Monday, May 19, 2008

THE MURDER GAME by Beverly Barton

Special Agent Nicole Baxter would like to keep as much distance between herself and private investigator Griffin Powell as possible. It should be easy to do. They live in different states, socialize in different circles, and neither of them like anything about the other. But when someone calls her with a revelation about a serial killer, she is willing to listen. The caller will give one clue to her and one to Griffin. If she plans on ending The Murder Game before the caller has a chance to capture his next victim, she will have to work with the most arrogant and self-promoting man in the business.

THE MURDER GAME is riveting from the first page. A few chapters into the book, I became aware that this book is a sequel. It didn't matter. Ms Barton was able to handle the back story in a way that I didn't feel cheated or confused. She sporadically dropped in just enough information to fill in the gaps but allowed me to stay focused on the present story.

Tense...talk about nail-biting. I couldn't believe what was happening. About one hundred pages from the end, Ms Barton pulled the biggest surprise of all. My mouth hung open for a good twenty pages (in a good way). I kept thinking, are you kidding me? How is this possible? This was no sucker punch, simply good story-telling. I never saw it coming, but should have. All of the clues were there.

The only problem I had was when Ms Barton would jump forward in time without a scene break. This was infrequent but enough to mention. And toward the end of the book, a few spots, not many, felt a little Mary Sueish to me.

The characters in this book were fabulous. I was right there with them, feeling every emotion, and there were plenty to share. If you like a good thriller, that isn't gory, (okay, a little, tiny bit) you need to read this book. There are so many twists and turns, you'll feel like you are getting a workout. I did.

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