Monday 2 November 2020

The Game by Luca Veste @LucaVeste @simonschusterUK #TheGame @jessbarratt88 #BookReview


You receive a call, an email, a text – someone knows your secret and they want to ruin you.

If you don’t do what they say, they’ll tell everyone what you’ve been hiding.
They will come after you, destroy you, and they aren’t afraid to kill.

The Game by Luca Veste is published in paperback by Simon & Schuster on 12 November 2020. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

Luca Veste opens his latest thriller on Tuesday 30th October; in a police interview room, thirty miles from Liverpool.
The interview is told from the view point of a man who has been found next to the body of a girl, and who has also admitted to a string of other murders. The man will not give his name, he just wants to tell the police about who he killed, and how.

This is an intriguing and catchy opener. The reader is as mystified as the two interviewing officers; who the hell is this guy? Why is he so eager to admit to killings that he was not connected to? What's his story?

The story then takes us deep into 'The Game', as we are introduced to a new game, and player one of that particular game. It becomes clear that whilst players are involved in the game; taking instructions and doing things that they abhor and would never of dreamt of doing in the past; there's a game master who knows something about them. If they do not play the game, if they do not reach every level, the things that the game master know about them will be revealed. They will face humiliation and hatred from everyone that knows them. They have no choice. They have to play The Game.

DC Mark Flynn is heading up the investigation into a missing girl, Emily Burns. At first it appears to be a pretty straightforward case of a teenager who has decided that she's fed up, and wants some space. However, there are certain things that worry Mark, not least the behaviour of the girl's closest relations. Her Uncle is known to the police, he's edgy and angry. Her younger brother is totally cold, seemingly uncaring and totally self-absorbed. The case gets more worrisome when blood is found, and then a body. However, the body is not Emily.

Slowly but surely, Mark makes connections, but the dots just don't join together fully. Whilst Mark is frantically trying to find Emily, and work out just what is happening, the reader is privy to things that Mark doesn't know.  The reader is part of The Game too, and it's chilling and complex and we know that people are going to die. 

I couldn't help but hear the voice of Jigsaw from the Saw movies every time I read the words 'you're going to play a game' .. and to be honest, that only added to my fear.  Yes, fear. This book scared the living daylights out of me. Whilst it could be seen as far-fetched and improbable, look closer and think about what is happening. This is ultimately a story about bullying, and about how far lonely people will go to create a bit of buzz in their lives, and the potential consequences of that. 

The Game is seriously creepy and disturbing, but it's utterly compulsive. The author creates tension that will have the reader holding their breath for pages and pages. Complex and cleverly created characters abound, especially Mark Flynn who is slowly built up over time to become the complete focus of the book.

It's gripping and thrilling and I loved it! 

Luca Veste is a writer of Italian and Scouse heritage, married with two young daughters.
He studied psychology and criminology at university in Liverpool, and he is the author of seven novels; Dead Gone, The Dying Place, Bloodstream and Then She Was Gone are all part of the Murphy and Rossi series.
His other novels, The Bone Keeper, The Six and The Game, are standalones.
He is also the co-creator of the acclaimed podcast Two Crime Writers and a Microphone, which he records with fellow crime author Steve Cavanagh.

 Follow @LucaVeste on Twitter and Facebook.

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