“A serial killer is playing a terrifying game of life or death with his victims. After he captures them, a countdown begins. He marks the time by sending clues to the whereabouts of the women he has taken in three disturbing images: alive, tortured, dead.
In a race against the clock, East London Detective Ruby Preston must play the twisted killer’s terrifying murder game and decipher the clues before more women die…
But this isn’t the first time the police have seen such a sickening crime. The notorious Lonely Hearts Killer, Mason Gatley, was put behind bars ten years ago for murdering six women in exactly the same chilling way. Desperate for more information, Ruby persuades her boyfriend, Nathan Crosby, to use his criminal connections to set up a dangerous meeting. Because to catch this killer, she needs to think like one…
But the closer Ruby grows to the dark and charming Mason Gatley, the more worried her team become. Is Mason really helping her catch the killer? Or is he lining Ruby up to be his next victim?
Fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Peter James will be hooked by this dark and utterly disturbing thriller, packed with twists until the final page.”
I am thrilled to welcome you to the blog today as I am one of seven blogs kicking off the Murder Game blog blitz. Make sure you check out these other awesome blogs taking part in day one of the tour; Novel Deelights, My Chestnut Reading Tree, Novel Gossip, Chapter in my Life, I Love Reading and I Dig Books (And Dirt). And the rest of the blog blitz is shaping up rather nicely, so don’t miss out!
Murder Game is the third book in the Detective Ruby Preston series written by Caroline Mitchell and published by Bookouture. I am such a fan of this series and have reviewed both of the previous books on damppebbles in the past (click HERE for my review of book one, Death Note and click HERE for my review of book two, Sleep Tight). My love for Ruby and her tough guy beau, Nathan is pretty darn strong so there was no way on earth I was going to miss this latest instalment.
The first two books shine so brightly for me because they’re exactly what I enjoy reading; a delusional yet completely different serial killer in each book with a pretty consistent M.O. The killer knows what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and they’re going to keep on doing it until Ruby and DI Downes catch them. Perfect! The reader is introduced to another dark and evil mind in Murder Game but this time there’s a rather sinister twist. Convicted of six murders, named The Lonely Hearts Killer and stuck behind bars for a few more years, Ruby has the displeasure of meeting Mason Gatley. It seems their latest offender is basing his crimes on Gatley’s from back in the day (DI Downes was a DC at the time so we’re talking a few years ago!). I loved the tension Gatley brought to the pages of Murder Game. What a thoroughly loathsome character but I have to confess to secretly enjoying Ruby’s stand-offs with the vile killer!
What makes this series stand out head and shoulders above others is the relationship between Detective Sergeant Ruby Preston and the love of her life, local gangster, Nathan Crosby. The chemistry between the two characters really sparks and my reaction to them in the first book really surprised me, especially as romantic relationships don’t really work for me in crime fiction (if I wanted soppy stuff I would read romance – that’s my opinion anyway!). I felt that chemistry was lacking a little in Murder Game. It certainly wasn’t as full on or as intense as the first two novels and I missed it.
If I’m honest, I felt the entire Crosby family were a little absent in this latest instalment. Murder Game focuses more on the investigation rather than the relationships between the characters. With any other series this would have pleased me no end but I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. I wanted more of Nathan’s mother and her inherent dislike of Ruby because she’s a copper. More of Nathan’s caustic, sadistic brother, Lenny who always lends a vile edge to the story. I really felt their absence.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! If you’re a fan of the serial killer thriller then you really must read this series because it’s incredibly special and one of my all-time favourites. I adore Ruby Preston and I adore Mitchell’s writing.
Four out of five stars.
I chose to read and review an eARC of Murder Game. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
USA Today Bestselling Thriller Author.
Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her family, parrot and two dogs in a pretty village on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. Published by Bookouture and Thomas & Mercer, she now writes full time and all her books have become number 1 best sellers in their categories.
Her fast-paced DC Jennifer Knight thrillers carry a hint of the supernatural and are weaved from Caroline’s personal experiences in the police and paranormal.
Set in Shoreditch, London, her DS Ruby Preston series is described as “terrifying, addictive serial killer thrillers”.
Caroline also writes psychological thrillers, the most recent, Witness, has been described as “thrilling, tense, exciting, dark and twisted in the best possible way”.