The Game by Luca Veste

I’ve always enjoyed Luca Veste’s books (see my review of Veste’s The Six). In The Game, Veste continues his commentary on contemporary urban myth as the eponymous game refers to the increasingly bizarre challenges that a group of people play that lead to their deaths. Since the book was published, we’ve all watched Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel on Netflix which similarly features a woman acting strangely in a lift before she disappears. Similarly in The Game, the police have footage of some of the victims acting strangely in public and in lifts. The most shocking aspect of the book is that it is all too real in the last few years and it plays on our familiarity with the increasingly ridiculous social media crazes, pranks, and dares that we are so familiar with. The Game goes one step closer to show us how peer pressure could potentially manifest on the Dark Web.

The main protagonist, Detective Constable Mark Flynn, is investigating the disappearance of a young girl, Emily Burns, from a suburb of Liverpool. His investigation of her family, particularly her indifferent siblings and her overly-involved uncle, make it an unusual case. Soon after Emily’s disappearance, the body of a young girl that is not Emily is found and Mark is convinced that the two cases are linked in some way.

The book stunningly tackles several issues that are all too pervasive in our online world today as it cleverly plays all the all-pervasive control and influence that social media can have on some peoples’ lives, particularly younger people. Interestingly, the main narrative is interwoven with several chapters in which someone is being interviewed in Lancaster Police Station about the mysterious game but we must wait until the end to find out who it is and how they are involved.

As always, Veste has written a thoroughly entertaining, gritty thriller that centres on an increasingly threatening social theme whilst, at the same time, examining the structure of the procedural.

Simon & Schuster UK, 12 November, 2020

About the writer

Luca Veste is a writer of Italian and Liverpudlian heritage, married with two young daughters, and one of nine children. He studied psychology and criminology at the University in Liverpool. He is the author of the Murphy and Rossi series, which includes DEAD GONE, THE DYING PLACE, BLOODSTREAM, and THEN SHE WAS GONE.

Part psychological thriller, part police procedural, his books follow the detective pairing of DI David Murphy and DS Laura Rossi. The novels are set in Liverpool, bringing the city to life in a dark and terrifying manner…with just a splash of Scouse humour.

Cry Baby by Mark Billingham

It’s 1996. Detective Sergeant Tom Thorne is a haunted man. Haunted by the moment he ignored his instinct about a suspect, by the horrific crime that followed and by the memories that come day and night, in sunshine and shadow.

So when seven-year-old Kieron Coyne goes missing while playing in the woods with his best friend, Thorne vows he will not make the same mistake again. Cannot.

The solitary witness. The strange neighbour. The friendly teacher. All are in Thorne’s sights. 

This case will be the making of him . . . or the breaking.

Continue reading

On Maternity Leave!

IMG_1995Life is strange. This time last year, myself and my husband had just lost our little boy. 2019 was an incredibly hard year for us. I was on maternity leave from work so I concentrated on recovery, reading, blogging, writing my first book (which still isn’t finished), and attending writing events around Ireland. I met some wonderful people and some of my favourite writers at some fantastic events including Noireland, the Listowel Writers’ Week, and several events in Dublin and Cork organised by the formidable Vanessa Fox O’ Loughlin. I also learned so much about the writing process and got lots of ideas. Thanks to all of the fantastic writers and publicists that sent me ARCs for the last few years. I love reading and reviewing and hope it’s always something I can do.

This year is a bit different because we’ve just welcomed our little girl. Our rainbow baby. So for the next few weeks/months, I probably won’t be posting reviews for newly published books. Instead, I’m taking a break and I’m going to try to get through some of my TBR pile which includes a lot of books published in the last two to three years that I didn’t get a chance to read. I also have a lot of Stephen King books that I’ve wanted to read for a while. I might post reviews of these older books if I have time and I might also blog about my own writing if I get any time to write!

I don’t know how long I’ll be gone for but I’ll see you on the other side 🙂

Six Wicked Reasons by Jo Spain

44154597._SY475_From the international number one bestseller comes the most clever and gripping thriller of 2019.

It’s June 2008 and twenty-one-year-old Adam Lattimer vanishes, presumed dead. The strain of his disappearance breaks his already fragile family.

Ten years later, with his mother deceased and siblings scattered across the globe, Adam turns up unannounced at the family home. His siblings return reluctantly to Spanish Cove, but Adam’s reappearance poses more questions than answers. The past is a tangled web of deceit.

And, as tension builds, it’s apparent somebody has planned murderous revenge for the events of ten years ago. Continue reading

Magpie by Sophie Draper

A1qo4jlEeNL._SY600_She’s married to him. But does she know him at all?

Claire lives with her family in a beautiful glass house overlooking the water. But she feels as if she’s married to a stranger – one who is leading a double life. As soon as she can get their son Joe away from him, she’s determined to leave Duncan.

But finding out the truth about Duncan’s secret life leads to consequences Claire never planned for. Now Joe is missing, and she’s struggling to piece together the events of the night that tore them all apart.

Alone in an isolated cottage, hiding from Duncan, Claire tries to unravel the lies they’ve told each other, and themselves. Something happened to her family … But can she face the truth? Continue reading