Book Review: The Murder Game

The Murder Game by Carrie Doyle

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I am a big fan of murder mystery books. I love the suspense, thrill, and excitement that comes with it, and how these books always leave you guessing at the edge of your seat until the end. So imagine my excitement when I received The Murder Game by Carrie Doyle as a gift from a friend last Christmas. I was beyond myself, ready to indulge in another great book.

However, as much as I like murder mystery books, to me, this one didn’t necessarily start off on a great foot. Now, I have to admit part of that is due to the fact that the story needed to build up the background first, but I felt like the place where the author started was in a pretty odd spot.

So to explain, our main character Luke Chase, the famous survivor of a kidnapping, and his trouble marker but best friend, Oscar. They are both teenagers who live in a boarding school and one night they sneak out into the woods to meet up with two of their other classmates, Kelsey and Pippa. While in the woods, they hear sounds from nearby adults, and they think they’re caught, so they head back into the boarding school.

The next day, they discovered that one of their teachers, Mrs. Heckler had been murdered. This leads them to believe that the sounds that they heard last night in the woods might have been the sounds of Miss Heckler before she was murdered. Now, I understand that this might have not been an idea starting spot for the book but to me as a reader expecting more from the murder mystery book, I felt like it was pretty slow for the first three or four chapters, and I was really bored. Actually, I almost stopped reading the book.

It wasn’t until a few more chapters later that the book started picking up pace when Luke and Oscar decided to look more into the murder to try to see who murdered Mrs. Heckler. Eventually as the police start looking more to the case, Luke and Oscar become suspects, especially Oscar, who had been known to be a troublemaker. Once they find out that they had been in the woods the same night Mrs. Heckler had been murdered Oscar was framed for the murder. Oscar sent away, and Luke, along with his other classmate, Pippa are determined to prove him innocent, and find out who the real murderer is.

After relentless research, they find out that the murderer was one of their teachers all along, who had been pretending to help them in this case. The teacher even tries to kill Pippa as well while framing another person, but Luke comes to the rescue and prevent this from happening, thus shining light on the true murderer and saving the day, once again.

Throughout this book, I felt like the real action came during the part when they were kind of searching for the murder but when it came to the big finale, they didn’t deliver as much as I’d hoped for. Maybe it was the start or how they ended, but out of a scale of ten, I probably give this book a seven or an eight. I feel like the author could’ve done so much more in the story, like add more action possibly more depth or make the conclusion just a little bit more exciting. After all, we did have all this build up, and for it to come down to a small little scene to conclude the story, it was not impressive at all. So, if you’re a murder mystery loving reader, such as myself, I’d suggest possibly picking up this book if you just want a little fun reading but if you’re really looking for a good story, this might not be cup of tea.

-Review by Teen Volunteer, 2/23/24

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