Thursday 8 December 2016

Crime: The Game Changer by Louise Phillips

Hachette Books Ireland €12.65

Barbara Clinton

Published 23/05/2016 | 02:30

The Game Changer by Louise Phillips
The Game Changer by Louise Phillips

The Game Changer wants someone to pay for the past - and that someone is Dr Kate Pearson. Fans of Louise Phillips' criminal psychologist will be delighted to see Pearson's return, but the intensely personal nature of the malice that runs through the novel will keep familiar and new introductions alike on the edge of their seat throughout as Pearson is forced to make a deeply traumatic journey of her own to uncover the truth.

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Notwithstanding the fact that she is on a break from work, Pearson finds herself dragged deeper and deeper into the police investigation. A grisly killing in New York and a seeming suicide in Dublin appear to be linked.

As those links grow tentacles - from the present to the past, and to a number of other disturbing events - it becomes clear that Pearson herself is in great personal danger.

There are moments of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code here, particularly in young Stephen, who is more than a passing reminder of the sinister albino monk, Silas, in Brown's bestseller.

There is the disturbing revelation that vulnerable people putting themselves in the care of what they believe to be professional, if unorthodox, therapy are in fact being prepared as fodder for the Game Changer's show piece - a grim tragedy on a tiny island off the southwest coast of Ireland.

Among these pawns in the game is teen Aoife, Pearson's former client from private practice, and Addy her boyfriend, who is also Pearson's partner's son. The heartbroken Sarah is also being exploited in this deadly game as she struggles to come to terms with the death of her baby, Lily.

We want good to triumph over evil and Pearson to be free of a past she cannot remember. But is it too late to save herself and others?

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