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That’s the thing about old friends… they never let you forget. The first time Jemma and Matt were invited to Polskirrin – the imposing ocean-view home belonging to Matt’s childhood friend Lucas Jarrett – it was for an intimate wedding that ended in tragedy. Jemma will never forget the sight of the girl’s pale body floating listlessly towards the rocky shore. Now, exactly one That’s the thing about old friends… they never let you forget. The first time Jemma and Matt were invited to Polskirrin – the imposing ocean-view home belonging to Matt’s childhood friend Lucas Jarrett – it was for an intimate wedding that ended in tragedy. Jemma will never forget the sight of the girl’s pale body floating listlessly towards the rocky shore. Now, exactly one year later, Jemma and her husband have reluctantly returned at Lucas’s request to honor the anniversary of an event they would do anything to forget. But what Lucas has in store for his guests is nothing like a candlelight vigil. Someone who was there that night remembers more than they’ll admit to, and Lucas has devised a little game to make them tell the truth. Jemma believes she and Matt know nothing about what happened to that woman… but what if she’s wrong? Before you play a deadly game, make sure you can pay the price… From the four-million-copy bestselling author of Sleep Tight comes a psychological thriller that will have you gripped until the last page. Perfect for fans of Something in the Water, The Woman in the Window and The Silent Patient.


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That’s the thing about old friends… they never let you forget. The first time Jemma and Matt were invited to Polskirrin – the imposing ocean-view home belonging to Matt’s childhood friend Lucas Jarrett – it was for an intimate wedding that ended in tragedy. Jemma will never forget the sight of the girl’s pale body floating listlessly towards the rocky shore. Now, exactly one That’s the thing about old friends… they never let you forget. The first time Jemma and Matt were invited to Polskirrin – the imposing ocean-view home belonging to Matt’s childhood friend Lucas Jarrett – it was for an intimate wedding that ended in tragedy. Jemma will never forget the sight of the girl’s pale body floating listlessly towards the rocky shore. Now, exactly one year later, Jemma and her husband have reluctantly returned at Lucas’s request to honor the anniversary of an event they would do anything to forget. But what Lucas has in store for his guests is nothing like a candlelight vigil. Someone who was there that night remembers more than they’ll admit to, and Lucas has devised a little game to make them tell the truth. Jemma believes she and Matt know nothing about what happened to that woman… but what if she’s wrong? Before you play a deadly game, make sure you can pay the price… From the four-million-copy bestselling author of Sleep Tight comes a psychological thriller that will have you gripped until the last page. Perfect for fans of Something in the Water, The Woman in the Window and The Silent Patient.

30 review for The Murder Game

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3 - 4 stars. A group of old friends gather at Polskirrin, a gorgeous mansion in Cornwall for the wedding of wealth Lucas Jarrett to Nina Belanger. Matt, Andrew, Nick and his sister Isabel have been friends for years. The night before the wedding Lucas troubled younger sister Alex drowns in an apparent suicide. One year later Lucas summons them all back to Polskirrin where he forcefully insists on the group taking part in a game. they are given costumes and roles based on information he provided 3 - 4 stars. A group of old friends gather at Polskirrin, a gorgeous mansion in Cornwall for the wedding of wealth Lucas Jarrett to Nina Belanger. Matt, Andrew, Nick and his sister Isabel have been friends for years. The night before the wedding Lucas troubled younger sister Alex drowns in an apparent suicide. One year later Lucas summons them all back to Polskirrin where he forcefully insists on the group taking part in a game. they are given costumes and roles based on information he provided and they have to tell the truth. This is a more deadly version of the party murder mystery game that is played to entertain. What does Lucas wish to achieve? Will the friends go along with it? The story is told by Jemma who is Matt’s wife in the first person and from the perspectives of Nina, Alex and DS Stephanie King. The characters are well portrayed although not all likeable. I confess to imagining Lucas as Aidan Turner partly because it a lovely thought and partly because it’s Poldark country! I really like the exploration of group dynamics with Lucas at the centre with most of the cast dancing to his tune. Polskirrin is one of the stars of the book as far as I’m concerned! The beautiful house comes alive and I could picture the cove so typical of this county which I love and there are some very good descriptions that transport you to Cornwall. The premise feels rather ‘Christie-esque, there is pace, increasing tension between some characters and plenty of twists in the storyline. There’s intrigue to keep you interested in the plot with blackmail, abductions and there is a character that is raped but that is dealt with carefully and sensitively. My reservations about the book lie with lack of flow at times, there is some repetition and the end seems abrupt and lets down the what precedes. It is described as a Stephanie King novel and yes, she’s certainly in it but she’s peripheral to the events at Polskirrin in many ways. Overall, I like the premise, the setting some interesting characters but there are some reservations hence 3 -4 stars but I’ve rounded up as there’s more to like than dislike. Many thanks to NetGalley and Headline for the ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    This is the second book in the Stephanie King series and I have to say this is my favourite. Lucas and Nina are getting married in Cornwall so they invite Lucas’s childhood friends and their partners to their big day. Tragedy strikes and the wedding party is cancelled. A year later Lucas invites his friends back for their anniversary, but it’s not all champagne and cocktails as he wants them to play the Murder Game and he has their costumes and their roles all planned out (Like a murder mystery w This is the second book in the Stephanie King series and I have to say this is my favourite. Lucas and Nina are getting married in Cornwall so they invite Lucas’s childhood friends and their partners to their big day. Tragedy strikes and the wedding party is cancelled. A year later Lucas invites his friends back for their anniversary, but it’s not all champagne and cocktails as he wants them to play the Murder Game and he has their costumes and their roles all planned out (Like a murder mystery weekend but the murder may have been committed a year ago) Lucas wants the truth revealed and thinks the game will expose who killed his sister. Lucas plays with his guests like a cat with a mouse, manipulating them until he gets to the truth. This had me hooked!! I felt like I was one of the guests analysing the others to reveal all their secrets. I suspected everyone and loved the twists and the final reveal at the end, outside storm Denis was raging but I was so engrossed in this murder mystery book the roof could have blown off and I would have carried on reading, oblivious to everything!! A must read series. I can’t wait for book number 3. Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Misty

    I am, yet again, perplexed at the number of 5 star ratings awarded this book. Until the last thirty pages, I may have been able to understand a reader having an appreciation of Abbott’s craftsmanship; however, any redeeming qualities were lost to one of the most inane conclusions ever penned. I just don’t understand a prolific author like Abbott ever thinking that this in any way worked. I am so disgusted with the betrayal of reader trust that I am loathe to spend even one more minute bothering I am, yet again, perplexed at the number of 5 star ratings awarded this book. Until the last thirty pages, I may have been able to understand a reader having an appreciation of Abbott’s craftsmanship; however, any redeeming qualities were lost to one of the most inane conclusions ever penned. I just don’t understand a prolific author like Abbott ever thinking that this in any way worked. I am so disgusted with the betrayal of reader trust that I am loathe to spend even one more minute bothering to write a review. Listen, when someone invests hours reading a lengthy piece of work, the expectation is a payoff of at least a plausible finale. Unfortunately, Abbott falls so far short that I wonder if she simply tripped over the finish line and threw her hands up, yelling, “I give up!” Seriously. It’s the only explanation that makes any sort of sense. Read to enjoy the journey, but be aware that the destination is a profound disappointment.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    The Murder Game is the second instalment in the Detective Superintendant Stephanie King series and although it is preferable to have read the preceding book, And So It Begins, beforehand, it is not a necessity. Abbott writes stories that can be described as contemporary takes on the brilliant, Agatha Christie. A group of old school friends make their way to Polskirrin, a stunning mansion and estate in the heart of Cornwall, for the wedding of affluent Lucas Jarrett and Nina Belanger. Andrew, Mat The Murder Game is the second instalment in the Detective Superintendant Stephanie King series and although it is preferable to have read the preceding book, And So It Begins, beforehand, it is not a necessity. Abbott writes stories that can be described as contemporary takes on the brilliant, Agatha Christie. A group of old school friends make their way to Polskirrin, a stunning mansion and estate in the heart of Cornwall, for the wedding of affluent Lucas Jarrett and Nina Belanger. Andrew, Matt, Nick and his twin sister Isobel are all in attendance having been friends with Lucas and Nina for many years. But when Lucas’s sister, Alex, dies in an apparent suicide the couple decides to cancel their big day and despite time passing Lucas can't shake his gut instinct that his beloved sister was savagely murdered and cooks up a wily plan to prove as such. Fast forward a year and in order to try and ascertain who the perpetrator was and tired of waiting to see if they would slip up Lucas invites the very same wedding party back to the house set amongst lush gardens to play the eponymous murder game. Ms Abbott rarely lets readers down and this super thriller is her most accomplished and sophisticated to date. It flows well and begins in an explosive fashion gripping you from then right through to the conclusion. It's a stark reminder that despite a stunningly luxurious location psychopaths can only keep their brutal intentions hidden for so long and although the cast of characters is distinctly unlikeable and spiky I didn't feel this impacted my enjoyment at all; in fact, the air of mystery surrounding most of them only serves to intensify the amount you are chewing at your nails with the palpable tension. This is a page-turner in every sense of the word; it’s compulsively clever, devilishly dark and expertly plotted. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Wildfire for an ARC.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bex (Beckie Bookworm)

    This really was an intriguing one and I was glued almost instantly. A group of old friends and their partners gather for pre-wedding celebrations down in Cornwall. But a tragic accident on the morning of the wedding leaves them all shocked and the upcoming celebrations not surprisingly cancelled. Now a year later on the exact same date, they have all been invited back by there host Lucas to play a game. One that will expose long-buried secrets and rivalries within the group. Nobody knows who to trust This really was an intriguing one and I was glued almost instantly. A group of old friends and their partners gather for pre-wedding celebrations down in Cornwall. But a tragic accident on the morning of the wedding leaves them all shocked and the upcoming celebrations not surprisingly cancelled. Now a year later on the exact same date, they have all been invited back by there host Lucas to play a game. One that will expose long-buried secrets and rivalries within the group. Nobody knows who to trust and everyone's a suspect. Full of twists and turns and suspenseful intrigue this was a page-turner of a read that was impossible to put down and I managed to consume this in one complete sitting. I did kind of guess a few things regarding the conclusion here but that didn't take away from my overall enjoyment. A fantastic read that I highly recommend. I voluntary reviewed a copy of The Murder Game (Stephanie King #2). Reviewed By Beckie Bookworm https://www.facebook.com/beckiebookworm/ www.beckiebookworm.com

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shalini

    RACHEL ABBOTT IS BLOODY BRILLIANT!! There, I said it!! She deserved all the accolades for this book. My heart flew high while reading this book away from the world stress. And I thank her. Her twists were more suspenseful than I could believe, where every plot line had me holding my breath. Eagerness gripped my innards as the very talented author forced her charcters to play The Murder Game. 9 were invited for celebrations of a wedding. 8 were left. The remaining 8 were invited one year later to RACHEL ABBOTT IS BLOODY BRILLIANT!! There, I said it!! She deserved all the accolades for this book. My heart flew high while reading this book away from the world stress. And I thank her. Her twists were more suspenseful than I could believe, where every plot line had me holding my breath. Eagerness gripped my innards as the very talented author forced her charcters to play The Murder Game. 9 were invited for celebrations of a wedding. 8 were left. The remaining 8 were invited one year later to reveal secrets and happenings of the wedding day. Each had something to hide, but one was pure evil with murder hidden in the crevices of the heart. WHAT. A. PLOT. A locked room kind of a mystery was given a personalized turn when the main character used his threats to make the others adhere to his rules. The story gained its speed when each character remained in the shadows of their obstinacy, giving me glimpses of their doubtful actions, yet hiding it cleverly behind innocent words. The characters were all the so-called friends, but never had I seen such a pit of friendly vipers. The author knew how to keep my pulse racing when she made them play hide-and-seek with me. The atmosphere was immersive where I loved donning my Detective hat to look at all of them with suspicion. Final twist made me wide-eyed with shock, Rachel could make my heart overwork with thrill. What a romping ride it was!! This murder mystery was one of a kind, and I SIMPLY LOVED IT. A BRILLIANT READ!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    'We are going to enjoy a good old dinner-party game ... we're playing the murder game.' Jemma and Matt were invited to Matt’s childhood friend Lucas Jarrett home for an wedding that ends tragic. A girl's body is floating toward the shoreline of the house on the eve of the wedding. Now, one year later, they are asked to come back for the anniversary party of what happened. Lucas has come up with a game to make one of the people invited this time to tell the truth of what happened during that event 'We are going to enjoy a good old dinner-party game ... we're playing the murder game.' Jemma and Matt were invited to Matt’s childhood friend Lucas Jarrett home for an wedding that ends tragic. A girl's body is floating toward the shoreline of the house on the eve of the wedding. Now, one year later, they are asked to come back for the anniversary party of what happened. Lucas has come up with a game to make one of the people invited this time to tell the truth of what happened during that event. Everyone has a role to play. Jemma thinks she and her husband don't know anything about what happened to the woman that died during that wedding. But is she wrong? Does her husband know something? What happened to Alex? Secrets will soon be revealed and a game to be remembered. With an Agatha Christie sort of vibe going on it was hard to figure it all out until the final chapters. The book was a atmospheric chilling setting in an ocean-view home. Part 1 of the book was a bit of labor to get through. Part 2, which takes place one year later, picks up and draws you in more to the mystery. Finding out more of what happens to all the party goers at the end would have been nice to know. It left me with questions that I felt were necessary to be more satisfying. Overall, Rachel Abbott delivers a suspenseful romp and a twist that shocks in the end. Special thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for an ARC.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    Stephanie King #2 Lucas had invited all of his friends to his wedding. Everything was going smoothly until the night before the nuptials took place. Thenstory then picks upma year later when they are all invited back to Polskirrin, Cornwall. Lucas's troubled young sister had tragically died just hours before the wedding was due to begin. The wedding hadn't taken place. The invitation said to celebrate the anniversary. But what was there to celebrate? Lucas insisted that they take part I a murder Stephanie King #2 Lucas had invited all of his friends to his wedding. Everything was going smoothly until the night before the nuptials took place. Thenstory then picks upma year later when they are all invited back to Polskirrin, Cornwall. Lucas's troubled young sister had tragically died just hours before the wedding was due to begin. The wedding hadn't taken place. The invitation said to celebrate the anniversary. But what was there to celebrate? Lucas insisted that they take part I a murder mystery game. But will the friends go along with it? The story is told from multiple points of view. All the characters seem to have a secret. There is quite a lot of characters to try and remember. The story flips back and forward between this and the previous year. This is a well written who-did-it mystery with plenty of good twists. The first part of the book is slow but the second part certainly made up for it. A story that revolves around grief, jealousy, secrets and lies. I would like to thank NetGalley, Headline and the author Rachel Abbott for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    Stephanie king #2 Lucas had invited all of his friends to his wedding. Everything was going smoothly until the night before the nuptialstook place. 5henstorynthen picks up,a year later when they are all invited back to Polskirrin, Cornwall. Lucas's troubled young sister had tragically died just hours before the wedding to begin. The wedding hadn't taken place. The invitation said to celebrate the anniversary. But what was there to celebrate? Lucas insists that they take part in a murder mystery g Stephanie king #2 Lucas had invited all of his friends to his wedding. Everything was going smoothly until the night before the nuptialstook place. 5henstorynthen picks up,a year later when they are all invited back to Polskirrin, Cornwall. Lucas's troubled young sister had tragically died just hours before the wedding to begin. The wedding hadn't taken place. The invitation said to celebrate the anniversary. But what was there to celebrate? Lucas insists that they take part in a murder mystery game. But will the friends go along with it? The story is told from multiple points of view. All the characters seem to have a secret. There is quite a lot of characters to try and remember. Thenstory flips back and forward between this and the previous year. This is a well written who-did-it mystery with plenty of good twists. The first part of the book is slow ut the second part certainly makes up for it. A story that revolves around grief, jealousy, secrets and lies. I would like to thank NetGalley, Headline and the author Rachel Abbott for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Linda Strong

    Matt and Jemma are invited to an old friend of Matt's ..and his soon to be wife. Two other close friends are also invited as well as their partners. Lucas will be marrying Nina. But something happened that night ... something horrifying... and none of them will ever forget what happened. A year later... to the day ... they are all once again invited to Lucas' home .. for a candle vigil they think. But Lucas has something entirely in mind for all of them ..... and he's devised the Murder Game. All t Matt and Jemma are invited to an old friend of Matt's ..and his soon to be wife. Two other close friends are also invited as well as their partners. Lucas will be marrying Nina. But something happened that night ... something horrifying... and none of them will ever forget what happened. A year later... to the day ... they are all once again invited to Lucas' home .. for a candle vigil they think. But Lucas has something entirely in mind for all of them ..... and he's devised the Murder Game. All the characters have secrets ... some big, some small .., and they all have lied about something and are trying to keep those secrets to themselves. But who knows what happened that night a year ago ... and is it connected to another tragedy some 14 years ago? This is well written, deftly drawn characters, warts and all. The plot is tightly woven with an unexpected conclusion. Many thanks to the author / Bookouture / Netgalley for the digital copy of this psychological thriller. Read and reviewed voluntarily, opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katie (never.ending.reading.list)

    The Invitation is a super fun premise! A group of old friends gather at a beautiful estate on the eve of one of their weddings. The time is spent introducing the reader, and the friends' spouses, to the odd dynamic of this group. The wedding however doesn't happen, due to an awful suicide the night before. One year later, they're all invited back for a game. The Murder Game. Turns out someone thinks the suicide was actually murder and is desperate to find out who did it. Is the premise a bit ridi The Invitation is a super fun premise! A group of old friends gather at a beautiful estate on the eve of one of their weddings. The time is spent introducing the reader, and the friends' spouses, to the odd dynamic of this group. The wedding however doesn't happen, due to an awful suicide the night before. One year later, they're all invited back for a game. The Murder Game. Turns out someone thinks the suicide was actually murder and is desperate to find out who did it. Is the premise a bit ridiculous? Sure. Is it crazy fun though and reminds you of Clue? Yes! I really enjoyed reading this one. It was a fun who done it and I enjoyed the uniqueness of the story. However, the ending was sooo disappointing. I feel like half the questions were still really unanswered and it just didn't have that closure you craved all book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    A year earlier on the day of Lucas and Nina’s wedding his sister Alex was found drowned. Alex’s death was ruled as suicide and the wedding was cancelled but Lucas was sure that one of the guests had murdered his sister .Now one year later Lucas has all his friends gather at his Polskirrin stately home his house once more. He has devised a weekend where they play The Murder Game in the hope of finally finding the killer. The Invitation by Rachel Abbott is the second book in the Stephanie King seri A year earlier on the day of Lucas and Nina’s wedding his sister Alex was found drowned. Alex’s death was ruled as suicide and the wedding was cancelled but Lucas was sure that one of the guests had murdered his sister .Now one year later Lucas has all his friends gather at his Polskirrin stately home his house once more. He has devised a weekend where they play The Murder Game in the hope of finally finding the killer. The Invitation by Rachel Abbott is the second book in the Stephanie King series. It’s a well written , gripping fast paced psychological thriller with lots of secrets and unexpected twists and turns that makes it a highly entertaining read . Cannot wait for the next book in the series ! I would like to thank Bookouture & NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest and fair review. This and more reviews at https://chloesbooksblog.wordpress.com/

  13. 5 out of 5

    Fictionophile

    For my complete review of this novel visit: https://fictionophile.com/2020/07/10/... This is my first Rachel Abbott book and what a delightful introduction to her work!  Although it is the second novel to feature Cornish policewoman Stephanie King, it read just perfectly as a stand-alone. Though some might consider it to be a police procedural, the police actually took the back seat in this story. They were present, but the group of friends were under the spotlight more than the police investigat For my complete review of this novel visit: https://fictionophile.com/2020/07/10/... This is my first Rachel Abbott book and what a delightful introduction to her work!  Although it is the second novel to feature Cornish policewoman Stephanie King, it read just perfectly as a stand-alone. Though some might consider it to be a police procedural, the police actually took the back seat in this story. They were present, but the group of friends were under the spotlight more than the police investigation. The premise was very clever and the characters intriguing. The 'friend' dynamic seems to cover up lots of enigmagtic secrets, power-plays, and precarious loyalties.  The writing kept me riveted throughout. I'll admit I did guess one major plot twist about halfway through the novel, but that in no way marred my reading enjoyment. In addition to the overriding theme of friendship, the novel also touches on blackmail, murder and abduction. Would I read another Rachel Abbott book? Hell YES! I cannot imagine what took me so long to discover this great crime novelist!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Hans

    A very thorough murder mystery which kept me on the edge of my seat from the start. Even while I guessed halfway through what Lucas did on that particular morning. I found it rather obvious.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty ❤️

    This was a really intriguing story. A tragic event happens and it looks like suicide. One year later everyone is back at the scene of the crime at the behest of Lucas who is determined to out one of them as a murderer. You think then that it's going to be either a little bit Agatha Christie, with someone going through the events leading up to a crime or one of those horror tales where the left behind family member wreaks revenge. But no, nice and uniquely just as Lucas gets going on his game pla This was a really intriguing story. A tragic event happens and it looks like suicide. One year later everyone is back at the scene of the crime at the behest of Lucas who is determined to out one of them as a murderer. You think then that it's going to be either a little bit Agatha Christie, with someone going through the events leading up to a crime or one of those horror tales where the left behind family member wreaks revenge. But no, nice and uniquely just as Lucas gets going on his game plan to out a killer the police turn up and spoil his plans. I really enjoyed that twist. I've not read the first Stephanie King book and didn't realise this was book 2 in a series so I read this as a stand alone and it worked really well.  Between Lucas' demands for truth and Kings search for a missing person and well also some truths secrets are revealed left, right and centre and as the majority of the book takes place over a day or so the action never lets up. It's quite a roller coaster.  Told in multiple point of view which I always enjoy, I really enjoyed it and will be going back to check out the first in the series asap.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pauline

    Friends gather at Polskirrin stately home for Lucas’s wedding to Nina. Unfortunately his sister is drowned that evening and the wedding is cancelled. One year later Lucas has all his friends gather at his house once more. He is sure that one of the guests has murdered his sister and he has devised a weekend where they play The Murder Game in the hope of finding the killer. Most of the guests have known each other for years and have past grievances, secrets and have something to hide. There were plent Friends gather at Polskirrin stately home for Lucas’s wedding to Nina. Unfortunately his sister is drowned that evening and the wedding is cancelled. One year later Lucas has all his friends gather at his house once more. He is sure that one of the guests has murdered his sister and he has devised a weekend where they play The Murder Game in the hope of finding the killer. Most of the guests have known each other for years and have past grievances, secrets and have something to hide. There were plenty of clues to digest and I had figured out how this was going to end. I enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting. Thank you to NetGalley and Headline for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

    ARE YOU OK? I’M FINE..... I lost count after the over 14 times the author had these fascinating words uttered by her characters. When I see this silly question inserted in any book more than once I know it’s going to be a low level type plot. Usually, the characters are all the same and their conversation concerns what the other ones have done, might have done, might do and no other topics of interest ever occurs beyond that. For me, this book is aimed at average readers in junior highschool. The ARE YOU OK? I’M FINE..... I lost count after the over 14 times the author had these fascinating words uttered by her characters. When I see this silly question inserted in any book more than once I know it’s going to be a low level type plot. Usually, the characters are all the same and their conversation concerns what the other ones have done, might have done, might do and no other topics of interest ever occurs beyond that. For me, this book is aimed at average readers in junior highschool. The vocabulary level is kept no higher than sixth grade and the psychological suspense advertised was non existent. This is because there was nothing suspenseful going on. There is barely a plot. How many times did a character accidentally overhear a desperate or guilty conversation while taking a walk? This device occurred a half dozen times. After a while, the reader knows that when a walker is barefoot they are going to innocently hear something private. By the time I got to the end I barely knew who did what because I began to daydream. I did hear the silly epilogue. No shocking twist because it was so ridiculous and too many pieces remained missing. So, to answer the question of , “Are you OK? that the author asked more than 14 times, I will say that after I finished laughing each time she wrote it, I will answer, ...I’m Fine! At least I got a few chuckles to brighten my day.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Donna Weber

    This was more of a fun, kinda creepy whodunit, rather than the riveting psychological thriller it's described as. With many characters to keep track of, I did enjoy reading it, but had to go back several times to get some of the characters straight. I didn't realise it was part of a detective series and yet Jemma, the character that stood out to me the most, wasn't the detective. It definitely had me turning the pages but one plot device stood out... There were so many instances of different cha This was more of a fun, kinda creepy whodunit, rather than the riveting psychological thriller it's described as. With many characters to keep track of, I did enjoy reading it, but had to go back several times to get some of the characters straight. I didn't realise it was part of a detective series and yet Jemma, the character that stood out to me the most, wasn't the detective. It definitely had me turning the pages but one plot device stood out... There were so many instances of different characters accidently hearing hushed, desperate private conversations... it got to be a bit much as a plot device Overall, The Invitation was interesting, but could have used tighter editing and wished the ending tied up more of the loose ends.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joann

    Gripping? NO! Boy, am I disappointed in this book. I read the first in the series and gave it a 5 star, but this one I'll have to think about the star value. I listened to this with audible and to be honest, I am confused by the ending. There were too many people to follow to begin with and then with the female name of Alex, I had to keep reminding myself it was a female and not a male. It just made for more confusion. I guess I'm mad at myself or maybe the ratings that made me give up several h Gripping? NO! Boy, am I disappointed in this book. I read the first in the series and gave it a 5 star, but this one I'll have to think about the star value. I listened to this with audible and to be honest, I am confused by the ending. There were too many people to follow to begin with and then with the female name of Alex, I had to keep reminding myself it was a female and not a male. It just made for more confusion. I guess I'm mad at myself or maybe the ratings that made me give up several hours per night when at the end, I felt such a let-down. I think that sometimes authors try to be too clever and end up with so so books. I will admit that there was a lot of twists and turns at the end, but it just never seemed like it flowed together, especially with the "Godfather" angle. I was expecting a awesome read and got a so so read. I'll give it a 3 star. Didn't love it nor did I hate it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    This is the second book in the Stephanie King series. I did not read the first book but I didn't feel like I missed out on anything. I enjoyed this suspenseful, murder mystery. It's an entertaining read with well-developed characters. With lots of secrets and twists, it will keep you guessing until the end. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture and Rachel Abbott for a copy of "The Invitation" in exchange of an honest review. This is the second book in the Stephanie King series. I did not read the first book but I didn't feel like I missed out on anything. I enjoyed this suspenseful, murder mystery. It's an entertaining read with well-developed characters. With lots of secrets and twists, it will keep you guessing until the end. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture and Rachel Abbott for a copy of "The Invitation" in exchange of an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    This first book I read from this author, whom I had never hear about. The synopsis seemed intriguing to me, ao I decided to give it a go. I didn’t even know this was the second instalment of what I believe to be a series. It’s a well-enough captivating story, however I found the end, with the revelations, a bit hard to believe. And some bits were quite predictable as well. That’s why it’s three and a half stars, rounded up to four, instead of a solid four stars. I’m not sure I will read the previou This first book I read from this author, whom I had never hear about. The synopsis seemed intriguing to me, ao I decided to give it a go. I didn’t even know this was the second instalment of what I believe to be a series. It’s a well-enough captivating story, however I found the end, with the revelations, a bit hard to believe. And some bits were quite predictable as well. That’s why it’s three and a half stars, rounded up to four, instead of a solid four stars. I’m not sure I will read the previous book of the series, but I know Rachel Abbott has written other books. Perhaps I’ll give those a try.

  22. 4 out of 5

    ✨Susan✨

    This was a really good mystery. Fast moving, lots of twists and turns. Very Agatha Christie’esqu.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    One year ago, a bunch of childhood friends gathered in Cornwall for a wedding. But tragedy strikes and the wedding never happens. Now, the same guests have been invited to return. But to what purpose? Surely there isn’t anything to celebrate! Yet, their host, Lucas, has a plan and it all will be revealed while playing a murder mystery game. Ah, party games. They’re not really for me. Just shove me in a corner somewhere with a drink (or two) in my hand and I’m good to go. That said, I used to thin One year ago, a bunch of childhood friends gathered in Cornwall for a wedding. But tragedy strikes and the wedding never happens. Now, the same guests have been invited to return. But to what purpose? Surely there isn’t anything to celebrate! Yet, their host, Lucas, has a plan and it all will be revealed while playing a murder mystery game. Ah, party games. They’re not really for me. Just shove me in a corner somewhere with a drink (or two) in my hand and I’m good to go. That said, I used to think a murder game sounded like an absolutely fantastic way to spend an evening with friends. Costumes, a part to play, clues to find and a mystery to solve …. fun times, right? Hm, maybe not so much. It’s not entirely clear at first what Lucas’s objective is with his particular murder game but it sure is obvious that he forgot to bring the “fun” bit. The Murder Game is the second instalment in the Stephanie King series and while I enjoyed the previous one, I have to say this one is even better! To begin with, the location is sheer perfection. A big mansion near the ocean in Cornwall with extensive grounds to wander around, luxurious rooms to relax in, yummy food and wine … where do I sign up for this? This idyllic place stands in extreme contrast to the awkward and, quite frankly, dysfunctional friendships the reader encounters. Not to mention the tragedy that prevented the wedding from going ahead. These friends couldn’t be any more different from each other if they tried. Most of them aren’t even particularly likeable, nor should they be because that just adds to the mystery aspect. Can any of them be trusted? There are secrets and lies that need to be uncovered but whose? And once everything is out in the open, how will the various relationships be affected? You may not quite warm to these characters but they are most definitely extremely intriguing! The Murder Game is cleverly split up into two parts. Part one deals with the events that happened a year ago, while part two deals with the present. The story is mostly told through the eyes of Jemma. She is married to Matt, one of the childhood friends. Like the reader, Jemma is an outsider. She doesn’t know these people well at all and is the only one who’s not afraid to take a stand against the bullying tactics of Lucas. It is through her that we must try and fit the pieces together. The clues are there, you just need to find them! Ultimately they lead to quite a devastating and shocking revelation I don’t want to give too much away. I will say this : like many of you I’ve been struggling with my reading these last few weeks but I absolutely FLEW through The Murder Game! It is incredibly well-paced, full of suspense and intrigue, completely and utterly immersive and addictive. It provided me with that much needed escape from reality and distraction that had been lacking lately. I’m a huge fan of Rachel Abbott’s books. Her books never fail to be immensely gripping from start to finish and they always read more like super tense psychological thrillers than actual police procedurals. Stephanie King obviously does make an appearance but she is not the be all and end all in these stories. To me, she feels more like a “tool” (lack of a better word) to move the story along, to kick things up a notch and expertly guide us to a most satisfying conclusion. Cleverly plotted and perfectly executed, The Murder Game is an absolute treat and I have no doubt fans of Rachel Abbott will love it!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Lucas Jarrett has a privileged background and is filthy rich. He invites his four closest friends to celebrate his forthcoming wedding to Nina at his gorgeous property Polskirrin on the Cornish coast however due to a tragedy, the wedding celebrations never take place. Exactly a year later, the same friends and their partners, as before, are invited back to Polskirrin; this time to celebrate an anniversary. What on earth is Lucas playing at. Because of their long history and the influence Lucas h Lucas Jarrett has a privileged background and is filthy rich. He invites his four closest friends to celebrate his forthcoming wedding to Nina at his gorgeous property Polskirrin on the Cornish coast however due to a tragedy, the wedding celebrations never take place. Exactly a year later, the same friends and their partners, as before, are invited back to Polskirrin; this time to celebrate an anniversary. What on earth is Lucas playing at. Because of their long history and the influence Lucas has over their lives, none of the friends feel they can refuse his invitation. However Lucas has a plan. He has a macabre game in mind which everyone has to play. A beautiful house. A stunning location by the ocean. The perfect setting for Lucas’s twisted game. The tragic event of 12 months before has affected him deeply, he wants answers and he won’t listen to anyone. This is the second outing for Detective Stephanie King, last seen in And So It Begins. Her personal life has moved on since then however this can easily be read as a standalone if you haven’t read the first book. She isn’t really the focus of this book at first, her appearance at Polskirrin with DI Gus Brodie is almost incidental to the story but she picks up on the strange vibes when she interrupts a dinner party at the house and her interest is piqued. Much of the story is told from the perspective of Jemma Hudson, wife of Matt, one of Lucas’s friends. Jemma has no history with Lucas and unlike the others is not in thrall to him. Her marriage to Matt has never been the same since they were at Lucas’ house a year before and she wants to understand why. She was one of the few characters prepared to stand up to Lucas and I liked her for that but I also felt sympathy for the way she was being treated by Matt. The Murder Room is an addictive and suspenseful read and with just a single location it has that closed in vibe that I enjoyed so much with Agatha Christie stories. As the story progresses and backstories revealed and secrets hinted at, I felt that there was something off about most of the characters and I had no idea who could really be trusted. It seems that everyone has their secrets and certain people are determined that they should never be revealed. This was one of those books that you know from the very start that you will enjoy and I and raced through the book in no time, resentful of every moment I had to put it down. If (like me) you’re a fan of Rachel’s Tom Douglas series, then do add this series to your reading pile. This new character of Stephanie King may be a new addition to the books by Rachel Abbott but it is shaping up very nicely to be another series to follow.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    I was a big fan of the first book in the series And So It Begins so I had huge expectations for the newest release. I must admit I had a great time reading the story. A group of friends meets to celebrate a wedding of one of them but the gathering is brutally stopped by the horrible tragedy. Twelve months later the same people are invited back to the newlywed’s luxurious house but this time the host has a different plan in mind. The Murder Game was definitely on the lighter side. There was no gr I was a big fan of the first book in the series And So It Begins so I had huge expectations for the newest release. I must admit I had a great time reading the story. A group of friends meets to celebrate a wedding of one of them but the gathering is brutally stopped by the horrible tragedy. Twelve months later the same people are invited back to the newlywed’s luxurious house but this time the host has a different plan in mind. The Murder Game was definitely on the lighter side. There was no gruesome crimes and manic killer chasing their victims. The novel was a unique and interesting take on the locked room murder mystery which I really enjoyed. The choice of characters was brilliant - each of them had dark secrets and motives to kill, I wasn’t sure who to trust and kept guessing which one of them was a killer. Although I guessed the main twist of the book early on I still had a lot of fun reading the story and the ending was very satisfying to me. I wished we could see more of Stephanie as I feel like her part was pushed back to the side a little bit. Overall the book was fantastic: full of secrets, clues and variety of characters. It was a totally gripping story that kept me entertained till the last page. Highly recommend.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emma Crichton

    I think it says it all when I read this book in less than 24 hours - I just couldn’t put it down! There were twists and turns all the way through which kept me excited right until the end. Definitely would recommend!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Really enjoyed this book. Narrator was very easy to listen to and the plot kept me guessing.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    Gathering with old friends for a wedding should be a joyous occasion. Yet, when Jemma Hudson attends a weekend wedding bash for her husband Matt’s oldest pal Lucas Jarrett, it becomes anything but a happy event when the body of Lucas’ little sister is found floating near the rocky seashore. Although Jemma barely knew the girl, the death changes everything. A year later, Jemma’s happy marriage is in tatters, although she can’t understand why. At Lucas’ request, she, Matt, and their friends return Gathering with old friends for a wedding should be a joyous occasion. Yet, when Jemma Hudson attends a weekend wedding bash for her husband Matt’s oldest pal Lucas Jarrett, it becomes anything but a happy event when the body of Lucas’ little sister is found floating near the rocky seashore. Although Jemma barely knew the girl, the death changes everything. A year later, Jemma’s happy marriage is in tatters, although she can’t understand why. At Lucas’ request, she, Matt, and their friends return to the scene of the tragedy in order to mark the anniversary. But what Lucas has in mind isn’t a somber remembrance. Although his sister’s death was ruled a suicide, he’s convinced that one of his guests may be a killer. He devises a disturbing ‘murder game’ to reveal everyone’s secrets and uncover what really happened. Only new detective Stephanie King can put all the pieces together to figure out the truth, and it’s more shocking than you’d ever believe. Addicting, pulse-pounding, and shocking, “The Invitation” by Rachel Abbott is a book you can’t put down. It takes off running from the very first page and doesn’t let up until the last. With light yet vivid descriptions that bring the scenes to life and characters so well developed that you feel like you know them, it’s a psych thriller brimming with enough mystery to keep you enthralled and guessing. Red herrings swim in schools. The secrets the characters harbor give the story multiple layers– and create some shocking twists. Although “The Invitation” is the second book in author Rachel Abbott’s Stephanie King Series, you don’t need to read the first book to understand it. Although Stephanie King is a fairly prominent, likeable character, she’s more of a propulsive element in the story than an integral part of the tale. The rest of the book is so well-written, engrossing, and briskly paced, Stephanie could have as easily been used as a mere plot device to solve the case — instead of a developed character. My favorite type of psych thriller is one that contains vivid characters, red herrings galore, and a fairly fast pace. “The Invitation” checks all those boxes. It’s not as mind bending as other books in the genre, but — as addicting as it is — it’s as good of a read as any, if not better.

  29. 4 out of 5

    SkyeW

    I really enjoyed this book, good premise setting everything up a year earlier and coming back to it to find the truth a year later. First book I’ve read for a while where I actively wanted to get back to reading it, rather than when I had time. I worked out a couple of the twists, including who it was, but there were more that I hadn’t anticipated. Enough to keep you guessing all the way through.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    The Invitation by author Rachel Abbott is captivating! Once I started reading I did not want to stop and the 'murder mystery' aspect of the story fully engages the reader to look for clues and answers. Matt and Jemma received a formal invitation to revisit Matt's childhood friend Lucas at his beautiful estate, Polskirrin. Gemma does not want to go back because of the events which happened while they visited exactly one year ago. Lucas and his fiancee' Nina had planned an elaborate wedding but th The Invitation by author Rachel Abbott is captivating! Once I started reading I did not want to stop and the 'murder mystery' aspect of the story fully engages the reader to look for clues and answers. Matt and Jemma received a formal invitation to revisit Matt's childhood friend Lucas at his beautiful estate, Polskirrin. Gemma does not want to go back because of the events which happened while they visited exactly one year ago. Lucas and his fiancee' Nina had planned an elaborate wedding but the apparent suicide of Lucas' troubled sister, Alex canceled all the celebrations. The shocked friends went home with somber spirits and regrets of events that had happened in Alex's past which must have contributed to her depression and death. Gemma is pondering the changes in her relationship with Matt since the ill-fated visit last year. Matt has been working long hours and has seemed to be emotionally distancing himself. Gemma dreads this visit and what it may mean for her future with Matt. There is a very colorful cast of characters, and it seems each one has secrets and different motives for the continued friendship with Lucas. Once everyone has gathered Lucas tells them they are there for a purpose. He has a special game with parts for each person to play according to the script. Spoiler Alert* I really enjoyed the story and although I guessed one important part of the mystery, I wondered how they would successfully weave the characters and events. It was brilliant! My only negative is the brutal treatment of Gemma just to keep her silent. The force and pain which was inflicted upon her seemed extreme. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review The Invitation!

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