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Game: A Thriller (Game Trilogy) Paperback – December 3, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The first volume of a Swedish crime-fiction trilogy, this novel is marred by some very uneven writing. The story, about a slacker who gets caught up in a mysterious game that involves taking on increasingly more ambitious assignments in exchange for money and gaming status, is appropriately suspenseful (we wonder, though, why the author keeps shifting perspective and telling us about a woman who’s recently become a bodyguard for the Swedish police, and what role she will play in the story). But the prose is wildly uneven, shifting from atmospheric to amateurish and back again, often within the space of a few paragraphs. It’s difficult to tell whether this is an artifact of the original Swedish version, or something introduced by the translator, although there is evidence of a too-literal translation, for example the use of the phrase “answering phone” (when “answerphone,” a European term for answering machine, might have been more coloquial), and a reference to the protagonist’s “third sex partner within two hours or so,” which is pretty clearly not what de la Motte meant. Uneven, to be sure, but not fatally so: the energy of the story should carry readers through to the exciting conclusion. --David Pitt


“Exciting first in a thriller trilogy…relentless pacing leads to a stunning finale.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A taut thriller that will leave the reader excited for the next book in the series.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“GAME is one of those novels that has layers within layers. Just when you think you've got it all figured out, a new twist emerges… the first book in what promises to be an exhilarating new trilogy.” (Fresh Fiction)

“A high voltage, high tech thriller of a trilogy…fast paced and full of surprises…a suspenseful and intelligent read.” (The Novel Pursuit)

“What I loved about The Game is the energythat came with reading it. It was action-packed and featured moments that mademe gasp, giggle, and shake my head. It was an enjoyable read that I could losemyself in and I wanted to continue reading.” (Marianne de Pierres’ Escape Club)

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Product Details

  • Series: Game Trilogy
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books; Reprint edition (December 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476712883
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476712888
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,248,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Stout TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wasn't sure how I was going to like GAME - the first book in a trilogy by Swedish author De La Motte. For one thing, it is translated from the original Swedish into English. And SO much depends on the skill of the translator. I think Neil Smith, the translator, did an excellent job. The prose flowed well and seamlessly.

GAME is an unusual book with a unique storyline. The main protagonist is Henrik "HP" Pettersson. He is a young man who is incredibly hard to like. He is lazy, morally bankrupt and has a huge sense of self-entitlement. But there are rare moments when some sense of decency shines through.

The story is based on him finding an expensive cell phone on the train as he heads home after a drunken night out. He thinks of selling the phone but then his interest is piqued by text messages, calling him by name, and wanting him to participate in The Game. The Game tests his character, giving him progressively darker tasks. And he flourishes with the attention he receives (and the money doesn't hurt either). The question is 'just how far will he go?'

The secondary protagonist in the story is Rebecca Normén, who we find out has a connection to HP. She is a bodyguard in the Swedish Security Police. She is much easier to like than HP.

The book alternates points-of-view between these two characters and at times it gets choppy and confusing as to who we are actually reading about. Not only do they alternate chapters but sometimes, without warning, the point-of-view changes multiple times within a chapter. It definitely kept me on my toes.

I enjoyed the idea of The Game. It did get far fetched at times but this is fiction so why not. The book lagged a bit in the middle but the pace at the beginning and ending more than made up for it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hungry Monster on January 17, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
‘The game’, as it’s called in the book, gives egocentric narcissists with impulse control issues something to do with their free time. It’s a game with real world consequences and real world rewards. HP is a recent inductee into the game and quickly finds himself the center of attention for his criminal exploits done in the name of the game. But one rule of the game, like Fight Club, is you don’t talk about the game. When HP breaks the rule he becomes the target of other players that are trying to come up through the ranks. To stay alive HP has to separate fact from game fiction. He starts seeing the tentacles of the game all around him. The game is everywhere, the game is everyone; you are either a player or a pawn.

There are two main characters in the book; HP and his sister Rebecca. HP is the stand out character in the novel, someone you love to hate for his selfish and arrogant ways, but his love for his sister grounds him and spotlights his humanity. Most of the entertainment in the book surrounds HP and his work for or against the game. Rebecca’s character seems to serve the purpose of telling the families tragic back story, and in these instances the novel seems to suffer from slow uninteresting story telling. Even the moments where Rebecca is not lamenting her past she’s stuck describing her ordinary encounters at work or at home. Her story is interesting only in those rare moments where her story intersects with HP’s. The only reason why I gave this a rating of 3 out of 5 is because Rebecca’s story takes up about half the book. On the other hand there’s HP: smart, witty, resourceful and generally a jerk. His story is really the backbone of the novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on January 4, 2014
Format: Paperback
The concept of using a game to manipulate human behavior isn't new, but Game creates a more carefully-conceived purpose for the game than is common in thrillers that make use of that theme. Mix that with another well-used theme (global conspiracy) and you have a novel that entertains if you're prepared to abandon all reason and enjoy the action. By that measure, Game works reasonably well.

Henrik Pettersson (known to his few friends as HP) is over thirty but still a kid. When finds a cellphone that asks him if he wants to play a game, he agrees. There's money in it and even a modest measure of fame. Besides, HP is a sociopath who enjoys causing mayhem and that's what the game is about. As the reader would expect, the tasks he is assigned to perform escalate from pranks to serious crime and HP soon finds that treating life as a game has consequences, particularly when you're only a pawn.

The novel's other primary character, Rebecca Normén, is glad that her ex is dead, but she isn't happy that her little brother was convicted of causing the death for which she holds herself accountable. Ironically, Rebecca joined the Police Academy shortly after her ex died. Now she's with the Sweden's Security Police, assigned to guard political officials. Her life quickly and repeatedly intersects with the game that HP is playing.

HP compares his situation to the plots of a couple of conspiracy movies as well as Mission Impossible. He also recalls the famous airplane scene in North by Northwest when an airplane chases him. I think those references are Anders de la Motte's way of reminding us not to take the story too seriously. It's meant to be a fun diversion and on that level, it succeeds.
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