Customer Reviews: Dying to Play (Colby Agency)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars44
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on March 1, 2005
I hope this book will not be missed by Webb fans.

Because most of Webb's books that I've read are in Harlequin's Intrigue line and limited to 75,000 words, a longer novel in which she has more time to develop characters and plot is a treat.

The characters in this novel are Elaine Jentzen and Trace Callahan. Elaine is a highly successful police detective on the rise, and Trace is a burned-out FBI desk jockey hanging by a thread. They are brought together by the Gamekeeper, the serial killer who precipitated Trace's fall from "super agent" stardom.

One thing that's nice about Webb's work is that her heroines kick butt without seeming like men in skirts, and even her weaker male characters are all man and generally in possession of some inner masculine strength. Elaine bears up beautifully under stressful personal/family situations that keep intruding while her bosses up to the mayor clamor for progress in the investigation. Trace deals with the suspicions of the local cops and his overall lack of credibility. He knows the Gamekeeper is back, but the Gamekeeper is supposed to be dead.

I found the romantic plot to be somewhat downplayed, especially in the beginning. This makes the novel seem, at times, more like mainstream suspense than romance. But that's not a bad thing in this case. Totally worth reading and highly recommended.
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on November 16, 2015
Elaine Jentzen is an Atlanta homicide detective. She has been called to the scene of a crime where a man shoots people at a bank then turns the gun on himself. There is no motive, the killer is a successful man who had everything going for him. This is the second case with similar circumstances in Atlanta. When the FBI turns up and is Elaine is partnered with Trace Callahan she is not happy. His reputation precedes him. Two years ago his partner was killed while chasing a killer called the Gamekeeper. Trace blames himself and as a result has burned out and been assigned desk duty since. Trace is convinced the two recent cases in Atlanta are connected to the case that got his partner killed and this is his chance to catch him. Is it an obsession or is he right? There is no evidence to support him but as the case professes and more people die Elaine begins to think Trace might be right. She also is strongly attracted to Trace and the killer knows this and will use it to his benefit. The killer has targeted Trace and Elaine and those near them. Can they anticipate the killers next step before more people die? I was kept guessing all the way through the book and didn't see the ending coming! Another great suspense by Debra Webb.
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on November 16, 2015
What happens when people who seem to have everything going for them suddenly turn to murder and suicide? How do your prove that these seemly random acts are tied together when your gut is screaming at you that they are but there is no forensics that can prove it? And how do you trust a broken FBI Agent seemly obsessed with a serial killer when everyone is telling you you can't but your heart is telling you that you should? These are the questions plaguing Atlanta's Deputy Chief of Detectives Elaine Jentzen when a series of homicide/suicides start popping up around her town and she is forced to work with FBI agent Trace Callahan to find the answers. Trace believes that a high profile serial killer, the Gamekeeper, is behind it all but the evidence is pointing to him and Elaine is almost convinced until she realizes that Trace will be the next to die!
Debra Webb did it again in this fast paced romantic suspense that will keep you glued to your seat and flipping the pages to find out the truth!
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I once heard it said that there are only a limited number of plot lines available to write a romance story-that every romance book out there is a variation of one of these set "themes." I've read a lot of books that resemble each other in some ways, whether it be the type of characters in the story, the description of the villain, or the way the hero and heroine end up together. I'm happy to say, though, that it seems as if Ms. Webb never read the statement about all romances being alike-and if she did, she simply ignored it and wrote her own story. For that, we can all be happy, indeed!

I admit, DYING TO PLAY isn't the first romantic suspense story I've read by Debra Webb, and it invariably won't be the last. The reason is simple-this author has the ability to take two lead characters, throw in a non-typical baddy, mix it up with strong suspenseful situations, and have good overcome evil in a way that's usually not what you expected. This book is no different.

In Atlanta, Elaine Jentzen is in a precarious position. The youngest Deputy Chief of Detectives of the Homicide Division in the Atlanta Police Department's history, Elaine has no time for romantic entanglements, an active social life, or even dreams about having children of her own someday. A routine physical exam changes all of that, and at the worse possible time. While Deputy Chief Jentzen is finding out that she may never have children, a man walks into a bank, shoots the bank's President point-blank, and then turns the gun on himself.

What Elaine and her fellow officers don't understand is that the shooting at the bank is only a prelude of bad things to come. There's a game going on, one that Elaine is being pulled into unaware, that will put her face-to-face with the strongest, and most evil, of competitors. When Detective Jentzen is thrust into working with Trace Callahan, a burned-out FBI Agent fighting demons of his own past, Elaine is sure that things have just gone from bad to worse.

Little does she realize that Agent Callahan is the reason behind this evil computer game-Trace almost caught the elusive Gamekeeper once, and his partner died as a cause of his attempted heroic collar. Now the Gamekeeper is back, escalating his violence, drawing Trace farther and farther into his deadly web, and bringing Elaine along for the ride.

As the story progresses, you'll be on the edge of your seat, wondering yourself who could be behind this deadly game that Elaine and Trace have been caught up in. If you're like me, for once you won't be able to guess who the bad guy is, and that alone is worth reading this book.

DYING TO PLAY starts off with a bang and never lets the reader take a really big breath. Although the romantic relationship between Elaine and Trace waits until almost two-thirds of the book to develop, I can honestly say that I preferred it this way-in this story, at least, the elusive Gamekeeper and his demented game of hide and kill is the real story. The dialogue between the two main characters, the back-stabbing of Elaine's jealous fellow officers, the pain that still haunts Trace over the death of his partner, all work together to make DYING TO PLAY one of the best romantic suspense stories I've read this year.
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on November 17, 2015
The characters in this book are Elaine Jentzen and Trace Callahan. Elaine Jentzen is the youngest Deputy Chief of Detectives of the Homicide Division in the Atlanta Police Department's history. She has work very hard to get where she is and there isn’t any time for romance. In fact, she doesn’t have a life outside of her job.

Trace Callahan, is a FBI agent, who almost caught the elusive Gamekeeper once. Because of Trace, action his partner was killed and so he is dealing with the pain that haunts him every day.

Dying to Play is a suspense with romance, that has bought two people together by the Gamekeeper who has a plan for them. There are so many twist and turn, that keep you guessing until the very last page. If you enjoy suspense with romance and throw in some evil person than you can’t miss this one.
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on April 30, 2013
It's been a few months since I read this book and I read an average of 2 books a month, so I don't remember everything about this book but I do remember one thing it was EXCELLENT. Every book I have read by Debra Webb I have totally enjoyed. Debra please write some books for me to read............ Excellent, exciting, suspense, love it..........
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on November 16, 2015
I received a review copy of Dying to Play and this is an honest review of the book.

The first thing that absolutely thrilled me about Dying to Play is that the action was set in Atlanta, which is the closest big city to where I live. It is delightful to see such familiar places mentioned in the book.

I love the characters in this book. Elaine Jentzen is a younger, female Chief of Detectives. She carries a lot of responsibility for a woman her age, and a history of competing for recognition of her talents within her male dominated family. Her partner, an older experienced detective knows how to play politics. He was a great foil for Elaine's obvious skill, and I was glad that even though he stepped aside to allow her to work a multiple homicide with the FBI's Trace Callahan, her partner kept an eye on Elaine.

Trace Callahan is everything I like in a hero - he's had great tragedy in his past and is working toward redemption. He's intelligent, knowledgeable, skillful, even though he appears to be a burnout at the beginning of the book. Why has the FBI sent him to Atlanta? Why do they keep tabs on his work there? Lots of questions arise, revealing a very complex man in Trace.

The characters are brought together because there's a string of multiple homicides. Normal people are killing others in bazaar circumstances for no apparent reason. How are they being leveraged into these crimes? Enter the Gamekeeper. Through most of the action, we don't know who the Gamekeeper is, only that Trace has worked on catching him in the past and knows that the Gamekeeper loves to trigger murder.

Who are Elaine's and Trace's allies? How is the Gamekeeper hiding him or herself? You won't know the answers to these questions until the very end of the book. Filled with unexpected twists and turns, Dying to Play is a great read. Debra Webb hits it out of the park yet again. I highly recommend this book.
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on November 16, 2015
Dying to Play is a reissue from Debra Webb so it is a book that is new for those of us that missed it the first time around and for those who have already enjoyed it before a chance to get it with a beautiful new cover.
The Gamekeeper, who is the the bad guy in this book, is a timeless character who would fit as perfectly as a killer today as he did when this book was first published so I loved how this book did not feel like it was dated at all like some books that are brought back are. I also loved the matchup of Elaine and Jared. They both balanced each other out very well by complimenting each other's weaknesses and strengths. I also liked how as a reader you could feel the attraction between them.
I thought the mystery of who the Gamekeeper was and who the bad people were was well written in this book. It kept the reader guessing because you are not really sure who to trust besides Elaine.
I am giving Dying to Play five out of five stars.
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on November 19, 2015
I have yet to read a Debra Webb novel and be unsatisfied. This detective/FBI homicide plot kept me going the whole time. A little romance thrown in just added to the story. How quickly Ms. Webb manages to develop complex characters and layers of plot and not be stale really amazes me. Just the right amount of suspense and actually credible characters allows me to stay involved without turning on all the lights or rolling my eyes in disbelief. So satisfying.
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on November 16, 2015
One of Ms. Webb's best. This book is about a serial killer who uses the internet to play games and find potential victims. He is so good at what he does that no one can track him down. He keeps getting closer and closer to the detective who is tracking him and the man helping her. As they get closer and closer, the gamekeeper keeps getting closer and closer to them. Non-stop, action-packed, can't put the book down 'til it's finished book!
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