Author: Leona Deakin
Imprint: Black Swan
Publication Date: 12 December 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read:
YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME.
DARE TO PLAY?
The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic. As psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.
And that something makes them very dangerous indeed.
As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people.
But what if, this time, they are the ones she should fear?
Thanks to Anne Cater @Random Things Tours for my spot on the blog tour.
You know a book leaves you feeling satisfied when you contemplate just how you are going to write the review. It felt like I needed to throw the red herrings back into the sea. I needed to ignore and not pay them any attention, but their voices were screaming for attention. Whose voice was louder? You think that missing person cases are usually straightforward with the usual rational explanation…this book tears up the rule book and fights dirty. The formula for the story is original, brain frying and like nothing you ever expected. The author did a number for sure on me.
Missing persons. Unreliable narrative or sinister goings on.
Gone was my first Leonie Deakin novel and holy crap! Why on earth has it taken me this long to become addicted and to seamlessly fall between the lines. Her flowing narrative enabled me to develop long lasting relationships with the characters. She gripped me by the throat and her penmanship kept me entranced until I had read the very last word. The pure unbridled power that her words held brought raw complexity to the story.
The book focuses on the POV’s of the missing persons. Take what you know about missing persons and forget about it. Nothing you think you know is inaccurate. These people were not taken against their will, quite the opposite in fact. These people went off their own back. The curiosity was killing me…just why would you? What does this group of people have in common? Why leave their lives behind? They seem to have been asked to play a game…if you are anything like me you would have instantly thought about SAW. What a sinister omen. This is what Augusta Bloom, highly intelligent psychologist and ex MI6 operative, Marcus James intend to decipher. Both characters are multi-layered with their own demons to fight. I loved the interactions between these characters and their intellectual approach to linking up the clues.
This is a novel that tackles the social conversation about social media and the influence of the internet. If this story does one thing, it’s that we should be wary of what information we allow to travel through the world wide web. It’s frightening that our personal information can end up in the wrong hands and what they chose to do with that information is terrifying. What seems like harmless fun can quickly swivel on its axis and snap your neck. The book is fast paced and as sharp as a knife. The story is character driven and its insight into how too easily we could be drawn into dangerous situations. It’s a catacomb of blurred edges. The novel is creeping and constantly stalking with doubt and unreliable narratives.
A story that wound me up tighter than a drum. The book abducted me, tortured me and left me reeling at the side of the road. A narrative that jumped off the page and danced around my psyche.
Leona Deakin started her career as a psychologist with the West Yorkshire Police. She is now an occupational psychologist and lives with her family in Leeds. This is her debut thriller.