FOUR FRIENDS. ONE MURDER. A GAME THEY CAN’T ESCAPE
‘It was only a game.’
Until a boy went missing.
‘No one was meant to get hurt.’
But a body has been found.
‘Just some innocent fun.’
Except one of them is a killer.
Ready or not, here I come.
It’s time to play hide and seek again.
Ben Draper was sent to boarding school by his father, Ben’s mother had died, the stepmother didn’t like Ben. He didn’t seem to fit in anywhere. Beacons field is his last chance after being thrown out of other schools. But one day Ben disappeared, now his body has been found where it’s been for 22 years.
This story is told in two timelines one in the current time and the other 22 years earlier and 3 months leading up to and including the day Ben died. The present chapters the point of view is that of the investigation being done by DI Robin Fleet and DS Nicola Collins. Fleet is now doing cold cases as a form of punishment from boss, regarding something to do on a past case. But Fleet isn’t bothered he actually likes to be feeling with the cold cases. His DS Nicky is happy to work the cases with him.
So who wanted Ben dead? Why? When another murder happens and the body is linked to the cold case things start to heat up a bit. Despite asking for extra staff to help Fleet is refused, so it’s just down to him and Nicky to catch the killer or killers. It seems Ben had no friends except for three unlikely people who stood up for him when he was being beaten. For the first time Ben has some people he can meet up with. Melissa, Lance and Callum. Callum is easy to track down as he has a bit of a celebrity and political standing.
The headmaster Philip Harris, is more worried about damage to the schools reputation as the investigation goes on than he is about catching the person who killed Ben. With Callum’s aspirations he doesn’t want to be linked with Ben too much as it could affect his life.
The author covers a number of themes within this story. I really felt for Ben as he was shipped off to the school, no one wanted to know him, the loneliness that caused, which can then lead to disruptive behaviour after all if you get no attention by sticking to the rules but you get attention when breaking them which would you choose? It only takes someone to be slightly different in some way for it to open a path to bullying. Then there’s the three who wanted Ben as a friend, did they really want him or was there more to it than that.
The characters each stand out in there own ways, they are well created, believable, some likeable some not so. I really like the two detectives and how that relationship works , learning about them in the work area as well as when off duty as Fleet see his ex wife Holly who he still loves. There are also some other good characters at the school, some may or may not have secrets. The elitism and atmosphere at the school, I actually found the school quite a creepy place, which obviously adds to the suspense of the whole thing.
This is one of this crime reads that will have you jumping back and forth as you try to guess who the killer is, who would benefit from killing again 22 years later?
This is a well paced, engaging, rollercoaster ride of a read. If that’s how you like your thriller reads then this is a book for you. You won’t be disappointed. Do you think you can guess who the killer is before they kill again?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Simon Lelic is the author of The Search Party, The Liars Room,House (a Radio 2 Book Club choice and Observer Thriller of the Month), Rupture (winner of a Betty Trask Award and shortlisted for the John Creasy New Blood Dagger, as well as the Galaxy Book Awards), The Facility and The Child Who (longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger and CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2012). The Haven (a BookTrust pick, winner of the Juniper Award, and shortlisted for the CrimeFest Awards), The Haven: Revolution and The Haven: Deadfall (shortlisted for the CrimeFest Awards) are his first books for young teenagers (11+). His newest novel, The Hiding Place, is available from May 2022.
Simon is married, with three children, and lives in Brighton, England. Other than his family, reading is Simon’s biggest passion. He also holds a black belt in karate, in which he trains daily.