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The Game by Luca Veste

It starts with some form of communication you can’t ignore: a phone call, a text, an email… The person you’re communicating with knows your secret and if you don’t play The Game, it will be revealed. Complete each level and you may be able to leave; fail and your fate is in the hands of some unknown puppet master.

After enjoying Luca Veste’s previous standalone books, The Bone Keeper and The Six, I couldn’t wait to read The Game – even if I do still live in hope for another in the Murphy & Rossi series! In The Game, we have probably one of the most twisted killers the author has written about and yet, for me, the scary part was that I could actually imagine something like this happening in real life!

When a young woman goes missing, DC Mark Flynn feels that there is more to this case than meets the eye. Going against what his colleagues believe has happened, he begins to investigate an online challenge known as ‘The Game’, linking the disappearance to the death of another young woman nearby. Although Mark found himself flying solo for the majority of the time, he is not the typical maverick detective you find in police procedurals, finding himself an outsider through circumstance not choice. I liked Mark, admiring his perseverance even though his beliefs pushed him further away from the rest of the squad.

The internet has become a feature of many crime books in recent years and here, Luca Veste has definitely demonstrated the negative side. As I said earlier, as the plot develops and we discover how people are ‘recruited’ to play The Game, you begin to realise how this could actually happen in the real world and how important it is to remember the consequences that online comments can have.

I really enjoyed The Game and hope that this isn’t the last we hear of Mark Flynn.

With thanks to Net Galley and Simon & Schuster UK for my copy.

The Six by Luca Veste

Six friends, marriage and babies on the horizon, decide to spend a few days revisiting their youth by attending a 90s music festival. The atmosphere of a great few days takes a macabre twist, however, when somebody dies. Knowing that their life will never be the same, the six make a pact never to speak about what happened the night that they buried the body. Now, though, a year later, somebody seems to know what happened and the killing has started again…

I’m a big fan of Luca Veste’s Murphy and Rossi series and really enjoyed his standalone The Bone Keeper, so The Six was a book I had been looking forward to for a while. As the majority of serial killer plots tend to be police procedurals, I was also interested to read one from a different angle. Told from the perspective of Matt, one of the six, we immediately get an inside view of what is going on, his fears and neuroses showing us how greatly the death and subsequent events have affected his life.

Told in the present day and also in flashbacks to their time at school and university, The Six transports you straight back to the 90s, Luca Veste nailing the musical references, providing me with a pleasing nostalgia trip! I did smile at the Britney Spears reference, knowing the author’s penchant for “…Baby One More Time” thanks to his work with The Fun Lovin’ Crimewriters! The flashbacks provide a perfect insight into the pasts of some of the characters, helping us to understand the present-day friendships and also giving hints as to what really happened at that music festival.

From the start, I had convinced myself that I knew where the plot was going to go, only to find my theory actually discussed by one of the characters! This definitely took the wind out of my sails and made me even more desperate to find out what was happening. I was happy with how the story culminated, if a little shocked!

I have purposely avoided talking too much about the plot as I feel that this is a book where you will get more enjoyment by going in completely blind. All I will say is that if you enjoy a creepy serial killer plot that will have you listening out for strange noises at night, thenĀ The Six is the book for you!

With thanks to Net Galley and Simon & Schuster for my ARC.

Take a look at my reviews for other books by Luca Veste:

Bloodstream

It Never Leaves You

Then She Was Gone

The Bone Keeper

 

The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste

The Bone Keeper’s coming.

The Bone Keeper’s real.

He doesn’t stop.

He doesn’t feel.

He’ll snatch you up.

And make you weep.

He’ll slice your flesh.

Your bones he’ll keep.

 

 

51ixcMOrO9L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Everybody knows the tale of The Bone Keeper, but is it a ploy by parents to keep their children from playing in the woods or is there an element of truth? Detective Constable Louise Henderson certainly knows the story and now bodies are being discovered in local woodland. Could this be the work of the mythical serial killer? After burying the memories of her past, she must now face the fears of her childhood and go into the woods…

As a fan of Luca Veste’s previous books, The Bone Killer has been on my radar for quite a while and there’s has been a fair bit of buzz surrounding it as the publication date drew nearer. After attending the book launch at Waterstones Liverpool, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it, and see if it was as good as all of the glowing reviews said it was. After reading it in two sittings, I was definitely not disappointed!

The Bone Keeper grabs you right from the start when we are introduced to the legend by four children who are playing near a tunnel where the malevolent spirit is said to reside. Of course, things are destined to go wrong, with four children going into the tunnel but only three exiting. Has Matty been taken? Fast forward two decades and a woman has been found near a forest, severely injured, singing the song about The Bone Keeper that all local children have grown up knowing. With the police refusing to attribute the attack to the mythical creature, Detective Louise Henderson is a bit more accommodating, suspecting that there is more to the victim’s story than meets the eye.

Louise Henderson is a brilliant protagonist who is clearly blocking out something from her past. Even though I predicted part of what had happened, Luca Veste does a great job in showing parallels between her and Caroline, the victim, so that the waters are well and truly muddied. I had so many theories but was conflicted as to which character they applied to! This made for a very tight and satisfying plot with numerous twists and turns along the way.

The Bone Keeper is a very atmospheric read and many of the scenes are genuinely chilling. Due to his shadowiness, the titular character is probably one of the most eerie serial killers I have read about and I can fully understand why some people are saying they have been checking under their bed after reading this! I will certainly be having second thoughts about walking through the woods of Merseyside!

While I have definitely missed Murphy and Rossi, the main characters from Luca Veste’s previous books, Louise Henderson is a very worthy protagonist and is one that I hope we see much more of.

If you haven’t read any of Luca’s books before, you won’t regret starting with this one. Just make sure you keep the lights on…

 

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