Friday, June 01, 2018

The Dead Game by Susanne Leist

After graduation from college in New York, Linda Bennett is somewhat at loose ends. Her parents and brother had been killed in a car accident during her freshman year, and her future, without her family, stretched before her. Happening upon an advertisement for a bookstore for rent, Linda checks it out, signs a lease, and relocates to Oasis, Florida, the new proprietor of “Oasis by the Sea” bookstore and coffeehouse.

The quaint little town was picturesque and poised on the coast of northern Florida. But Oasis isn’t the idyllic respite Linda expected. Once there, with her bookstore open for business, she realizes the town harbors some shadowy secrets.

Lurking at the heart of the problem are the long-established residents of the town that live in the gated and oddly green-glassed mansions in the forest outside town, and only appearing at night. Frequently, townspeople and tourists go missing never to be heard from again. And then outside of town there is the mysterious and long abandoned mansion situated high on a cliff overlooking the ocean known as End House.

As shadowy figures flit through town at dusk, strange things begin to happen. Linda’s store and that of her friend, Shana, are vandalized looking as if a powerful wind had whipped through toppling bookcases and blowing things all around. And one day when Linda is out for a swim, she is grabbed underwater by a black-clad figure and almost drowns when she is rescued by the town’s most eligible bachelor, Todd Morrison.

Things really get dangerous when Linda and her friends, all newcomers to town, receive a mysterious, unsigned invitation to a party being held at End House, and they decide to attend.

The Dead Game is a horror story with elements of romance. The horror is fairly mild, scary, but not something that would keep a reader up all night afterwards. The romance is clean and sweet for the most part (no graphic scenes). Action is presented from the viewpoints of several characters. And there are questions left unanswered that would be a launching point for a sequel. This book would make a really fun movie. On the other hand, there are some confusing things that make reading a little tedious. There are a large number of characters involved that all have a part in the main story. The dialogue is repetitive in some instances BUT if this were a movie would probably make sense because additional characters would have to be updated on what was going on. And frankly, I wanted to smack almost every one of the characters at one point or another for dumb decisions, childish behavior, and stupid comments…you know, like in real life.

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