Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Murder games by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

Once again a serial killer is stalking the good citizens of New York, and this one is playing a twisted game with a deck of cards.  Each victim has a different method of death and could be mistaken for simple murders or accidental deaths, except for the playing cards that are left on their bodies.  Detective Elizabeth Needham is determined to solve the case and stop the killer - even if that means roping in a civilian to help her solve the case.  Professor Dylan Reinhart is teaching yet another psychology course when Detective Needham crashes his lecture with an offer he can't refuse.

Someone is playing a very deadly game, and they hold all the cards - leaving the cops scratching their heads and wondering what is coming next.  The Mayor is determined to stop the killer in their tracks because his re-election is on the line, but his heavy handed approach and political manipulations aren't going to help catch a disciplined and clever killer.  As Detective Needham digs deeper into the case, Professor Reinhart goes along for the ride, offering advice and insight where he can - but helping the police could put everything he cares about at risk.  As the case heats up the secrets start bubbling to the surface as they race against the clock to stop a cunning and well organised killer who doesn't worried about MOs and sticking to the rules of the police handbook - or the rules of abnormal psychology as lectured by Professor Reinhart.

Murder games is another one of those books that is difficult to review because you constantly risk straying into spoilers - even when you don't mean to!  This is the third book full length novel I have read from Patterson and Roughan and I have come to love their combined style which seems to layer stories within stories, and secrets within secrets to keep you thoroughly hooked to the end and wondering if you have actually solved it before you have solved it.  When you meet Professor Reinhart you think you have him all figured out, but then you discover X, Y, and Z and it makes you realise you don't really know what you think you know.  And then there are the other cliche characters that don't turn out to be such a cliche after all!

Murder games has elements of the classic crime novel, but like their previous outings Patterson and Roughan have delivered a tensely written thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat as the action ramps up and you can't help but wonder if the good guys will win the day or whether they will be too slow and the body count will grow.  This does feel like it could be the start of a new series and I have to say that I would love to see these characters again as they break quite a few stereotypes, and there is a really good chemistry between the characters - not to mention the authors.  There is a lot to like here, and as it is either the start of a new series or a stand alone you don't have to worry about spoilers by reading things out of order!  Best enjoyed when devoured in one sitting (just saying).

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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