Two people are kidnapped and left in a place where it is impossible to escape, they are left with a cell phone and a gun with one bullet, they receive a call, you choose who lives and who dies. The game, only one person will leave alive and it is up to them who decides who walks away. Detective Helen Grace is assigned to this case and she can't believe what the victims have told her. This killer is playing a twisted games and is all too happy to include Helen in it. As more people go missing Helen knows that she is on a deadline, as people can only last so long in dire situations before the need to survive overcomes the need to hope that someone will find them.
This book was good read and I really liked the overall premise of the book. It was great that Arlidge was not scared to have death in his book, there is quite a body count here and as more people go missing you know that not everyone is able to survive. I mean how long do you think you would last in a place where you are thirsty, cold, hungry, scared and there is a way out. Do you do the nice thing and sacrifice yourself or do you take someone else life into your own hands? It is a very interesting questions and overall concept of the book.
The mystery aspect is well thought out, but I will say that I do not think that a reader will be able to predict who the killer is in the end. You can get the idea about some connections but who the identity of the killer is I think would be an impossible feat to figure out. I think this is the one aspect that I did not enjoy about the book, a killer that I felt was pulled a little bit out of left field without a set up to it. However, I think the rest of the book is really well done, and I guess I cannot figure every book out, I just like the option to figure it out. I also found that the ending was over a little too quickly especially as there is this big build up to the reveal and then the book just ended. I was hoping for something a little bit more of a "showdown" between Helen and the killer.
Maybe I jumped to the wrong conclusion on some of the parts/chapters in the book but the revelation in the latter part made me feel like I really didn't know Helen at all at by the end of the book and some of her choices did not make as much sense as they could have. Helen is a very cold character, she shows very little emotion even when she is showing someone that she cares and most of her emotions are based around controlling people around her and well controlling her emotions as well. I'm not sure quite where the BDSM life style that Helen is part of and how this fits in her overall character (she is a submissive...kind of) but maybe this is explained further in the series.
I like that Arlidge was not afraid to have his main character suffer, both emotionally and physically, but to add some fuel to the intrigue about this book not everyone is going to make it by the end of the book. If you were a fan of the first (and I stress first) Saw movie then you will enjoy this book as well as it has similar undertones to it. Arlidge has piqued my interest with this first book in this series as I like books that make me question what would I do in this situation. I look forward to see where Arlidge takes Helen, this series and what new game he has in store for readers next.
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