Down to the Woods is the eighth novel in the exciting and bestselling DI Helen Grace series from M.J. Arlidge. He has once again delivered a chilling page-turner, that keeps you hooked from beginning to end. This truly is a gripping thriller that gets under your skin, this really is a taut, fast-paced simply excellent.

Detective Inspector Helen Grace is a female heroine for our time, who kicks ass, rides fast bikes, afraid of nothing and nobody. Why this series has not been picked up for television I do not know. The way this book is written, Arlidge paints pictures with words that burn long in the memory.

With a new Detective Sergeant Joseph Hudson taken on, DI Helen Grace’s team are almost back to full strength at Southampton Central Police Station, all set for whatever Major Incident may happen. Finding that DS Hudson also happened to be a biker, like herself, only made Grace like him even more.

When they are called out to what had been a missing person inquiry but now a murder hunt, they needed to get into the head of the killer. The way in which the body had been staged was haunting, the reason why Tom Campbell had been murdered, was not clear. The only thing what was clear is that the killer, or killers, was a keen hunter with a sense of staging. More importantly, it was clear the killer knew the Forest of Dean well, which puts him at an advantage.

When another body is found in the forest, with no seeming link, Helen Grace knows that they are under pressure to deliver. They cannot see if there is a link in both murders other than the way in which they were killed. Helen Grace knows this will test them all to the limit, and hopefully none of her team will get killed.

This really is a gripping thriller, that will have you hooked from the beginning, and you will want to read all the others in this series.

Paul Diggett 5/5

Down to the Woods by M.J. Arlidge
Penguin 9781405925686 pbk May 2019