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The Murder Game

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What if your best friend and roommate killed a teacher at your prep school? Or what if he didn’t do it, but he’s being framed, and you’re the only person who can save him? Luke Chase didn’t mean to get caught up solving the mystery of Mrs. Heckler’s murder. He just wanted to spend alone time with the new British girl at their boarding school. But little did he know someone What if your best friend and roommate killed a teacher at your prep school? Or what if he didn’t do it, but he’s being framed, and you’re the only person who can save him? Luke Chase didn’t mean to get caught up solving the mystery of Mrs. Heckler’s murder. He just wanted to spend alone time with the new British girl at their boarding school. But little did he know someone would end up dead right next to their rendezvous spot in the woods, and his best friend and roommate Oscar Weymouth would be the one to take the blame. With suspects aplenty and a past that’s anything but innocent, Luke Chase reluctantly calls on his famous survival skills to solve the mystery and find the true killer.


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What if your best friend and roommate killed a teacher at your prep school? Or what if he didn’t do it, but he’s being framed, and you’re the only person who can save him? Luke Chase didn’t mean to get caught up solving the mystery of Mrs. Heckler’s murder. He just wanted to spend alone time with the new British girl at their boarding school. But little did he know someone What if your best friend and roommate killed a teacher at your prep school? Or what if he didn’t do it, but he’s being framed, and you’re the only person who can save him? Luke Chase didn’t mean to get caught up solving the mystery of Mrs. Heckler’s murder. He just wanted to spend alone time with the new British girl at their boarding school. But little did he know someone would end up dead right next to their rendezvous spot in the woods, and his best friend and roommate Oscar Weymouth would be the one to take the blame. With suspects aplenty and a past that’s anything but innocent, Luke Chase reluctantly calls on his famous survival skills to solve the mystery and find the true killer.

30 review for The Murder Game

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    It was another solid, fast paced, easy to read, YA mystery/ thriller. If it would be only for this beautiful cover, I could give five stars without thinking any further. But the book is a little predictable whodunnit murder mystery at school campus with plot holes, not so crafted characterization. Oscar: the problematic bad boy who is presumed killer of his teacher and his roommate Luke who is A-grader, clean cut, great student, athlete, student rep., president of Outdoors Club is polar opposite It was another solid, fast paced, easy to read, YA mystery/ thriller. If it would be only for this beautiful cover, I could give five stars without thinking any further. But the book is a little predictable whodunnit murder mystery at school campus with plot holes, not so crafted characterization. Oscar: the problematic bad boy who is presumed killer of his teacher and his roommate Luke who is A-grader, clean cut, great student, athlete, student rep., president of Outdoors Club is polar opposite of him, trying to prove his friend’s innocence by conducting his own investigation. His loyalty depends on Oscar’s support when Luke transferred to the school after his abduction and his traumatic experience in the woods. When the other students observe him like a germ in microscope, Oscar treats him as if nothing terrifying happened to him which helped him to heal from his trauma with his friendship. Now it’s time for him to pay him back. Their young and beautiful teacher Mrs. Heckler who recently married with Dean Heckler is killed by being choked with a scarf reminds the people of the strangler serial killer case of the town which is unsolved! But instead of Oscar, there are so many suspects at this case including Dean’s old wife who can be jealous of her and her ex husband who ended their marriage and of course Dean is still at the suspect list because Luke, Oscar, Kelly and Pippa were the ones who heard Mrs. Heckler talked to some man in the woods before she’s been killed and they presumed she was having relationship with someone mysterious but who? Is the mysterious man the killer? Even Pippa, Luke has a secret crush on may be a suspect because she’s also transferred to the boarding school to get away from a vicious scandal about her involvement to the murder of her close girlfriend. Well, this was not complex or not so confusing or earth shattering, it is simple story like middle grade mystery reads. The adult characters are not developed enough. Only Oscar, Pippa and Luke were remarkable and connectable characters. Rest of them are full of cliches, one dimensional. Overall: it was okay reading. I didn’t like too much but it was still engaging and quickly wrapped. It never bores me even you may guess the perpetrator so easily. I still want to read more works of the author. I’m giving three solid, Switzerland: not lovable but also not so hatable, mystery takes place in location, whodunnit stars! Special thanks to Netgalley and SOURCEBOOKS FIRE for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Eeva

    Actual rating 3.75, rounded up to 4 Ok, so overall I really enjoyed that book. I love boarding schools mysteries so this was perfect for me. The characters are fairly well developped, the plot is more or less solid. I know these sounds like a quite lukewarm compliments, and I would agree, but the writing was compelling which to me is the most inportant. If the writing is smooth then the rest is fine and I dont pay attention to the minor drawbacks. The ending indicates another book so Im quite pleas Actual rating 3.75, rounded up to 4 Ok, so overall I really enjoyed that book. I love boarding schools mysteries so this was perfect for me. The characters are fairly well developped, the plot is more or less solid. I know these sounds like a quite lukewarm compliments, and I would agree, but the writing was compelling which to me is the most inportant. If the writing is smooth then the rest is fine and I dont pay attention to the minor drawbacks. The ending indicates another book so Im quite pleased about that. There were few things that bothered me though. I dont really get the cover. Like, whats up with the tally marks? There is literally one victim. It's nowhere near 13. The Daily Mirror article about Pippa. If it was to be an article from a British newspaper then words like anesthetist (when it obviously should be anaesthetist) or neigbor (when the proper spelling is neighbour) should not be there. It's shows zero research is actually quite lazy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of The Murder Game in exchange for an honest review. I genuinely think the wrong title and cover got slapped onto this book. I've been racking my brain and I have absolutely no idea how the title The Murder Game or the 13 tallies had literally anything to do with the plot here. It's extremely misleading and I can't see it not hurting this book's marketing. The thing is, this is a pretty okay book. The characters are a bit archetypical and the teen spea Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of The Murder Game in exchange for an honest review. I genuinely think the wrong title and cover got slapped onto this book. I've been racking my brain and I have absolutely no idea how the title The Murder Game or the 13 tallies had literally anything to do with the plot here. It's extremely misleading and I can't see it not hurting this book's marketing. The thing is, this is a pretty okay book. The characters are a bit archetypical and the teen speak is a bit off, but it's a fast boarding school murder mystery if you're looking for a quick mystery read. That's not the type of story I was looking for though so I was really let down here. I honestly think this book would need to completely rebrand to reach the right audience because as is, I can see a lot of people getting really mad at this.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

    3.5 Stars rounded up to 4. Mysterious, twisty, and well-paced! The Murder Game is an intriguing murder mystery that transports you to St. Benedict’s boarding school in eastern Connecticut and into the life of Luke Chase, a teenage student who, after a faculty member is found murdered and his roommate becomes the prime suspect, decides to conduct his own investigation to discover the real culprit and to prove his friend’s innocence once and for all. The writing is light and smooth. The characters a 3.5 Stars rounded up to 4. Mysterious, twisty, and well-paced! The Murder Game is an intriguing murder mystery that transports you to St. Benedict’s boarding school in eastern Connecticut and into the life of Luke Chase, a teenage student who, after a faculty member is found murdered and his roommate becomes the prime suspect, decides to conduct his own investigation to discover the real culprit and to prove his friend’s innocence once and for all. The writing is light and smooth. The characters are intelligent, resourceful, and impulsive. And the plot is a creative whodunit full of amateur sleuthing, dangerous situations, suspects, deduction, friendship, secrets, and murder. Overall, The Murder Game is a quick, engaging, sinister YA thriller by Doyle that is satisfying and entertaining as long as you’re able to suspend disbelief for a little while. Thank you to Raincoast Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katie Burrows

    I received a free advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. See the end of my review for educator-specific feedback. I feel the need to note that murder mysteries aren’t my typical preferred reading material, but every year I have scores of students who love them, so I dip my toe in the water to look for new offerings. Not being a connoisseur of the genre, I found this book to be what I imagine is typical fare. Boarding school, sneaking around at night, heart-po I received a free advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. See the end of my review for educator-specific feedback. I feel the need to note that murder mysteries aren’t my typical preferred reading material, but every year I have scores of students who love them, so I dip my toe in the water to look for new offerings. Not being a connoisseur of the genre, I found this book to be what I imagine is typical fare. Boarding school, sneaking around at night, heart-pounding suspense, and swaths of likely suspects that keep your head spinning until the end. If you’re looking for a run-of-the-mill murder mystery, this one fits the bill, but I can’t say it offered anything mind-blowing or genre-bending. It didn’t stand out. That being said, this book is obviously the first in a series, and I was definitely intrigued by some of the loose ends and plot threads that will clearly be addressed in subsequent books. The main character and his side kicks were pretty typical teens, and at the end of the day they all felt somewhat trope-like. There were hints at characterization beyond trope, but nothing ever really seemed to come of it, and the teen characters all played neatly into the roles it was clear they would from the beginning. The plot was well-paced and kept me turning the page, but I wasn’t shocked or awed by any of the twists. I did not accurately guess who the murder was before the end, as there was an 11th-hour clue that of course pointed to someone who hadn’t even previously been on the suspect list. I still can’t decide how I feel about that. I imagine it’s incredibly hard to point fingers and drop hints without giving it all away in advance, but it can be a little frustrating to get to the big reveal and have someone so entirely unexpected waiting behind the curtain. All in all, if you love classic murder mysteries, give it a read. This is a book that is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, so if that’s your thing, I think you’ll be satisfied. And now the teachery bits: No sex happens on screen in this book, but it is heavily and frequently alluded to. Lots of talk about married teachers/ staff having affairs with other teachers/ staff, which is all heavily wrapped up in the main plot. There is also conjecture throughout the book that an adult staff member may have been having an affair with a student, though nothing really ever comes of this beyond rumors. Again, none of this is explicitly described, and is often referred to in euphemism. There is some violence, but it is not explicit; a character accidentally cuts their arm and bleeds, requiring stitches; there is a physical altercation at the end that is not super explicitly violent; there is a subplot involving flashbacks to a prior kidnapping that similarly involved violent physical altercation where someone dies, but again, the description is not explicit. There is little-to-no explicit language, though some more mature terms like “cougar” make an occasional appearance. I would say this book could be an independent reading option for 8th graders, but I wouldn’t offer it as book club option for anyone under grade 9.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Nocita

    #TheMurderGame #NetGalley Thanks to NetGalley for the advance reading copy. 3.5 stars First of all, the cover is a great attention grabber! Secondly, solid mystery with plenty of red herrings. I thought I had figured it out fairly on and I ended up being right in the end but there were plenty of times I was second guessing myself. For me, this is a mark of a good mystery. I appreciate that the author respects the reader enough to create a clever, nuanced plot with clues that can be sussed out with #TheMurderGame #NetGalley Thanks to NetGalley for the advance reading copy. 3.5 stars First of all, the cover is a great attention grabber! Secondly, solid mystery with plenty of red herrings. I thought I had figured it out fairly on and I ended up being right in the end but there were plenty of times I was second guessing myself. For me, this is a mark of a good mystery. I appreciate that the author respects the reader enough to create a clever, nuanced plot with clues that can be sussed out without having to be told every little thing. This is a good example of show not tell. Third, it is mostly believable. Yes, you will have to suspend your disbelief for it all to work, but it’s entertaining. The adults are, as usual, pretty thick and behave in a decidedly non adult, capricious manner, teachers and parents, and bystanders included. Fourth, fans of boarding school fiction will enjoy! Yes, it’s a serious sub genre! Fifth, the protagonist is male, which is somewhat uncommon in YA mysteries. Or perhaps just in those I choose to read? At any rate although he has a sensational (sensational as in an over the top, incredulous way) backstory that seems tangentially unnecessary, he’s a decent protagonist with flaws and hubris that get in the way. The backstory is incomplete and that was majorly irksome. Which is why I think it’s entirely unnecessary as a plot device. It just doesn’t add enough oomph to change or make more credible the trajectory of the current day story to merit inclusion. Lastly, it has only mild profanity and it’s kept to a reasonable minimum. Fine for middle school readers. Which is an important distinction because murder mysteries can be hard to come by for middle school readers. Most middle grade mysteries are too elementary and a lot of YA mysteries are too mature.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Arlen

    The Murder Game by Carrie Doyle Pub Date 06 Apr 2021 Read courtesy of http://netgalley.com The cover pulled me in; bummer, it was misleading. There was neither a game nor were there thirteen murders. Although, there may have been thirteen suspects; I didn't count. The story is a typical YA whodunit complete with teens who think they can solve a murder better and faster than law enforcement can. The adults were caricatures of stereotypical school-employed adults: the stern one, the buddy-buddy one, t The Murder Game by Carrie Doyle Pub Date 06 Apr 2021 Read courtesy of http://netgalley.com The cover pulled me in; bummer, it was misleading. There was neither a game nor were there thirteen murders. Although, there may have been thirteen suspects; I didn't count. The story is a typical YA whodunit complete with teens who think they can solve a murder better and faster than law enforcement can. The adults were caricatures of stereotypical school-employed adults: the stern one, the buddy-buddy one, the crazy one, the immature one, the rule-follower, the rule-breaker, etc. Not only that, but the adults were way too free-spoken with the students in discussing an open murder investigation. Granted, it was a residential private school and not a public school, so teachers and students would have closer relationships there, but still, multiple teachers crossed the line on too many occasions to maintain a believable setting. Similarly, too often the adults accepted a teen character's brush-off answer to a direct question. The author creates plenty of red herrings to keep the readers guessing. Unfortunately, the book's plot feels a little lopsided; the build-up was overbuilt and long, and the revelation was abrupt and short. I probably will get this book for my high school students because I don't know if they will be as critical as I was about the trite hero-teen-knows-more-than-lame-adults genre. It's a genre for a reason. ⭐⭐⭐ - - - - - - - - - - A few things included in the story distracted me from just letting the story flow over me. These aren't spoiler alerts, but if you think you'll get them stuck in your head and interrupt your ability to read the story, too, then don't read this paragraph. Luke put both hands on a Pippa's face to kiss her after he just said his hands were most likely bleeding (ew); Luke was racing against time to catch the killer who was probably attacking his next victim, but Luke took the time to wait at a traffic light before crossing the street; and we never do find out what the motel clerk was going to tell Luke about the mysterious customer he was trying to identify.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    Talk about déjà vu. “The Murder Game” finds Luke Chase sneaking out of his dorm and breaking the rules for the first time only to find himself caught up in an investigation into the murder of the wife of the Dean and with too many suspects and not enough time he races ahead to uncover the truth before the wrong man goes down for the crime. So the entire time I’m reading this book I kept feeling like I’ve read it before and it was only when I finished that I looked up the book it reminded me of a Talk about déjà vu. “The Murder Game” finds Luke Chase sneaking out of his dorm and breaking the rules for the first time only to find himself caught up in an investigation into the murder of the wife of the Dean and with too many suspects and not enough time he races ahead to uncover the truth before the wrong man goes down for the crime. So the entire time I’m reading this book I kept feeling like I’ve read it before and it was only when I finished that I looked up the book it reminded me of and found that it’s the exact same story just marketed with a new title, author and a few teaks for the plot and not for the better. Looking at my review back in 2018 for ‘Sneaking Out’ I had a much better reaction the story as a whole which remains pretty basic for a mystery in a boarding school like setting only they turned the main character into a kid who kind of flawed into someone who is a golden boy which is a weird choice because the investigative beats are the exact same only the initial sneaking out plot point was reluctance rather than of his own free will. I don’t really know what to say because on one hand I already knew this story so to say it was predicable is my own fault I guess but at the same time I wonder why it’s being rebranded as new when it’s almost 3 years old with the same tease of a series when no other book has clearly been put together to do just that. This is an odd sort of feeling but I think if I had to choose between The Murder Game or its original Sneaking Out I’d pick the latter. **special thanks (again) to the publishers and netgalley for providing an arc in exchange for a fair and honest review**

  9. 4 out of 5

    jpbrokerreads

    Luke and Oscar are roommates and best friends at their boarding school. One night they decide to sneak out to meet up with some girls. While hanging out they overhear a confrontation between a man and a woman but have no idea who they are. The next morning they find out that a woman was murdered in the exact spot they were at the night before. After Oscar becomes the prime suspect in the murder it is up to Luke to play detective and find out who committed the murder. This was a fun and fast read Luke and Oscar are roommates and best friends at their boarding school. One night they decide to sneak out to meet up with some girls. While hanging out they overhear a confrontation between a man and a woman but have no idea who they are. The next morning they find out that a woman was murdered in the exact spot they were at the night before. After Oscar becomes the prime suspect in the murder it is up to Luke to play detective and find out who committed the murder. This was a fun and fast read that I finished in just over 24 hours. I was hooked into the story pretty quickly and couldn’t put it down. Luke had so many potential suspects and different clues that lead him in various directions. I kept guessing at who the murderer was and was surprised by who it turned out to be. I would definitely recommend this to everyone

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jessi

    This was a very intriguing book. Murder happens on campus. Kid thinks he can solve the murder, and you know, not get killed in the process. Sounds familiar right? This story had a little more than your normal, who dunit High School tales. There is an entire cast of characters, any of which could be the killer. Most of them seem normal enough, but you really just never know who it could be. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Sanders

    **I received an ARC from the publisher on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was full of twists. It kind of made me think of Pretty Little Liars but without all of the girl drama. I couldn't get enough of this book. The ending wasn't what I excepted but it was so good. I'll definitely be reading it again. **I received an ARC from the publisher on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was full of twists. It kind of made me think of Pretty Little Liars but without all of the girl drama. I couldn't get enough of this book. The ending wasn't what I excepted but it was so good. I'll definitely be reading it again.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    DNFing, just because it's not what I was in the mood for. I thought there was going to be lots of murder at a prep school... which is my jam. But I'm not connecting with the characters and I don't care who killed the victim enough to keep reading for now. Might retry this in the future on audio if the narrator is good. DNFing, just because it's not what I was in the mood for. I thought there was going to be lots of murder at a prep school... which is my jam. But I'm not connecting with the characters and I don't care who killed the victim enough to keep reading for now. Might retry this in the future on audio if the narrator is good.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Penelope (The Reading Devil)

    Check out my review here: http://thereadingdevil.blogspot.com/2... Or read below: This was such a fun mystery to read! I don't normally gravitate to these types of books but something about this one gave me pause, and I decided to give it a go. I'm so happy I did because it was a whirlwind adventure! Every time I thought I'd figured it out, the story veered and there was a new lead to consider! The books follows Luke Chase, who feels determined to clear his best friend's name after sneaking out wit Check out my review here: http://thereadingdevil.blogspot.com/2... Or read below: This was such a fun mystery to read! I don't normally gravitate to these types of books but something about this one gave me pause, and I decided to give it a go. I'm so happy I did because it was a whirlwind adventure! Every time I thought I'd figured it out, the story veered and there was a new lead to consider! The books follows Luke Chase, who feels determined to clear his best friend's name after sneaking out with him and 2 girls the night of a murder. Luke slowly works through suspect after suspect, sometimes considering multiple at a time. I really liked trying to figure this murder out, and while I am definitely not an expert on this particular genre, I felt that it was in line with what can be expected from a teenage murder mystery. There were quite a few loose ends so I am assuming another book is coming. There were a few aspects that I was hoping would be wrapped up in this book, but I guess I'll just have to wait! I found the ending happened quite rapidly. One minute I had no idea who the killer was and then boom the book was solved and over. It didn't take away from the rest of the book, it just felt rather abrupt. Regardless, I really liked this and am looking forward to what comes next!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Genre: YA Thriller/Mystery Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire Publication Date: April 6th 2021 Rating: 4 out of 5 https://brimmingshelves.wordpress.com... The Murder Game by Carrie Doyle was incredible! It was fast paced, scary throughout and the mystery behind the murder kept me guessing until the very end! I’m a sucker for stories that take place at boarding schools because they seem to add an eeriness that fits the elitist vibes that these schools just naturally give off, if that makes any sense haha. Genre: YA Thriller/Mystery Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire Publication Date: April 6th 2021 Rating: 4 out of 5 https://brimmingshelves.wordpress.com... The Murder Game by Carrie Doyle was incredible! It was fast paced, scary throughout and the mystery behind the murder kept me guessing until the very end! I’m a sucker for stories that take place at boarding schools because they seem to add an eeriness that fits the elitist vibes that these schools just naturally give off, if that makes any sense haha. I find the setting spooky ok. Anyways, it’s also surrounded by woods which only makes it scarier! I definitely recommend this book to fans of Brittany Cavallaro’s A Study in Charlotte series Or The Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson! There was also a hint to a possible sequel at the very end of this book and although right now this is a stand alone story, I hope that possibility becomes reality because that small hint has already hooked me in! The amount of history at the school itself was incredibly well thought out. I liked the incorporation of The Southborough Strangler urban legend because it lent to a tragic past hinting at a possible murderer returning to the scene of the crime to commit another one and go uncaught once more. It made the school feel more eerie and creepy. Another thing I liked was how many teachers were previously students and therefore knew about this legend, having been there themselves when it allegedly happened. You could tell that there were things the teachers wouldn’t say outright but knew about and it was all because they shared a sinister past with the school itself having attended it at the time the legend was created. ____ “Dean Heckler’s wife, Joanna, was found dead this morning. On campus.’ There was a surge of chatter in the classroom. ‘Damn,’ Andy Slater said to Luke. ‘That’s some morning announcement.’ ‘Dead? What do you mean, found dead? Did she have a heart attack or something?’ asked a girl in the front row.” ____ I found this to be an honest reaction to finding out someone died on campus. It also established some sense of how the students dealt with a serious situation such as murder. This is how I expected them to react. It wasn’t fake or staged. The sarcastic comments from Andy, the concern from the girl in the front row trying to analyze what caused it, thinking it was natural causes. They didn’t jump to murder right from the beginning and I liked that. Another thing I wanted to mention about the student body was the concept of the ‘Animal Hour’. Is this a real thing at boarding schools? Where the students meet up to snack and talk to their crushes? Just curious! I have a public school education lol. And I don’t know if this was a reference to the film, Mean Girls but when they were discussing the audiovisual room as a makeout spot I immediately thought of that movie haha! Anyone else do the same? “That’s an insufficient excuse. Look, these are all incredibly flawed people we’re dealing with, Luke. Everyone had broken a rule. The victim herself, one Joanna Heckler, was a loose woman. Immoral. Broke up a marriages, cheated, manipulated. Then there is Dean Heckler. I have no love lost for Dean Heckler. He’s a pompous, arrogant bore who thinks he is better than everyone. He still has his ex-wife, the demure, little librarian Mary, do his bidding, perhaps spying for him. The boyfriend—Joanna’s lover’s name withheld—he was knowingly committing a mortal sin. Finally, there are the four of you: Oscar, Kelsey, Pippa, and Mr Goody Two-shoes himself, Luke Chase. You had broken a major school rule as stated in the St. Benedict’s handbook, on page seventy-six, ‘no one is to leave the dormitory after hours.” Mr Tadeckis never gave up on him and his character spoke a lot like Eugene from The Walking Dead if he had Abraham’s survival skills. I loved his character, he was the oddball who would rather spend his time in the woods on the property than in his room, and he was always observing. He was very cryptic and slightly creepy when interacting with the students but I chop that up to helping the overall vibe of the story mixed with his own lack of social cues. ____ “Anything else you want to ask me about? Speak now. I can’t sit in our room thinking you’re hoarding all these unasked questions.’ ‘Well, there is one thing,’ Luke said. He saw Oscar tense up. ‘Cougar lover?’ Luke said, spreading his arms out, palms up. ‘What the heck? Where did that come from?’ Oscar loosened up and ducked his head. ‘Yeah, okay, that was a little cheesy, I admit it. But you know what I meant. Desperate times call for desperate words, or so the saying goes.’ ‘I am on your side, cougar lover. One hundred percent.” _____ One of the most annoying parts to this entire book was when the police interviewed Luke about his best friend Oscar about the murder and he doesn’t tell him about it right away! He starts to doubt enough after just one conversation with the cops that he thinks he can’t confide in his best friend. I think their bond should have been strong enough that he would trust his friend over them without a doubt. I thought there would be more interaction between these two and I think there could have been but the snippets given were pretty good. I will always remember Oscar’s poor choice of words when he self-dubbed the title of Cougar Lover haha! _____ “I know firsthand that leaving investigations up to the police, or the FBI for that matter, is useless,’ said Luke harshly. He knew he shouldn’t speak to the headmaster in that tone, but he couldn’t help himself. The headmaster softened. ‘Luke, what happened to you was terrible. And I know you want to be a good friend to Oscar, which you are. But this is different. This is murder. And the police will solve this. You have to have faith in them.’ Luke stood up. ‘With all due respect, sir, I’ve learned that the only person I can have faith in is myself.’ And with that, he walked out of the room.” ____ Damn Luke! I got some serious respect when he said this to the Dean! This is where I was starting to see his character grow in confidence and I think him investigating the murder and being thrown into it really helped him embrace his survival instincts. Luke is also very astute and quick to think when evidence is planted in his locker and he hides it, he even resorts to calling them out as they searched for anything ‘suspicious’. The main character has a dark past which usually helps enrich a scary story like the one of a murdered woman who was married to the Dean of your school. However, this time it didn’t work out as well as I had hoped. Luke Chase is dubbed ‘the Kidnapped Kid’ after he was kidnapped and held for ransom three years prior to this present murder. The annoying thing about this is the fact that his story comes in patches as current events such as running in the woods after witnessing Joanna Heckler’s final moments transport him back to this time where he himself was in danger of losing his own life. It was a patchy, confusing way to include his history and infuse it into the present. Being reminded of his own brush with danger does make sense but when you’re only given one piece of information but are constantly reminded of his past every time someone brings it up, such as calling Luke ‘The kidnapped kid’ it only leaves you in confusion. At about 80 % in Luke finally confides in Pippa and details what actually happened in full and how he got the nickname. For me this was too late in the game to salvage the cute moment of trust shared between them. It should have happened way earlier or his nickname should have been used far less. The constant use of his other title only frustrated me because I didn’t have all the facts and because it was a past event and all facts were known to most of the characters in the story already that only made it more annoying. That nickname and its frequency hurt the story. I’m trying to figure out (along with Luke) what happened to the Dean’s wife and I can’t do that if Luke is brooding and angry about his past and the constant name calling from his fellow students and teachers. The worst part is how much this could have been avoided if it was just organized at the front of the story and laid out before you got caught up in the present murder. Going back and forth did not help with the complexity of a murder mystery. There are too many parts to one murder let alone trying to balance it out with another event that happened in the past. A redeeming quality for his character was the fact that he hated how his friends and fellow students talked about women. When Andy talks about hooking up and how he now doesn’t have to pretend to like them Luke calls him out on it. This happens again with Andy when he comments about Mr. P wishing he had “a hottie like Joanna Heckler.” Luke tells him that it’s not all about looks and he has no idea what he means. I like how Luke values women for more than their appearance. _____ “It was odd. Here he was, searching for a killer alongside her while she had been accused of homicide back home. But he didn’t see how she could have done it. She was reserved, for sure, and not very emotive, but he felt it was more of a suit of armour with her. He believed she was actually very vulnerable. Once you cracked the tough exterior, there was a really nice person underneath. Not to mention smart, funny, and sexy. ‘What’s our strategy?’ ‘I was going to wing it.’ Pippa laughed. ‘You’ll have to do better than that.” ___ This brings me to my next point, the romance between Luke and Pippa. She reminded me so much of Charlotte from A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. She was also a little bit like Pip from A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. She was a great character and her standoffish almost snobby behaviour at the beginning gave her great character development as she interacted and got to know Luke more as they investigated the murder. “They smiled at each other. Luke felt warm inside, with heat that had nothing to do with the recent physical exertion. He tried to remember if he’d ever felt like this around anyone else, but he didn’t think so. All this fear was definitely heightening his feelings for Pippa. This must be why guys take girls on dates to horror movies, he thought.” This happened right after they were investigating an area and he offered to catch her after she jumps the fence. It was romantic! A swoonworthy scene! I won’t spoil much more about their relationship but I will say that she makes the first move and I respect that! You go girl! (This is another way she is like Charlotte and Pip!) Overall this is a great book and it is perfect for any fan of YA thrillers! I want to thank the publishers at Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for providing me with an early copy to review!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Misty Horning

    A few of the reviews of this book mention the cover and title, describing how they do not seem to fit with the story. I will agree. I am not sure how the title plays into the story, or how the tally marks do as well. I did some digging and found out that this book was originally published in 2018 under the title of Sneaking Out (a much more suitable title) and the author published it under the pseudonym of Chuck Vance. It is described as the first in the Chased series (named for the main charact A few of the reviews of this book mention the cover and title, describing how they do not seem to fit with the story. I will agree. I am not sure how the title plays into the story, or how the tally marks do as well. I did some digging and found out that this book was originally published in 2018 under the title of Sneaking Out (a much more suitable title) and the author published it under the pseudonym of Chuck Vance. It is described as the first in the Chased series (named for the main character of Luke Chase). I do not know if any of the book has been changed since its original publication, but it does read as though there is a series planned. I hope there is as I still have some questions concerning the main character's background and the events he went through three years prior to the setting of this story. I enjoyed the novel, although it was predictable at times. There are some standard YA character tropes used but overall it was a fast-paced mystery. Readers of the Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson would probably enjoy this, especially if it continues with more books.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Rees

    A well written, fast paced thriller. A bit predictable but a solid 4 star YA novel. An easy read that keeps you intrigued.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    The Murder Game by Carrie Doyle is a YA fiction book centered around a boarding school murder. We follow the main character, Luke Chase, as he works to exonerate his best friend and roommate, Oscar, from accusations of murdering a teacher, Mrs. Heckler – the second Mrs. Heckler, that is. As a sort-of celebrity in his own right, the Kidnapped Kid, who escaped a kidnapping three years before the start of The Murder Game, Luke is poised as being uniquely capable at investigating and solving the mur The Murder Game by Carrie Doyle is a YA fiction book centered around a boarding school murder. We follow the main character, Luke Chase, as he works to exonerate his best friend and roommate, Oscar, from accusations of murdering a teacher, Mrs. Heckler – the second Mrs. Heckler, that is. As a sort-of celebrity in his own right, the Kidnapped Kid, who escaped a kidnapping three years before the start of The Murder Game, Luke is poised as being uniquely capable at investigating and solving the murder of Mrs. Heckler, a murder that had taken place only feet away from where he and a few friends had gathered after sneaking out of their dorms afterhours. To say I struggled getting through this book would be a smidgen of an understatement. I sent my friend a few screaming GIFs as she urged me on to get through it. It’s a relatively short and easy book to read, nothing too complicated despite the fact that its a YA murder mystery story; however, I found it boring and clichéd. Additionally, while the writing was, for the most part, average, the ending action scenes left a lot to be desired. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book where I wholeheartedly did not like a single character in it. In The Murder Game, almost all of the characters were strikingly unprofessional and uncaring. Reading about a school that seemed to treat a murder as a grand ol’ adventure or – disturbingly – like a joke was unpleasant. While I realize that high school aged teenagers are not the most mature of people, I don’t think a majority of them would be as blasé about it. When one of the more mature and sane students becomes upset over a “joke” that a student played the day after the murder of a teacher, even the main character is taken a little aback by the vehemence Liz displays. For a character that really wants to present himself as mature, trustworthy, respectful, and knowledgeable, he really isn’t. Luke Chase just comes across as a douchy, better-than-thou high schooler. This isn’t a story in which the main character is left on his own to solve the mystery or one where no one would believe him. Luke Chase just decides to solve the murder on his own because he was near the murder that night and his friend is in trouble. Instead, he seems to go out of his way to impede an active police investigation. Which is especially frustrating at the end when he accuses the police of taking too long to locate the murderer when he ensured certain evidence was withheld or delayed from getting to the police. The adults in this novel are no better. They are portrayed like the high schoolers except their age and positions are mentioned more often. When we do get characterization of the adult characters, it’s all half-formed and a little nerve-wracking. I would honestly hope that if any one of the adult characters were real people that they’d never be a teacher. The rampant unprofessionalism and downright creepiness of the adults makes me uncomfortable. It may be the boarding school setting that is supposed to make the adults act as they do but I don’t think so – I just think they’re poorly thought out characters. One of the teachers knows who the murderer is and more than likely actively witnessed it, and rather than tell the police, he’s too upset that he’s not treated like faculty and apparently also want’s to prove to Luke that his escape from his kidnapping was not a fluke. That is batshit fucking insane (and not in a good way, not even close). Speaking of which, I just want to say that having the skills to escape a kidnapping and having the skills to solve a murder are two different things. I’m not saying escaping a kidnapping is easy, by any means, but the fact that there are legitimate stories about people annoying their kidnappers enough to release them and that there aren’t any stories like that about solving a murder might indicate something. Overall, I was really disappointed by this book. With a title like The Murder Game and the awesome cover art, I expected a, well, murder game. That’s not at all what I got. Additionally, there are a lot of plot points left out which I think was intentionally done so that they could be explored in book sequels. However, some of them shouldn’t have been because they would have helped make the story more interesting; would have helped characterize the characters; or because they are going to leave a lot of questions if there isn’t a sequel. I think it’s always a dangerous game to bank on a sequel to provide more information when releasing the first book in a series just in case it doesn’t go further. There are some plot points that I didn’t need elaborated further, such as Pippa’s deal – that was one I could wait for in another book – or even the Strangler – I bet he would get to make a comeback – but others should have been elaborated more, such as Luke’s kidnapping or Mr. Hamaguchi’s reaction to the murder (and the previous dead girlfriend tidbit is not enough). With all of that being said, I’d give The Murder Game 2 stars out of 5. At the end of the day, it just left a lot to be desired. I think there was the potential for some good storytelling but what I got was way too much dialogue (I never notice the amount of dialogue unless that’s all there is and that’s what it felt like at times) and a pretty straightforward mystery that wasn’t really surprising. I wanted a body count and a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse. What I got was Luke looking at Pippa’s ass.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    ORIGINAL POST: http://www.nerdprobs.com/books/book-r... **A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.** The Murder Game by Carrie Doyle first caught my attention because of its name. I’m all about “murder stories”, as I like to call them. Most know them as mystery, thriller, or suspense novels. I am also a fan of YA fiction novels and so this book combined a few of my favorite things, I was all in. The story follows Luke Chase at his boarding sc ORIGINAL POST: http://www.nerdprobs.com/books/book-r... **A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.** The Murder Game by Carrie Doyle first caught my attention because of its name. I’m all about “murder stories”, as I like to call them. Most know them as mystery, thriller, or suspense novels. I am also a fan of YA fiction novels and so this book combined a few of my favorite things, I was all in. The story follows Luke Chase at his boarding school in the woods where a staff member is killed and the murderer is not immediately found. Luke, being well known for his kidnappin when he was a bit younger, at first has no big interest in helping solve the case. He is interested in who did it because he happens to be keeping secrets in fear of getting in trouble, but all that changes when his roommate is accused. The characters in this book are my favorite aspect of this book. They are all so quickly and interesting in their own ways that it makes the story that much more enjoyable to read it. Luke seems like your average teenage boy, but he’s also kind of nerdy and more empathetic than other teenage boys. Oscar, the roommate, is definitely your typical teenage boy and a bit refreshing. He’s a bit of a ladies man, he doesn’t always follow the rules, and his room is a mess at almost all times. Pippa is mysterious and secretive. I wasn’t sure I liked her at first but she grew on me. Then you have all the teachers who have the strangest lives and personalities but they all seem very comfortable in their own skin and I love it. All of these characters really added to the story. A good plot line is one thing, but great characters to fill it seals the deal. Doyle wrote a thriller that gripped me from the first chapter and held me up until the very end. I love when I cannot guess the ending of a mystery novel early on and Doyle accomplished that. There are a magnitude of twists and turns and a lot of suspenseful moments where I found myself holding my breath thinking something huge was about to happen. Just when I thought I had guessed it, another twist had me second guessing myself. While this book is labeled for Young Adult readers, it’s a mystery/thriller anyone could enjoy and will enjoy if they take the time to read it. Doyle’s writing style flows really nicely. There is no jumping around. You get a few flashbacks for Luke, but otherwise its just flowing until you hit the big reveal. I’m so glad I picked up this novel. It’s an astounding story packed full of thrills and suspense. An absolute must read this spring. I had never read anything by Carrie Doyle before, but I will definitely be adding her to my list of authors to watch for new releases and all of her previous releases. I’ll be busy reading.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    I received an ARC from Edelweiss 2.6 Luke never wanted the notoriety that came along with having escaped a kidnap, and the last thing he wants to get involved with is a murder. Except... he was there when it happened, hiding in the woods after curfew. And the police seem to think his roommate has something to do with it. What starts as an investigation to prove Oscar's innocence slowly becomes more complex and more dangerous, as everyone seems to be the possible murderer. This book is pretty ridicu I received an ARC from Edelweiss 2.6 Luke never wanted the notoriety that came along with having escaped a kidnap, and the last thing he wants to get involved with is a murder. Except... he was there when it happened, hiding in the woods after curfew. And the police seem to think his roommate has something to do with it. What starts as an investigation to prove Oscar's innocence slowly becomes more complex and more dangerous, as everyone seems to be the possible murderer. This book is pretty ridiculous and fairly drawn out, but I suppose if you're a younger teen who likes mysteries it might be something you'd enjoy. Personally, I didn't really enjoy my experience reading it. Let's start positive, though. I think the tension is well done. You're always aware that someone is coming for Luke, and you definitely don't know who you're meant to trust and who has some evil intentions. You've got Luke looking over his shoulder nervously throughout and it keeps you on your toes. I think the joint trauma involved in this story is interesting and brings the two characters together well. It also shapes the way they interact with the case, and while I think they could have pushed that angle a little more, it does show how they're considering the next steps taken. Now, mostly, I just thought this book was really over the top and never confident enough in where it decides to commit after going back and forth. Luke is uncertain basically the entire time, and while it's kind of understandable and Doyle definitely was hoping for that to ramp up tension, it mostly makes it feel lukewarm. Hearing a "yes no no yes no uh maybe" response doesn't make you tense it makes you tired. Luke doesn't commit throughout, he just keep moving and taking in information like a clinically distant tour guide until the end. Characters like Mr. Tadeckis felt like they were ripped from middle grade novels with less nuance or tether to reality. That character, in particular, really made me disengage from the whole story because he was so implausible and thinly drawn. But Luke as well doesn't have many traits and what he does have boil down to a "I have sisters" skill-set that feels like a role reversal of the "I had brothers" mechanic-beer-drinker girl trope. I mean, this kid goes "man I'm glad I had sisters!" every three seconds when he's thinking about women's reactions or not being sexist. Instead of simply not being sexist he has to teach and be taught fifty times randomly. The killer also felt wildly flat and didn't match up in any way that was interesting, just weird. Mostly, I was frustrated that we hear so much about Luke having been kidnapped, and occasionally even get flashbacks from it, but it never has any weight in the story. It doesn't connect, there's not clear mystery, it doesn't help him solve the case, it's just a thing he keeps bringing up. The same can be said of Pippa's situation, though I'm pretty sure Doyle's just attempting to set up a series. I can see some people having fun with this one, because it's twisty and pretty tense, but I couldn't make myself get into it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Beccy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A PROMISING PLOT, A DISAPPOINTING STORY Before you start reading the actual review, I’ve got a confession to make; I’m a cover person, I buy books for their beautiful covers, in most cases I don’t even read any synapses, I have no clue what exactly it is about until I read it. That’s not the best way to buy books, I know. But most of the time it works for me, in this case ... Well, it didn’t work at all. Don’t get fooled by the title or the cover because they have in fact nothing to do with the A PROMISING PLOT, A DISAPPOINTING STORY Before you start reading the actual review, I’ve got a confession to make; I’m a cover person, I buy books for their beautiful covers, in most cases I don’t even read any synapses, I have no clue what exactly it is about until I read it. That’s not the best way to buy books, I know. But most of the time it works for me, in this case ... Well, it didn’t work at all. Don’t get fooled by the title or the cover because they have in fact nothing to do with the actual story! Gladly I’ve been reading a few reviews on this book and saw a response from the author, explaining that the editor messed this up, for this I’m very sorry Carrie💔 But let’s get started, besides my high expectations for this book due to its cover, I wasn’t completely disappointed. The idea was good, I really liked that the victim wasn’t a white sheep at all, no spoilers here. However most characters were pretty cliche to me. A few things bothered me extremely: a lush boarding school, okay. But a boarding school with resources for literally every hobby ever? With like ten different sports teams? And so relaxed teachers, that they would order junk food for their students? It was a bit too good to be true. And yes, this is fiction but in order to make a book relatable, it should be a tiny bit realistic. For me it was all too much, sorry. Too much were also the characters; TWO main characters with a dark past? It seemed all a little crazy to me, way too many coincidences, it overshadowed the actual murder mystery. And an adult, responsible for the children in school, handing them knives instead of aid? Like come on. It was all too hard to believe, I like crazy books, but this was beyond it. Besides that, the end was kinda rushed and didn’t feel satisfying at all. And for sure I won’t be reading the next book that was slightly triggered on the last page, I’m sorry. I liked Pippa, sort of, but I’m not sure I could bear another book like this one. This may sound hard now, I don’t mean to be rude. For the author to improve I’d suggest a better research on stuff. E.g. adrenaline or not, it’s hard to believe that Luke could’ve made it to that maze even though he was drugged with roofies a few hours prior, or at least it shouldn’t have been that easy for him. And SEVENTY stitches for a cut on his hand? I’m sure you meant seventeen. After all, I binged it in ten hours, which means it was still somehow gripping! So I recommend it to: fans of One Of Us Is Lying and The Broken Girls!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Martin

    This is a boarding school mystery. Luke, his roommate Oscar, and two girls Pippa and Kelsey sneak out late one night to a local make-out spot. They weren't expecting to overhear a murder. Since they snuck out which could have consequences including expulsion, they want to keep their presence at the scene a secret. But Oscar is the sort of troublemaking kid who soon becomes a focus of the investigation. Luke is the stand-up, rule following kind of guy who has a past which includes his kidnapping a This is a boarding school mystery. Luke, his roommate Oscar, and two girls Pippa and Kelsey sneak out late one night to a local make-out spot. They weren't expecting to overhear a murder. Since they snuck out which could have consequences including expulsion, they want to keep their presence at the scene a secret. But Oscar is the sort of troublemaking kid who soon becomes a focus of the investigation. Luke is the stand-up, rule following kind of guy who has a past which includes his kidnapping and desperate escape through wooded country. He is trying to live down his reputation as the Kidnapped Kid but he still has the skills he needed when he was younger. Once Oscar is accused, Luke becomes determined to find out who really killed the new Mrs. Heckler. He has lots of suspects besides his roommate who worked in her office to offset some demerits. Joanna Heckler was the sort of woman who always wanted the next new man which means that quite a few of the other male teachers now appear on Luke's suspect list along with her husband. I liked Luke's growing relationship with Pippa who is a new student at the school. She left England under a sort of cloud because she was seen arguing with her best friend just before her friend was murdered. She was blamed but not charged and has come to the US to start over. I liked the mysterious survival skills teacher who seems to know a lot more than he's saying and who pushes Luke to recover the skills that let him survive his own kidnapping. This was an entertaining story and well-plotted mystery with interesting characters. I hope this isn't Luke's last adventure in crime-solving.

  22. 4 out of 5

    hollie

    3.5 stars. Okay, so this book is literally a cross between A study in Charlotte meets any boarding school book ever. I thought the premise was really interesting and Carrie captured boarding school life how I would expect. I felt like the story’s ending was satisfying enough and I can see this book being a potential series. - I liked the entire concept of this book and how the story played out. The reveals/twists felt realistic and I could understand the direction Luke’s character followed. - I lik 3.5 stars. Okay, so this book is literally a cross between A study in Charlotte meets any boarding school book ever. I thought the premise was really interesting and Carrie captured boarding school life how I would expect. I felt like the story’s ending was satisfying enough and I can see this book being a potential series. - I liked the entire concept of this book and how the story played out. The reveals/twists felt realistic and I could understand the direction Luke’s character followed. - I liked that this was not a romance heavy book which is typical for a lot of YA mysteries. I liked Pippa’s role but she wasn’t the centre part of the investigation and this was nice to read. - Carrie’s writing was good but the pacing was off. It took me a while for the book to get going but once it did, it was good. I would say the first half of the book dragged which was frustrating as the latter half really was good. - I also thought Luke’s backstory was interesting but I either think it should have been scrapped all together or more should have been explored with it because it was kind of mentioned a few times and didn’t really add anything to the book and I found myself wanting more from this. Overall, a decently written YA mystery with a unique voice. I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Quinlan

    This is exactly what you would expect a teenage boarding school murder mystery to be, so don’t expect to be surprised in any way. Teens sneak out and unknowingly are present at the scene of a murder. Was it one of them? A faculty member perhaps? The teens investigate at the risk of getting caught by the killer. There is one teacher who knows everything, but instead of telling the police and wrapping things up, he feeds the protagonist clues — leaving the teens in danger the whole time, which is This is exactly what you would expect a teenage boarding school murder mystery to be, so don’t expect to be surprised in any way. Teens sneak out and unknowingly are present at the scene of a murder. Was it one of them? A faculty member perhaps? The teens investigate at the risk of getting caught by the killer. There is one teacher who knows everything, but instead of telling the police and wrapping things up, he feeds the protagonist clues — leaving the teens in danger the whole time, which is super concerning and is never truly explained. Oh! And the author mentions the portaging story showering so frequently that I assumed it was a clue of some sort, but the story just seems to hinge on his shower schedule. (Seriously, if you read it, you will understand.) It wasn’t a bad story in any way, in fact, it didn’t really have anything to say beyond a very basic story. Not that every novel needs to be an activism piece, there just wasn’t much in the way of depth or character development and that feels like a missed opportunity. It often felt very artificial and out of touch and almost a bit dated? I found myself assuming the story was set in the late 20th century, until someone mentioned something contemporary, like Snapchat. These hits of ‘Now’ felt inconsistent and out of place. Thanks to Sourcebook Fire and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anik-MamaBearsBookshelf

    The murder game is about Luke Chase who got caught up in solving the murder of Mrs. Heckler. He didn't mean to all he wanted is to spend alone time with the new girl at their boarding school. Little did they know that someone would end up dead right next to their meet-up spot in the woods. Crazy thing is that his best friend and roommate Oscar would take the blame for the murder. Luke knows that he was to use his famous survival skills and solve this mystery and find the true killer. Is Oscar th The murder game is about Luke Chase who got caught up in solving the murder of Mrs. Heckler. He didn't mean to all he wanted is to spend alone time with the new girl at their boarding school. Little did they know that someone would end up dead right next to their meet-up spot in the woods. Crazy thing is that his best friend and roommate Oscar would take the blame for the murder. Luke knows that he was to use his famous survival skills and solve this mystery and find the true killer. Is Oscar the real killer? Will Luke find the real killer? How did Luke get his famous survival skills? This was book was good, I enjoyed it. It was an easy read, very fast past. It kept me on the edge of my seat, I love that it wasn't predictable and the secrets were all kept till the end. The story was very well-plotted. It kept me intrigued till the end. It has lots of twists and turns that I enjoyed very much. I agree with a lot of you that the title and cover could have been better. Thank you to Netgalley and SOURCEBOOKS Fire for giving me the chance to read and review this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kelli Wilson

    Elements of thriller and suspense novels, as well as a serial killer potential. Unfortunately, those elements were mostly teases, as they were never fulfilled. While it is a YA novel, the introduction of more serious topics, lead me to believe it would be a book with a stronger focus on the 'A' piece of YA. Which, I should state, is my preference within this genre. I did enjoy this novel. It started off exciting and I was certainly pulled in and intrigued. However, it slowed down rather swiftly. Elements of thriller and suspense novels, as well as a serial killer potential. Unfortunately, those elements were mostly teases, as they were never fulfilled. While it is a YA novel, the introduction of more serious topics, lead me to believe it would be a book with a stronger focus on the 'A' piece of YA. Which, I should state, is my preference within this genre. I did enjoy this novel. It started off exciting and I was certainly pulled in and intrigued. However, it slowed down rather swiftly. Overall, I continued to feel interested just enough, to keep reading, but it wasn't a priority for me. Ultimately, it appeared the author was torn between how intense the story should be vs a concern with maintaining the young aspect. An internal conflict that the author never resolved, as was apparent in the final presentation. That said, I saw some promise in this work. I hope it is able to be realized in future releases. *Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire via Edelweiss+ for providing a digital advanced copy.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Ruth (Oracleofmadness)

    I was really excited to start reading this and I was not disappointed! Luke and Oscar are best friends and roommates at an elite boarding school, St. Benedict's. Everything is normal, these two high school buddies planning to sneak out and meet a couple girls and hang out at a make-out spot in the woods. However, this is when things get crazy, they have a scary and strange experience and find out the next day that a female member of the staff was murdered that night right around where they were h I was really excited to start reading this and I was not disappointed! Luke and Oscar are best friends and roommates at an elite boarding school, St. Benedict's. Everything is normal, these two high school buddies planning to sneak out and meet a couple girls and hang out at a make-out spot in the woods. However, this is when things get crazy, they have a scary and strange experience and find out the next day that a female member of the staff was murdered that night right around where they were hiding. So much goes on in this book. Luke has a mysterious past that leads him into privately searching for the murderer. Not only was Luke overwhelmed with suspicion, but I was too... for pretty much everybody else in this story at certain points. I thought this was a fun and fast-paced read. I did think there were some predictable points but that didn't stop me from enjoying it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kylie

    With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for my ARC. Firstly, I need to address the fact that the cover and title do not match the story; there are not thirteen deaths, there’s only one non-historical death. I was expecting something far different to the story that I read due to the cover, perhaps more deaths or student involvement? The first part of the story consists of four students at boarding school sneaking out for night time hijinks and then discovering the next day, that a faculty memb With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for my ARC. Firstly, I need to address the fact that the cover and title do not match the story; there are not thirteen deaths, there’s only one non-historical death. I was expecting something far different to the story that I read due to the cover, perhaps more deaths or student involvement? The first part of the story consists of four students at boarding school sneaking out for night time hijinks and then discovering the next day, that a faculty member was murdered while they were in the woods. Which leads to one of the two best friends, Luke and Oscar being a suspect. The story then continues with the main character Luke trying to solve the mystery of who was the murderer and clearing Oscar’s name. While the premise is good, the somewhat stilted dialogue and descriptive elements made it difficult for me to ‘get into’ the story. However, this is a solid murder mystery with a good resolution, and the hint of at least one sequel.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kerri

    Luke Chase is starting another year at his exclusive boarding school when his roommate, Oscar, convinces him to sneak out with two girls. That same night, a teacher is found murdered in the wood, near the spot where they were hanging out. Luke and Oscar are determined to solve the mystery before suspicion falls on them. The book has an okay plot but nothing too exciting. Luke is a bit dense at the clues thrown his way and the rest of the characters aren't overly developed, so it was hard to make Luke Chase is starting another year at his exclusive boarding school when his roommate, Oscar, convinces him to sneak out with two girls. That same night, a teacher is found murdered in the wood, near the spot where they were hanging out. Luke and Oscar are determined to solve the mystery before suspicion falls on them. The book has an okay plot but nothing too exciting. Luke is a bit dense at the clues thrown his way and the rest of the characters aren't overly developed, so it was hard to make a connection. An average YA murder mystery, although I struggled to finish reading. The title is misleading as the story doesn't involve a game, nor is the number 13 relevant, as shown on the cover. Overall rating, 2.5 stars. Thanks to NetGalley, SourcebooksFire Publishing, and Carrie Doyle for an advanced eBook copy in exchange for my honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Faith Hurst-Bilinski

    I will start with agreeing that this book is misnamed. There is no game being played here. Instead there are 4 dumb high school students in a private school. They break out in the middle of the night so they can talk in a cave, basically. While there, they hear what they later find out may have been a murder. What follows is an interesting YA book in which the teenager, with the much more interesting past of surviving a kidnapping, does that YA thing and investigates the murder. The whole thing I will start with agreeing that this book is misnamed. There is no game being played here. Instead there are 4 dumb high school students in a private school. They break out in the middle of the night so they can talk in a cave, basically. While there, they hear what they later find out may have been a murder. What follows is an interesting YA book in which the teenager, with the much more interesting past of surviving a kidnapping, does that YA thing and investigates the murder. The whole thing is fantastical and unbelievable. I’m OK with that. No one of any age wants to read about people their own age being without power, so YA books give the power to teenagers. There was way too much going on at this school and the perpetrator was pretty obvious, as were the red herrings. This was a decent, quick book for those who want to read a little fantastical murder mystery.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jenni

    This story is a murder mystery, but don't let the title fool you. There is no game. I have no idea where that title came from. Here, we find rich kids at a prep school (seems to be a YA trend for at least 20 books I've read this year). The story follows Luke Chase, a student who, three years ago, was kidnapped and escaped his captors. Does that have anything to do with the story? You'll have to read to find out. There is a murder on campus and the police can't figure out who coule have possibly This story is a murder mystery, but don't let the title fool you. There is no game. I have no idea where that title came from. Here, we find rich kids at a prep school (seems to be a YA trend for at least 20 books I've read this year). The story follows Luke Chase, a student who, three years ago, was kidnapped and escaped his captors. Does that have anything to do with the story? You'll have to read to find out. There is a murder on campus and the police can't figure out who coule have possibly done it. Luke decides that the adults are incompetent and sets out to solve the mystery himself. The book is okay, but predictable and no where near the level of books like Truly Devious.

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