The Dead Game: Susanne Leist

Afternoon readers, another review for you today! This one has been sat waiting to be written up for a number of weeks now, but I wasn’t quite sure how to put pen to paper. It happens sometimes, I just don’t know how to put into words how I felt about the book.  This doesn’t happen too often but I am sure other book bloggers will agree that it can take time to get out of the rut a book has created and move onto finally piecing together a review. It has happened before and it doesn’t reflect on the quality or enjoyment of the book it’s just that it needs a bit of extra thinking. However, here we are with a brand spanking new review! ENJOY! 

Linda moves to a small town to live a quiet life. She opens a bookstore and makes new friends. Life is simple–that is until the dead body washes up on shore. Linda is horrified to find that dead bodies and disappearing tourists are common for this town. As soon as the sun sets, the residents are stalked by dark shadows. But this is only the beginning. Linda and her friends receive an unsigned invitation to a party at the deserted house on the hill. They are pursued through revolving rooms and dangerous traps, barely escaping with their lives. Two of their own remain trapped in the house. Or so they think. They must embark on a difficult journey, chased by unnatural creatures, not knowing whom to trust, to uncover the one controlling everyone in town.  Who are The Dead? Are they humans or vampires? Or a combination of both? They are led down a path with many twists and turns. Will they be able to identify the true leader of The Dead? Will they be able to destroy him? More mysteries pop up as others are laid to rest. Will there be an end to this game? Or will a second book be needed? The Dead Game has begun.

This book follows the seemingly unassuming town that looks just perfect from the outside. However, under the surface, dark forces are coming to power and they threaten to turn the town on its head sending the people that live there into disarray. With tourists disappearing and bodies turning up all over the place it is only time before the whole town is overthrown. Mix in a haunted house and you have a fully fledged supernatural mystery that packs a punch of horror.

There were lots of things that I liked about this book; firstly the author is obviously incredibly creative and imaginative. The book had so many different ideas and parts woven into one another I’m surprised she managed to get it all in! The descriptions of the town are well written and the locations help to cement the story as believable. I liked the horror/mystery genre that the book took on as it advanced and I thought the way the vampires were introduced was very well done; for a long time it isn’t a prevalent feature and therefore it focuses more on the story. A few minor issues for me; I felt that there were too many characters that at times I couldn’t keep up. I really like characters to be well developed and built up so that the reader can really relate to them and get involved in the storyline. For me, because there were so many characters, the author didn’t get a chance to really develop the personalities, back stories or quirks and that left me feeling a little disappointed. Additionally keeping track of all them gave me a minor headache at times and that’s just the characters, we haven’t even started to mention all the creatures that are so frequently introduced.

I think the problem for me as a reader was that the plot-line as described in the blurb sounds brilliant; however it is just too much for one book. Rolling so much into one book made for difficult reading and although it comes from a very creative and inventive author by adding too many elements the plot gets muddled and instead of being sat on the edge of your chair, you’re still piecing together the events from the last chapter. Additionally for me the POV changed too much and by frequently switching between characters you end up wondering who you are. I am probably too much of a nag about this, but wading through characters really irritates me, as it’s so easy to just stick to a couple and really, (really) explore the potential of those characters. Todd and Linda are well written but their dialogue is often stilted and it creates an edge that you can’t quite ignore.

Right, so after all of that, I really liked the premise of this book; it had everything going for it to create a really engaging exciting and inventive horror/mystery/supernatural tale. For me, honestly, the book needs work. It’s still enjoyable and I would definitely read other books from this author because I see potential, and nothing excites me more than an author with the makings of a brilliant book. My advice, and take it as you wish, is to sit down and really plan out what you want the reader to feel. Don’t just tell a story, disclose the secrets of your characters and indulge in exposing their personalities. Flesh then out and focus the book around them rather than including them in your plot line.

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One thought on “The Dead Game: Susanne Leist

  1. Susanne Leist says:

    Hi, I just came across your review of my book. Thank you for the helpful points. I have begun to write the second book in the series. But this time, I will use fewer characters and delve deeper into their personalities. Susanne

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