BLOG TOUR REVIEW: The Murder Game – by Rachel Abbott #blogtour #RandomThingsTours @annecater

Hello and welcome to my stop of the The Murder Game Random Things Tours blog tour! A huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I’ve been meaning to try one of Rachel Abbott‘s books for a while now and this blog tour was a perfect excuse to do so! I had an excellent time with the first book of the series, And So It Begins, last month and I think that I enjoyed the sequel The Murder Game even more. Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts.

Title: The Murder Game
(Stephanie King #2)
Author: Rachel Abbott
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: April 16th 2020
Publisher: Wildfire
Finished reading: April 12th 2020
Pages: 416

“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’ve been meaning to try one of Rachel Abbott‘s books for a long time now and this blog tour was a perfect excuse to finally do so! I had an excellent time with the first book of the series, And So It Begins, last month and I think that I might have possibly enjoyed the sequel The Murder Game even more… I’m definitely fully hooked when it comes to this series now! I’ll try to explain below why The Murder Game ticked all the right boxes for me.

First of all, I love that this series isn’t the typical detective thriller despite having detective Stephanie King as the leading character of this series. Instead, both first two books are dark psychological thrillers first, and detective/crime thrillers second, and this shift in focus is both refreshing, gives the stories a multi-dementional feel and makes the series in general stand out above the rest. While Stephanie is the glue between the books of this series, we won’t actually see her appear until later in The Murder Game and only because body shows up and a detective is needed. This is definitely unexpected and it was a very clever twist to have other characters in the spotlight instead.

The story mainly focuses on three characters: Jemma, Nina And Alex. We get to see the situation from the POV of all three women and not only that, we also have events set one year ago as well as in present. This complex structure really takes story to the next level without obstructing the reading pace or readability in general. The characters themselves might not be all too likeable, but their development is solid and their flaws make them feel realistic. It was also interesting seeing things from the POV of ‘outsider’ Jemma, as she doesn’t know rest of the characters in play until the wedding. Nina is likewise an outsider of course, but she does know Alex and has a different view on things as the case hits closer home. Alex probably most intriguing POV though, both due to her past and the secrets surrounding her…

The structure of the plot is without doubt one of highlights of The Murder Game. Switching back between past an present, the structure allows for plot twists and secrets  to be revealed slowly and they definitely added a healthy dose of suspense and tension to the story. Not knowing what exactly happened to Alex in the past added a level of intrigue as well as an ominous feel… The murder game Lucas wants to play in the present is a brilliantly executed element too and it really gave the story that ‘locked room’ vibe. I also loved the setting close to the Cornwall sea as it added to the darker and ominous atmosphere as well as playing a key role in plot. Furthermore, the eventual appearance of Stephanie in the plot felt natural and her development was another interesting touch. Of course the case she first investigated (the death of Alex) took place a year ago, but it was interesting to see how past and present collided with a new missing person case in the present. The whole detective investigation was not main focus of The Murder Game of course, but it added a little something extra and enabled reaching a credible ending to the story.

There is a lot to love in The Murder Game… Well written, suspenseful, complex, a dark and multi-dimentional plot, an interesting cast of characters, that locked room feel, a Cornwall coast setting… Fans of dark psychological thrillers will be in for a treat!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Abbott began her career as an independent author in 2011, with Only the Innocent, which became a No.1 bestseller on Kindle, topping the chart for four weeks. Since then, she has published eight further psychological thrillers and sold over 3 million copies. She is one of the top-selling authors of all time in the UK Kindle store, and her novels have been translated into 21 languages.

Rachel splits her time between Alderney – a beautiful island off the coast of France – and the Le Marche region of Italy, where she is able to devote all her time to writing fiction.


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WWW Wednesdays #264 – April 15th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’ve been craving more contemporary reads, and I’m currently reading One Summer In Paris by Sarah Morgan even though it’s probably not something I would normally read. We’ll see how things go! I’m also starting my final pending April ARC: The Girl In The Tree by Sebnem Isiguzel.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Sign Of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (4/5 stars) NO REVIEW
I won’t be writing a full review for this one, but I really enjoyed meeting up with Sherlock Holmes and Watson again. I still can’t believe I’ve never read the original series before! The Sign Of Four was short, but sweet and highly entertaining.

2. The Curious Charms Of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick (4/5 stars) REVIEW 21/04
The Curious Charms Of Arthur Pepper is a proper feel-good story and tearjerker in one, and without doubt the exact right read I needed in these strange times. The writing is wonderful and makes it really easy to keep turning those pages… I finished The Curious Charms Of Arthur Pepper in no time at all.

3. The Apartment by K.L. Slater (4/5 stars) REVIEW 20/04
Those who have read a K.L. Slater psychological thriller before will know that it is best to clear your schedule before you start reading one of her stories, because once you have read the first couple of chapters you won’t be able to stop. Her writing is engaging and highly addictive; one moment you sit down to start a new story, and the next suddenly hours have passed and you find yourself staring at that final page. The Apartment is no exception, and another excellently written, suspenseful and highly addicting read.

4. Meet Cute by Helena Hunting (2/5 stars) REVIEW 21/04
I was looking for a cute contemporary romance read to distract myself, and as soon as I saw Meet Cute I thought I had hit the jackpot. I was willing to forgive the sexy part as I really needed a romantic comedy in my life… But I guess the cover was completely false advertisement, as Meet Cute is mostly a considerably dark and depressing contemporary read which deals alternately with grief after the death of both parents in an accident and with a whole bunch of sexy scenes and cringeworthy ‘enemy to lover‘ trope cliches.

5. The Murder Game by Rachel Abbott (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOURREVIEW 25/04
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour!

6. VOX by Christina Dalcher (3/5 stars) REVIEW 24/04
I’ve been meaning to read VOX for a long time now, and I was really curious to see how I would react to this story as I’ve seen mixed reviews. When I started reading I thought I was going to love this story as the writing was spot on for me and I have actually studied Wernicke’s aphasia as part of my Spanish philology degree… But sadly there were too many things that infuriated me, and that includes the love triangle and animal tests.

7. Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee (3/5 stars) REVIEW 27/04
I’ve seen this story mentioned in the past and couldn’t resist getting an ARC when I saw it on Netgalley… While I did like the writing, I found the actual story to be rather lacking, as there was no true plot to speak of and the characters were quite unlikeable. The idea of the curse is intriguing and I really wish both characters and the plot would have been more fleshed out. Beautiful writing did not make up for the fact that the story itself lacked development in both those areas… And the ending itself was quite unsatisfying as well.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have two last Magical Readathon books and exams left pending: The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman and Woven In Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez. I might throw in another contemporary after that, but if I’m in the mood for more thrillers I will probably pick up my next pending ARC The Creak On The Stairs by Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir. I also finally have a new TBR jar pick: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. I’ve been wanting to read that one for a long time, so I’ll be looking forward to finally do so.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #155 – And So It Begins & The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two detective stories; one modern and one a classic and both excellent reads. And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott was my first experience with her work and I’m definitely looking forward to more. The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie was already my fifth meeting with Hercule Poirot and another very satisfying read.


Title: And So It Begins
(Stephanie King #1)
Author: Rachel Abbott

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 11th 2018
Publisher: Black Dot Publishing
Finished reading: March 29th 2020
Pages: 302

“The truth is, Cleo, that however close we are to someone, we never truly know what’s in their heart.”


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I’ve been meaning to try one of her books for ages now, and the blog tour for the Stephanie King sequel this month was a perfect excuse to finally do so. There is no doubt that I enjoyed my first experience with Rachel Abbott‘s writing, and And So It Begins was a more than satisfying thriller read. While I do confess I was surprised to find a story that was more dark psychological thriller than detective thriller (then again, I went in blind and didn’t check the blurb first), it was a most pleasant surprise and I wasn’t disappointed at all. And So It Begins is the first time we meet main character Stephanie King, and although we don’t get to learn all that much about her background in the first book, references are made that will make you more than curious to find out more in the sequel. Like I said before, And So It Begins can mostly be classified as a dark psychological thriller, and the focus is mainly on the victim and those close to him rather than Stephanie herself. Both Chloe, Evie and Mark are in the spotlight, and it is our task to slowly unravel the truth about both past and present as all three seem to have more than one secret to hide… The story is well written and the use of suspense and plot twists simply spot on. It’s a highly entertaining as well as suspenseful read, and I’ll definitely be looking forward to the sequel now.


Title: The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd
(Hercule Poirot #4)
Author: Agatha Christie
 
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: June 1926
Publisher: William Morrow
Finished reading: April 1st 2020
Pages: 286

“Hercule Poirot does not run the risk of disarranging his costume without being sure of attaining his object. To do so would be ridiculous and absurd. I am never ridiculous.”


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I’m trying to read more Agatha Christie books and I’ve been slowly working my way through the Hercule Poirot books… I really like his character and each meeting so far has without doubt been successful. The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd is no exception, and another very satisfying detective read. Although this story is mostly told by a new character, neighbor Dr. Sheppard, as soon as Hercule Poirot makes his appearance you will feel the story is on the right track. His way of talking and observing the world is simply unique, and as soon as he utters his first sentence you know you have encountered an old friend again… It was interesting to see him investigate the case of Roger Ackroyd’s murder, and I definitely didn’t see the ending coming. Both the plot twists and the writing are excellently developed and The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd is definitely one of my favorite Hercule Poirot stories so far. I’ll be looking forward to the next one!


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WWW Wednesdays #262 – April 1st

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

It’s Magical Readathon month again! I’m currently reading The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie for my Herbology exam… I’ve been looking forward to meet up with Hercule Poirot again. I’m also starting Where She Went by Gayle Forman for my Arithmancy exam.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Find Her Alive by Lisa Regan (4,5/5 stars)  REVIEW 07/04
I know that I’m repeating myself, but that doesn’t mean it is less true: the Detective Josie Quinn series is one of my favorite detective series and every time I find out that a new installment is coming out it kind of feels like an early birthday present. It’s been a long and intense ride for Josie Quinn so far, and it seems like trouble keeps finding her in the small town where she works. I’m not complaining of course, as new trouble means a new Josie Quinn book and another rollercoaster thriller ride to look forward to. Find Her Alive is no exception, and is yet another excellent addition to the series. Book number eight is another firecracker!

2. Kilo by Toby Muse (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 
Anyone who is interested in the Colombian drugs world should add this newly published non fiction account to their wishlist, as it turned out to be an absolutely fascinating read. Definitely one of the best drugs-related non fiction reads I’ve had the pleasure to read so far! Read more about my experience in my blog tour review posted earlier today.

3. And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott (4/5 stars) REVIEW 13/04
I’ve been meaning to try one of her books for ages now, and the blog tour of the Stephanie King sequel this month was a perfect excuse to finally do so. I definitely enjoyed my first experience with Rachel Abbott‘s writing, and And So It Begins was a more than satisfying read. More dark psychological thriller than detective thriller (something I didn’t expect), but well written and I’ll definitely be looking forward to read the sequel now.

4. The Lost Orphan (The Foundling) by Stacey Halls (4/5 stars) REVIEW 05/04
I confess I wasn’t that big of a fan of The Familiars last year, but I definitely had a lot more positive experience with her second book The Lost Orphan (also called The Foundling). I’m a fan of historical fiction and the both 18th century setting in London and the plot it self were excellently developed.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Next up are four more titles for the Magical Readathon… First up is Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan as the publish date is coming close and I’ve been in the mood for fantasy. Next is Sister by Kjell Ola Dahl as the blog tour stop is coming closer… Afterwards, it’s guilty pleasure read with Living Dead In Dallas by Charlaine Harris. I’m not a fan of vampire reads at all, but somehow I love the True Blood TV series anyway and I had a great time with the first book of the series too. I also want to read the second Sherlock Holmes book The Sign Of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle.


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WWW Wednesdays #261 – March 25th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading Josie Quinn book number eight Find Her Alive by Lisa Regan… I have a weak spot for this series and I just couldn’t resist getting a copy of the newest on Netgalley. I’m also starting And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott in preparation for the blog tour of the sequel next month.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. I Am Dust by Louise Beech (5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 18/04
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour!

2. She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by J.D. Barker (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/03
She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be is as unique as its long title, and the right person will treasure this story as much as I did. I had a fantastic time reading every single chapter, and I never felt like the story was overlong or should have gone in a different direction. Big is in this case most definitely better! And this book has only reconfirmed to me J.D. Barker belongs on my list of favorite authors.

3. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW/REREAD
I definitely had a great time revisiting an old childhood favorite of mine. I loved Pippi when I was little and I must have read the book at least a dozen times back then… I remember loving the TV show too, and even dressing up as Pippi during carnaval once. She is a wonderful character most children will be able to connect to instantly!

4. Harry Potter Y Las Reliquias De La Muerte by J.K. Rowling (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW/REREAD
I finally completed my Spanish reread of the Harry Potter series! It had been too long since I last read the seventh Harry Potter book and I had forgotten about so many details… I always love revisiting this world and this has been no exception!

5. The Storied Life Of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (5/5 stars) REVIEW 04/04
I still can’t believe it took me this long to read this story! I love bookish books and this is without doubt a new favorite. The writing, the bookish elements, the characters, the plot, even the romance… I loved it all.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m picking up the next Hercule Poirot The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd as soon as I finish my current reads… I also need to read the upcoming ARC The Lost Orphan (also known as The Foundling) by Stacey Halls soon. And I don’t think I will be able to resist John Marrs’ newest title What Lies Between Us either even though I have other ARCs I should probably read first haha. I’m also hoping to read Manhunters by Steve Murphy and Javier F. Peña soon, as I have a weird interest in the war on drugs and I loved the Netflix series.


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WWW Wednesdays #260 – March 18th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by J.D. Barker, which is as long as the title and a most anticipated 2020 release as I loved his 4MK series. I will also start I Am Dust by Louise Beech tomorrow as a birthday present to myself… There is no need saying that the other reads will be on hold while I read this one. 😉 ❤ And of course I’m still reading the Spanish version of the seventh and final Harry Potter book: Harry Potter Y Las Reliquias De La Muerte… I’m currently about halfway into the book and I’m planning on finishing it within the next week or so depending on how long it takes to finish my other current titles.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 30/03
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour!

2. The Missing Sister by Elle Marr (3/5 stars) REVIEW 24/03
There was something about the blurb that intrigued me back when I first saw it on Netgalley, and I couldn’t resist getting a copy… It wasn’t necessarily a bad read and there were things I loved including the setting and premise of the story, but overall I was unable to fully connect to the story or characters and certain aspects of the plot and plot twists were just a bit too farfetched for me.

3. Love And Other Words by Christina Lauren (4/5 stars) REVIEW 04/04
I loved my first encounter with their work back in January, so I’ve been really excited to pick up Love And Other Words to see if their magic would make me enjoy contemporary romance once again. I’m not sure if it was because I was in need of a change of genre, but I had a brilliant time with this story! I literally flew through it and finished it in no time at all.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

It’s been a while since I last read an Agatha Christie title, so I’ll probably end up reading the next Hercule Poirot The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd soon. I also want to read my first Rachel Abbott book, And So It Begins, in preparation for the blog tour of the sequel next month… And I don’t think I will be able to resist John Marrs’ newest title What Lies Between Us much longer, so I’m going to read it as another birthday present to myself. 😉 My latest TBR jar pick is still The Way Back To You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott; it will be the first contemporary I will read when I’m in the mood for a change of genre.


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