I solve it all but I don’t because I’m really not that good with this kind of thing but I like to think I am.
EENY MEENY is all action, all the time, just not in the blow-things-up action. Arlidge plays the line between psychological and physical action so when there’s nothing physical happening on the page there’s some psychological mess-up happening that involves one or more characters. Between the two you are constantly engaged in what’s happening and if you’re ever bored then I don’t think you’ve read the same book as me. Even with the couple of suspension of disbelief issues I mentioned above there was so much going on in the story to divert my OCD attention away from those things that they were easy enough to ignore as I read. Granted I was reminded of them (especially the phone issue) every time said scene happened but again, after the first time my brain was trying to process so many details that there just wasn’t room enough to nitpick. It’s far easier for me to not do that when I’m really enjoying the story, like I did here.
I’ve already added the second book in the series to my want-to-read list because I do genuinely enjoy reading about Helen Grace. Sometimes she is a bit intense on her actions and personality so it’s definitely a good thing that Arlidge switches around POVs fairly often but what I have read of Grace’s life and predicaments it’s just mind-glowingly fascinating. I want more of her. She’s just too interesting not to follow.
I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.