#BookReview: The Game by Scott Kershaw @HQstories #TheGame #damppebbles

To save their life, you have to play.

Across the globe, five strangers receive a horrifying message from an unknown number.

THE PERSON YOU LOVE MOST IS IN DANGER.

To save them, each must play The Game – a sinister unknown entity that has a single rule: there can only be one winner.

IF YOU LOSE, YOUR LOVED ONE WILL DIE.

But what is The Game – and why have they been chosen?

There’s only one thing each of them knows for sure: they’ll do anything to win…

WELCOME TO THE GAME. YOU’VE JUST STARTED PLAYING.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Game by Scott Kershaw. The Game was published by HQ on Thursday 12th May 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow. I chose to read and review a free eARC of The Game but that has in no way influenced my review.

I have to admit that when I saw the tagline of this book, before I’d even read the blurb, I knew it was a book I needed in my life. And when I say ‘needed’ what I actually meant was NEEDED in big, shouty capitals. There was not a squeak of a chance that I would let this novel pass me by. And I’m so glad I became hooked so early on because it’s an absolute corker of a novel, a non-stop thrill ride for the reader.

Five strangers across the globe receive a text message from an unknown number. Play the game or your loved one dies. There can only be one winner. The rules are simple. Five lives are immediately turned upside down. They know in their heart of hearts that they will do whatever it takes to win. The clock is ticking. The game has begun…

The Game is a gripping, propulsive thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved the concept from the get-go. I loved the way the story is set out so you meet each ‘player’ one by one, get to know what makes them tick, before they’re thrust into the worst situation of their life. And I loved how engrossingly urgent the novel is. It’s such an accomplished, high concept story that I was able to lose myself within the pages of the book with ease. It was a thrill to read.

The author gives enough of each character’s backstory to get a good feel for them and their motivations but not too much to slow the story down. All five characters are clearly defined and very different, which I appreciated. Once we’ve met the ‘players’ we get to hear from each of them, sharing in their terror at the situation they’ve found themselves in. There are also sections in the book labelled ‘Pre Game’ which I found very intriguing. I couldn’t work out how the ‘Pre Game’ sections linked to the main story. But it all becomes crystal clear in the end, uncomfortably so. The reveal towards the end of the book, for me, was completely unexpected. I was both shocked and stunned to discover what had been going on all this time. It’s incredibly well written.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Game is a high energy, non-stop, modern day thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed. The concept, coupled with the engrossing writing, made for a compelling read. I had to find out who was pulling the strings here. I had to discover if there was something which linked these five complete strangers to each other. Full of menace, overflowing with tension and a growing sense of unease throughout. A very readable, very rewarding thrill ride which I recommend.

I chose to read and review a free eARC of The Game. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Game by Scott Kershaw was published in the UK by HQ on 12th May 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Scott KershawScott Kershaw has co-written a thriller that was published by Bloomsbury in 2019 and has been optioned for a TV drama series by the BBC. His own high-concept thriller THE GAME will be published by HQ in Spring 2022. He has a first-class honours degree in Professional Writing, has written another novel (Animus), and formerly travelled Europe as a music journalist. He lives in the cloudy north of England with his hooligan of a beagle, Darwin.