‘FBI Special Agent Rose Blake has faced evil and survived….’
Playing with Death is a novel written by Simon Scarrow and Lee Francis. Published by Headline in July 2017, it is the first in a new series featuring Rose Blake, an FBI agent who has been left haunted by the memory of failed mission that she feels completely responsible for.
Receiving high praise ~ ‘If Stephen King had collaborated with Michael Crichton on a thriller, it might have been as good as this’ Peterborough Evening Telegraph, I was intrigued..
Please read on for my as ever voluntary and unbiased review…
FBI Special Agent Rose Blake has faced evil and survived.
Haunted by a failed undercover mission, Rose can’t shake the memory of her close encounter with a ruthless serial killer – one who could strike again without warning.
Then comes the call to investigate a suspected arson attack that’s left a man dead. Rose fears the worst: that a cold-blooded killer has carried out the perfect murder. A killer with a terrifying imagination and the intelligence to stay one step ahead at every stage. She knows only one thing about him: that he will kill again.
Rules will have to be broken. And the clock is ticking….
The premise of Playing With Death is completely different from anything I have read before. It is a thriller. It is a novel that features a very creepy serial killer. It features an FBI agent who is struggling with her confidence. Yet it is also a thriller for the techies out there, with quite a fascinating look at society and how we deal with the power of the online world.
Rose Blake is an FBI agent with a past that she cannot shake off. After an unsuccessful mission to capture a very frightening and psychopathic serial killer, Rose is left with internalizing the ‘what if’ scenario. Struggling to deal with the guilt, Rose has been seeing a therapist. Her job in the FBI requires all agents to be on the top of their game at all times and Rose is all too aware that she will soon find herself confined to a desk job, unless she can prove otherwise to the powers that be.
Her marriage to Jeff has it’s own difficulties with Rose feeling somewhat distanced from him. Jeff is now the Social Media Manager for a high-ranking politician, resulting in his frequent absence from their home. An occupational hazard of this new job also requires increased amount of time following social media feeds 24/7 with no real down-time. Their son Robbie is also impacted by his home life and withdraws more and more into himself. His grades start slipping and he spends increased time with his gaming, allowing him to escape to another place in cyber space.
A family meal is interrupted when Rose receives a call from her boss, with an urgent request that Rose attend a scene where a body has been discovered, having suffered the most horrendous death. Rose is immediately on the case..
Rose arrives on the scene and is faced with a most unusual scenario. There is a dead body but there is no trace of entry, no sign of any break-in yet the condition of the body is horrific. With little clue as to why, how or who, Rose has to consider the possibility of a sadistic murderer on the loose. Is it possible that Shane Koenig is back? Or is this the work of another depraved individual. This time Rose intends to make no mistakes.
Rose embarks on a the most unexpected journey that will truly take her to the most extraordinary places. Faced with a whole new set of parameters, Rose has to look outside of what she least expects and has to face down a killer who is extremely difficult to catch.
Simon Scarrow and Lee Francis have introduced a concept that may be just a little too far ‘out there’ for some readers. There is an element of suspending your reality while reading this book as you let yourself slip into the world of on-line gaming. For me I thoroughly enjoyed doing just that. Now I love technology, but gaming was and will never be my scene. I’m afraid Pac-Man was the full extent of my participation in this world (I’m giving away my age here I think 🙂 ) I have embraced technology in other ways and admit I am ‘one of those’ who always has my mobile in my hand!! Yet, I have an underlying fear of where it will eventually take us as a society as I become more aware on a daily basis of our complete dependence on it.
Playing With Death takes the reader down a very frightening road highlighting how our reliance on technology could be detrimental to society as a whole.
Playing With Death is described as ‘a contemporary thriller’ but I would also suggest that it is an unconventional thriller with a very unusual, dare I say, sting to it’s tail.
Rose Black ‘has faced evil and survived’ but can she do it again?
Well…you will have to read it yourself to find out!
Purchase Link ~ Playing With Death
Simon Scarrow is a regular on the Sunday Times best selling list with his historical novels. all his novels have been acclaimed by reviewers and readers alike. Prior to writing fiction, Simon worked as a teacher and lecturer; he is now a full-time writer.
Twitter ~ @SimonScarrow
Lee Francis worked for several years in the world of film, TV and advertising as a script reader and assistant director. Playing with Death, written with his former lecturer Simon Scarrow, is his first novel.
Twitter ~ @leefranc1s