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This is the first Beverly Barton book that I have read and I must say that I was completely hooked from the first chapter. I try not to give too much away when writing reviews about books as I'm sure that some people would like to read them themselves.
----The Plot and key characters -------
The story is split into chapters that are each from a different characters perspective. The first character that you read about is Judd Walker a grieving widow whose wife was butchered to death by a crazed serial killer. It is obvious that time has yet to heal the wounds of Judd's wife (Jennifer's) death, and that the pain is still so raw that he pushes anyone that wants to help him away. Judd hired a private detective and close friend Griffen Powell to hunt down and find his wife's killer, but after 4 long years they are no closer to finding the killer and things are not looking like they will change.
The basic plot is that the serial killer that is on the loose is killing former beauty queens. He is very disciplined with his killings. The deaths are quick and leave no clues or leads for the police or Griff to follow to track him down. But his past success makes him sloppy and when one of his victims survives long enough to pass on some vital information to Griff things start moving. But will they catch the killer before he strikes again? And can closure to the case bring peace to Judd's vengeful heart.
The subplot that runs alongside the murder investigation is the ongoing relationship between Judd Walker and Lindsay Mcallister. Lindsay is a former FBI agent who quit her job to work for Griff in his private detective agency. Over the four years of hunting the beauty queen killer she falls in love with Judd. But can he ever love her? Or will the love for his dead wife consume any chance of happiness he has elsewhere?
----My Opinion -----
I really enjoyed this book, there are a lot of unexpected twists and it does not end the way that I expected it to. Luckily for me I have the next book (the murder game) that follows on this story so I can soon find out what will happen next. So bear in mind if you do purchase this book you will want to read the follow on.
The book is gripping and the division of the chapters make it an easy read that you simply can't put down. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a good thriller. The book receives praise from Tess Gerritsen who I must say is one of my favourite authors.
I brought the book for £2.50 from Asda but I'm sure you could probably pick up and even cheaper copy from a charity shop.
The dying game by Beverly Barton is a book I picked up in a charity shop for under £1 but you can purchase it on various websites currently on Amazon from 1p to £8 and Kindle for £2.
I read the back of the book in the charity shop and thought it sounded like a good murder story that would enthral me. Having got it home it went on my bookshelf and sat awaiting my attention for a few months, by then I had forgotten what the story was about and didn't read the back, just jumped straight in. This may have been a slight mishap on my part as I ended up confused for the first few pages, so much so I had to read the back of the book again; by then I figured out that one person was in fact dead. After getting into the authors mind set I was off.
&&&&- THE STORY -&&&&
A serial killer is murdering former beauty queens in what appears to some kind of game. The story evolves around several main characters and the victims themselves.
Judd Walker's wife is one of those murdered and plays a large part in the story as the victims husband enthralled with revenge. Alongside him are two private investigators, Griff his long time old friend and Lindsay who now feels more for Judd than she perhaps should. All three want to find the killer but with there own agendas, but as the killings get more frenzied - they realise this game is being played by not just one.
&&&&- MY OPINION -&&&&
If I had not known the book was written by Beverly Barton, I would have though it was written by a man - not sure why entirely, but it is just something about the way she writes the details of the characters and the interactions within the plot; very masculine, dark and intriguing.
The chapters are adequate in length they don't drag on to long and are often split into mini chapters by means of story changes between murder scene and ongoing investigations elsewhere. I find this useful as it keeps my imagination going and I want to keep reading to find out what happens in the next bit.
The two main male characters Judd and Griff are long time friends, both multi-millionaires and each very much the mans man.
Lindsay who is part of the story from virtually the beginning right until the end. Her character you may seem to think is going to be a fleeting one at first but develops through the story to be an integral part.
She is in love with Judd and would do anything for him, despite so diabolical behaviour towards her, which allows the reader to genuinely feel for her.
The killers - Although it is noted from the back of the book there are two killers, I seemed to forget this initially as you get focused on the story and what appears to be one murderer. It isn't until well into half way or more through the book the second killer is noted and the brief dialogues between them as to how the game is played is set out.
I did find the end not disappointing but I felt there could have been more to it. Through the book it is quite fast past but detailed and the ending just seemed slightly rushed. It was not an ending I particularly saw coming which was nice but at the same time it did not have that shock horror feel to it either. The only slight disappointment for me in this book was that about half way through you hear of a mystery dark past of Griff - but this was never developed or the reader enlightened upon.
Overall I enjoyed the book and would definitely read more of her stories.
Review maybe posted on dooyoo and ciao under the same username