This is something I've always secretly wanted to try. A murder mystery game where you fight to "stay alive" and rock out your own personal detective skills (though admittedly I'd probably be the first one out). But I'm too antisocial for such things so I got this instead! The ultimate high school appropriate game of cat and mouse goes too far in this mystery thriller. Let's dive right in.
Cate has longed to become part of the Guild at Umfraville private school since she first came there. Now, she finally has her chance to join and become a player in "the game". The game is "Killer". One Guild member goes around "killing off" other players in thrilling yet harmless pranks until they are caught or one remains. It's a daring adventure full of secrets and suspicion...until the pranks take a seriously dangerous turn for the worst. Kids are getting badly hurt and the school itself is in jeopardy and Cate must figure out who the "Killer" is and put a stop to him...or risk becoming his next victim.
The concept of "Killer" is a lot of fun and a great idea...even if it would never really pass in a real school. That's what the creation of Umfraville is about. It serves as both an isolated (it's a private school on an island in the Irish Sea) area where any good murder mystery can take place as well as being probably the only location where such a game could exist. Something like this game would never go by in a public school (in America anyway) and so the author gives us a great location for such events to take place, but also a place where immediate help is hard to come by. There's a big stretch of water keeping you isolated from cops and hospitals so it's just the creepy setting we'd want for a story such as this.
The quality of the characters in this story...vary. While Cate is a bit bland, she never outright bothered me or made me angry. She often makes a point of saying how she's average and insignificant (despite a whopping THREE guys wanting to date her) but it never got pretentious or annoying. She was just okay. The Guild members...honestly, I think there were too many of them. Certain ones I remember clearly like Alex, the Game Master, and Vaughn, the computer whiz, and Martin the overeager one. The rest, however, just kinda start blurring together and I had a tough time keeping track of who was who. This is particularly vexing when you're trying to solve a mystery and can't even remember who all the players and potential suspects are.
But the best aspect of this book was the mystery. I was genuinely stumped for a good portion of this book. There was a nice amount of red herrings, twists, and the kills were both interesting and inventive, even the dangerous ones. Honestly, I could have done with more pranks. They come pretty far in between each other and I would have liked to have seen what else the killer had up their sleeve. That does, however, lead to another downside in that it takes over half the book for things to get really serious. There are some vague threats but things don't really go down until well into the book. A bit more intimacy was needed for the first bit, but it does lead up to a good reveal and intense climax, so I'm happy overall.
Just the type of murder mystery I like to read. Creepy, dangerous, thrilling and fun. A bit slow in places and not quite enough action, but overall a good idea and a story that I'd say, is worth your money at your local bookstore.
Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts. Have a book you'd like me to read or would like to make a recommendation? Contact me on goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65448711-michelle-beer