The locked-room component of the blurb was a well-wormed hook, so I was looking forward to this, hopefully, intriguing and promising thriller mystery.

The Dying GameAnna Francis is assigned by the Chairman the job of acting as a murdered body. She is among seven supposed candidates for a top security position for the State, but she herself is not a candidate. She is to secretly observe from hidden chambers within the walls of an inaccessible island house the actions and reactions of the other six when they realise that there is a murderer among their number, and reporting back to the Chairman.

If that was the plot, then well and good, but we are prematurely told that it goes awry before we start, so the twists, such as they are, are guessable. Anna’s backstory, of her mother with whom she has some friction but has to leave her daughter, due to far-flung postings in dangerous places, is not all that convincing as being essential, nor is her PTSD and drug abuse.

The point-of-view flips back and forth between Anna and Henry, one of their number, an ex-coworker, a man for whom she once felt some attraction and again feels when they meet again.

The voice of the tale has unfortunately got the ’flu’ and doesn’t flow very smoothly. There is little shock, little grip and no humour. And very little warmth to at least engender some sympathy.


åsa avdic

Asa Avdic

Unfortunately none of the characters, from Anna herself, Henry, her almost one-time boyfriend to the cold fish Chairman, endeared themselves to me.


This is an up-front review to an ARC sent by Penguin Random House South Africa. A Windmill Books imprint from ISBN 978-1-786-09021-8.



About peterjearle

Writer of thriller novels. 6 Published: 'Purgatory Road', 'The Barros Pawns', and the Detective Dice Modise Series:'Hunter's Venom - #1' 'Medicinal Purposes Only - #2', and 'Children Apart - #3; and 'Tribes of Hillbrow'; all from Southern Africa.
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