At first, Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan believes the murder mystery game sent to her office is a birthday gift from one of her colleagues. But when Frankie studies the game’s contents, she notices a striking resemblance between the ‘murder victim’ and missing twenty-two-year-old Lydia Callin.
As Frankie and her team investigate, a series of grisly crimes connected to the game are discovered across Dublin city and Lydia’s involvement with a shadowy network of murder mystery players becomes clear.
On the hunt for Lydia’s murderer, Frankie is drawn more deeply into the game. Every successful move brings her closer to the killer. But the real question is not what happens should she lose — but what happens if she wins.
This is the first novel by Olivia Kiernan and I do like to read a good detective novel. When I read some reviews about her latest novel I went looking and when I stumbled upon a copy of The Murder Box I didn’t think twice about it. I quite enjoyed reading the story and the Murder Box – a game offering a true crime experience – is actually something I’d be interested in playing myself. Well those were my initial thoughts but can you imagine finding out that the victim is actually a real person, no thanks I think I’ll pass after all!
I liked Frankie and was left wondering why her partner Baz kept on disappearing. It was not only driving Frankie crazy but me as well and I felt sorry for Frankie that she was being kept in the dark about his whereabouts for so long, even if it added a nice little touch of intrigue to the story. Another character I’d like to see more of in future novels was Detective Mullins who transferred from traffic and was one of the brightest ones in the team. All in all Frankie is well surrounded and even her boss Jack is not a bad egg.
There was only a limited cast of suspects who could have been responsible for the murder game but my mind was probably thinking why not complicate a situation if you can so I went looking for other possibilities and no surprise there, I found someone who fit ‘my bill’. Someone who wasn’t listed as a suspect and even though interviewed wasn’t a red flag for the Gardaí. I was completely off the mark with my suspect but I was right that the author did make it extra interesting and the added twist came as real surprise. I do love surprises if they present themselves like this.
Overall I enjoyed this book, I was invested in finding out who was behind it (even though the suspects weren’t particularly interesting or weren’t given enough time to be very fleshed out) and it had a grand finale that had me at the edge of my seat. I look forward to reading the next one of the four novels about Frankie Sheehan titled The Killer In Me (she’s certainly killing it with her book titles!).
I bought a second-hand paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.