Monday, August 14, 2017

Book Review: The Game You Played

The Game You Played is the debut novel of author Anni Taylor. Phoebe Baskos, a young wife, mother, and former actress, turns her attention away from her two-year-old son for just a moment at an inner-city playground. When she looks back, Tommy is gone. After an exhaustive search, the authorities presume he was kidnapped.

Then, six months later, Phoebe and her husband Luke begin receiving rhymed messages about Tommy and suspect they are from the kidnapper. Set in Sydney, Australia, near the author’s home, this psychological thriller takes readers on a roller-coaster ride as Phoebe searches for the truth behind her son’s disappearance.  Who took Tommy? And why?

This gripping novel has complex characters and spine-tingling suspense. Told from two viewpoints, Phoebe’s and Luke’s, the story kept me on the edge of my seat as one person, then another, was a possible suspect in the crime.

Taylor gets deep into Phoebe’s and Luke’s psyches and motivation. While the issues of mental illness and substance abuse play important roles, the plot was not predictable and kept me guessing.

The book should have been given one more edit to catch nitpicker grammar and missing punctuation errors, however. The problem is not one of British English versus American English. I lived in England for three years and am familiar with the differences between the two forms of the language. Perhaps it’s my editor’s eye. These errors concern missing punctuation and words and use of lower-case letters that should be capitals and vice-versa.

I hasten to add that these problems don’t detract from what is otherwise a very powerful page-turner. I look forward to reading—and reviewing—Taylor’s second novel, The Six.