Friday, April 18, 2014

Many a tear has to fall but it's all in the game

Henrik "HP" Pettersson is an immature person who acts on impulse.

When he's on the train, he finds a mobile phone. When he picks it up, there is a message to him, challenging him to join a game. He figures this is a gimmick from his friend but agrees to play. The Game Master gives him tasks to do which progress in difficulty.

HP has to wear a camera and is excited by the thrill of other people following his actions and likes the idea that he can win money in the game.

He's a good candidate for the game since he doesn't have a job and has no one to be responsible to. As he performs the actions, it's as if he can't determine what is right and wrong or what is breaking the law.

The game is controlled by the Game Master who is a "big brother" figure and a key rule of the game is that he's forbidden to talk about it.

HP's sister, Rebecca "Becca" is his opposite. She's a security officer with the Swedish Security Police. She's quiet but motivated and efficient. However, she's weighed down by the fact that she owes HP a debt since he took the blame when a man Becca was dating became abusive. When the man was fighting with HP, in a struggle, the man fell off a balcony to his death.

The plot wasn't realistic. HP's inability to say no to the challenges reminded me of The Manchurian Candidate. When HP injured his sister in one of his tasks, it injured Becca and the man she was with. The reader would assume this would be sufficient to have him stop the game but that wasn't the case.

The plot was confusing at times. Some of the time I couldn't determine who was talking or who was being addressed. A number of the characters have nicknames and many weren't introduced with background information.

HP was not likable but I did sympathize with Becca and wished for her success and that she wouldn't be harmed by her brother's actions. I also found the writing to be uneven.

I give the story three stars for the uniqueness of the plot.  This is the first book of a trilogy but I do not feel interested in following the story in the other books.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Kelly said...

It's a shame you didn't really like this since the initial premise sounds fairly exciting. I don't mind an unrealistic plot in a "cozy" mystery, but probably not in something like this.

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