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Deadly Games

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I know everything about you. I know your name, your birthday, your kids’ names, where you live, where you work. I know when you get that big promotion, or when you argue with your spouse. But someone knows everything about me too. Someone knows all my secrets and they’re using them against me. They’re setting me up. The police think I murdered Emily Parker. To prove my innoce I know everything about you. I know your name, your birthday, your kids’ names, where you live, where you work. I know when you get that big promotion, or when you argue with your spouse. But someone knows everything about me too. Someone knows all my secrets and they’re using them against me. They’re setting me up. The police think I murdered Emily Parker. To prove my innocence I need to find the real killer. I need to beat him at his own game. A gripping and twisted thriller for fans of Adrian McKinty’s The Chain and Mark Edwards’ Here to Stay.


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I know everything about you. I know your name, your birthday, your kids’ names, where you live, where you work. I know when you get that big promotion, or when you argue with your spouse. But someone knows everything about me too. Someone knows all my secrets and they’re using them against me. They’re setting me up. The police think I murdered Emily Parker. To prove my innoce I know everything about you. I know your name, your birthday, your kids’ names, where you live, where you work. I know when you get that big promotion, or when you argue with your spouse. But someone knows everything about me too. Someone knows all my secrets and they’re using them against me. They’re setting me up. The police think I murdered Emily Parker. To prove my innocence I need to find the real killer. I need to beat him at his own game. A gripping and twisted thriller for fans of Adrian McKinty’s The Chain and Mark Edwards’ Here to Stay.

30 review for Deadly Games

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Wasn't really what I was expecting. It had a good plot idea, Clay is a bartender that is framed for a murder and his troubles keep getting worse from there. He is racing against time to find out who the killer is before more people die and as time goes on, he is becoming the prime suspect. It was a bit less than ok for me. It started out good and the ending was fast paced but the middle really lost me, there wasn't a lot going on and it was slow going. I didn't really click with any of the chara Wasn't really what I was expecting. It had a good plot idea, Clay is a bartender that is framed for a murder and his troubles keep getting worse from there. He is racing against time to find out who the killer is before more people die and as time goes on, he is becoming the prime suspect. It was a bit less than ok for me. It started out good and the ending was fast paced but the middle really lost me, there wasn't a lot going on and it was slow going. I didn't really click with any of the characters, and the conversations seemed stilted. The scenes with the killer reminded me of the movie Scream and I felt like this was more 90s slasher film when I thought it was going to be more psychological. I finished because I wanted to know who the killer was but didn't really think the reveal was that exciting. Sadly it really had potential but I just didn't find it suspenseful and there were parts that didn't make sense. Disappointing experience with this deadly game🩸 *This book publishes Dec 4th and I thank NetGalley and HQ for an Advanced Reader Copy*

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    Another well-plotted, Hitchcockian, witty noir mystery by Steve Frech! This one focuses on a bartender, Clay, who is having an ill-fated affair that ends in murder. Now, when I say Hitchcockian, let me tell you, Frech does it right. It’s all happening in Northern California, and there’s a seedy off-the-beaten-path motel, a character named Loomis, and of course, a total Psycho. The story focuses on our two amateur sleuths — Clay and an unexpected ally. The pair are trying to track down the psycho Another well-plotted, Hitchcockian, witty noir mystery by Steve Frech! This one focuses on a bartender, Clay, who is having an ill-fated affair that ends in murder. Now, when I say Hitchcockian, let me tell you, Frech does it right. It’s all happening in Northern California, and there’s a seedy off-the-beaten-path motel, a character named Loomis, and of course, a total Psycho. The story focuses on our two amateur sleuths — Clay and an unexpected ally. The pair are trying to track down the psycho, who is playing games with Clay. The psycho has of course framed Clay with his lover’s murder, so the crime must be solved - with proof! - while Clay is constantly on the run. As always, I enjoyed Frech’s chatty tone, well-drawn characters, and fast-paced plot. As a Hitchcock buff, I was definitely the intended audience, and this page turner was lots of fun and kept me invested on every page. This is my third book by Frech and my second favorite of his after Nightingale House. I’ll keep reading Frech’s books as long as he keeps writing them, which I hope is a very long time. Thanks to NetGalley, Steve Frech, and HQ for this fun and twisted romp, which is a “Psycho” for the digital era!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Luvtoread

    Clay is a good-looking bartender who loves his job and enjoys all the perks that goes with it (great money, women's phone numbers, flexible hours). One night after work Clay is meeting Emily Parker (a phone number) for a midnight rendezvous but he also has feelings for Emily and cares about her. When he arrives at the motel he finds the door locked and Emily always leaves the room unlocked for him to come right inside. He knocks and knocks and calls her phone but no answer so he figures she chan Clay is a good-looking bartender who loves his job and enjoys all the perks that goes with it (great money, women's phone numbers, flexible hours). One night after work Clay is meeting Emily Parker (a phone number) for a midnight rendezvous but he also has feelings for Emily and cares about her. When he arrives at the motel he finds the door locked and Emily always leaves the room unlocked for him to come right inside. He knocks and knocks and calls her phone but no answer so he figures she changed her mind. Later, he finds out that Emily has been brutally murdered and the police want to ask him some questions but in the meantime he has also received a text from Emily's phone that has said "No Police" because he (the killer) knows everything about Clay and all his secrets and will tell the police everything unless Clay is willing to play "The Game". This was an enjoyable and fast read with some clever moments of suspense. Clay was a laid-back, savvy and fun character who was caught up in dangerous and fighting for his life situations and also running from the police at the same time. I enjoyed the fast pace of the story as well as the writing style. I'm looking forward to more of Steve Frech's books and recommend " Deadly Games" to any crime/mystery readers who enjoys a light touch to some serious subjects. I want to thank the publisher "HQ, HQ Digital" and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book and any thoughts and opinions given are unbiased and mine alone! I have given this story a rating of 3 1/2 Sinister 🌟🌟🌟🌠Stars!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Casually told via main character in an almost ‘pally’ way ( at times he uses phrases like ‘ look, what would you do?’ as he ‘converses with you’ ) this is a really different read Clay, a bartender at a bar you feel you need to visit has ‘things going’ with some of the female drinkers, one especially, he goes to meet her after his shift in a seedy motel they often meet at and walks in, to find her dead....he of course is then in the frame and in a kinda ‘wanna play a game’ ( SAW ) way is then in a Casually told via main character in an almost ‘pally’ way ( at times he uses phrases like ‘ look, what would you do?’ as he ‘converses with you’ ) this is a really different read Clay, a bartender at a bar you feel you need to visit has ‘things going’ with some of the female drinkers, one especially, he goes to meet her after his shift in a seedy motel they often meet at and walks in, to find her dead....he of course is then in the frame and in a kinda ‘wanna play a game’ ( SAW ) way is then in a cat and mouse game to find who has done this, why and also to clear his name It’s in ‘real time’ and is full of fast action chapters and its good BUT it isen’t ‘ one of the most twisted psychological thrillers of 2020’ as is billed, its much more suited to thriller/suspense and action/drama, in fact probably everything but pyschological 😎 An easy to get involved with story, moves at top speed and has a good tense ending with Clay being likeable even if a bit too cocky! But yeah, very enjoyable 8/10 4 Stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook

    No plan survives first contact with the enemy. I have read two other novels by Steve Frech. I found both Nightingale House and Dark Hollows to be very atmospheric and creepy and I love the covers of all three books. Deadly Games continues in Mr. Frech's usual vein of an absorbing, suspenseful writing. This particular story reminded me of The Fugitive and many times I caught myself holding my breath in anticipation. This was a creepy, atmospheric thriller with a psychopath playing deadly games. No plan survives first contact with the enemy. I have read two other novels by Steve Frech. I found both Nightingale House and Dark Hollows to be very atmospheric and creepy and I love the covers of all three books. Deadly Games continues in Mr. Frech's usual vein of an absorbing, suspenseful writing. This particular story reminded me of The Fugitive and many times I caught myself holding my breath in anticipation. This was a creepy, atmospheric thriller with a psychopath playing deadly games. It dragged in a couple of spots but most of the story was downright chilling. I especially liked the ending twist. I highly recommend if you like psychological thrillers. Disclousure: Thank you NetGalley, Steve Frech and HQ Digital for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review; all opinions are my own. #DeadlyGames #NetGalley

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rach

    Clay is a bartender, he loves the job and knows all about his regulars. One of those regulars is Emily Parker, who is married to a business man. Clay and Emily are having a affair. One night Clay turns up to meet Emily but she doesn't want to see him. The next day Clay is questioned by the police as Emily has been murdered. The killer starts to play a cat and mouse game with Clay and Clay must fight to prove he is innocent and find the killer. I found at times Clay as a character was hard to lik Clay is a bartender, he loves the job and knows all about his regulars. One of those regulars is Emily Parker, who is married to a business man. Clay and Emily are having a affair. One night Clay turns up to meet Emily but she doesn't want to see him. The next day Clay is questioned by the police as Emily has been murdered. The killer starts to play a cat and mouse game with Clay and Clay must fight to prove he is innocent and find the killer. I found at times Clay as a character was hard to like and I have to suspend believe at what Clay did at times in the book. I prefered Genevive as a character, the reporter who ended helping Clay. I thought there would be more twists and turns between the killer and Clay but it just fell a bit flat for me that part of the story. Also who the killer was didn't make sense at all and felt like that had been just chosen at random to be the killer. Overall this book just wasn't for me but some readers will enjoy. I received a ARC from Netgalley and HQ Digital for an objection review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Menezes

    Clay is a good bartender. When one of his regulars, Emily Parker, is found murdered, he becomes the main suspect in the eyes of the police. That’s because someone knows all his secrets and they’re using them against Clay. They’re setting him up. In order to prove his innocence and survive, Clay needs to beat the killer at his own game No doubt this was a quick read because I really wanted to know who was the real killer and how he was always one step ahead of Clay. But I didn’t enjoy the plot much Clay is a good bartender. When one of his regulars, Emily Parker, is found murdered, he becomes the main suspect in the eyes of the police. That’s because someone knows all his secrets and they’re using them against Clay. They’re setting him up. In order to prove his innocence and survive, Clay needs to beat the killer at his own game No doubt this was a quick read because I really wanted to know who was the real killer and how he was always one step ahead of Clay. But I didn’t enjoy the plot much and some parts in the middle of the book felt kind of off. The ending was definitely a twist but not exciting. I just couldn’t make sense of it. Overall, an okay read. Thank You NetGalley and HQ Digital for this ARC!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary Standeven

    This was a riveting read – and very difficult to put down. It grabbed your attention from the first page, and then kept up a fast, frantic pace throughout. Much of the time was spent yelling at the main protagonist – bar tender Clay – DON’T DO THAT. Of course, he never listens, and each successive action puts him in a worse position. From reading too many crime novels, you know that lying to the police is never a good idea. If you are innocent of the big crime – you should always come clean. But This was a riveting read – and very difficult to put down. It grabbed your attention from the first page, and then kept up a fast, frantic pace throughout. Much of the time was spent yelling at the main protagonist – bar tender Clay – DON’T DO THAT. Of course, he never listens, and each successive action puts him in a worse position. From reading too many crime novels, you know that lying to the police is never a good idea. If you are innocent of the big crime – you should always come clean. But Clay does not see that as an option. He is innocent – we know that. But someone is framing him for murder, and he is inadvertently helping the murderer by making stupid (but, to be fair, understandable) mistakes. Neither we, nor Clay, have any idea (until right at the end) who is framing him – or why. As he gets himself further and further into the ordure, it seems impossible that he will ever clear his name – or find the actual murderer. He gets help from a reporter – who is ready to shop him to the police at any time – and eventually from some friends, but the situation just gets worse and worse. I felt there were one or two bits that did not quite add up, but they did not detract from the enjoyment of the book at all. If you want a high adrenaline crime novel, and are willing to ignore a couple of niggles – then this book is for you. I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  9. 5 out of 5

    E. H. Nathasia

    Quite an interesting premise! I suppose this sort of plot where someone is framing you for the murders that you did not commit has already been done too many times but this one, well I just couldn’t guess the motive, therefore making it riveting to be read in one seating.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Franzi ☾

    Rating: 3.5 stars. This was definitely a unique book. The protagonist being a barkeeper was different and the story itself was quite different from most books I've read before. I enjoyed the humor and characters a lot, I loved Genevieve a lot and I was kind of hoping for a little romance between Clay and her. However, I didn't find this particularly suspenseful. The story itself was alright, but it felt really slow and at no point was I ever worried for the characters. The pacing was a little of Rating: 3.5 stars. This was definitely a unique book. The protagonist being a barkeeper was different and the story itself was quite different from most books I've read before. I enjoyed the humor and characters a lot, I loved Genevieve a lot and I was kind of hoping for a little romance between Clay and her. However, I didn't find this particularly suspenseful. The story itself was alright, but it felt really slow and at no point was I ever worried for the characters. The pacing was a little off during the middle parts, although I didn't mind that too much because I enjoyed the dynamics of the characters. The ending was really predictable, it was totally obvious how it was going to end and the killer reveal sadly wasn't exciting at all. There was no real twist either, so I'm not sure why the book advertises that.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    I love mysteries where the amateur sleuth has an unusual profession other than a detective, PI or journalist, so I was instantly intrigued by barman Clay, our main protagonist who finds himself caught up in a deadly game with a serial killer. Original and fast paced, the story soon swept me along in its wake, and kept me reading late into the night. What a refreshingly original thriller this was! Not only was Clay an enigmatic and interesting character, but the constant sense of menace and danger I love mysteries where the amateur sleuth has an unusual profession other than a detective, PI or journalist, so I was instantly intrigued by barman Clay, our main protagonist who finds himself caught up in a deadly game with a serial killer. Original and fast paced, the story soon swept me along in its wake, and kept me reading late into the night. What a refreshingly original thriller this was! Not only was Clay an enigmatic and interesting character, but the constant sense of menace and danger that set a terrifying background to the story created tension and intrigue. Frech’s writing style moves the story along at a good pace, and sometimes I had to remind myself to stop and take a breath as things were happening at breakneck speed. A good barman is observant – he will not only remember his customer’s drinking preferences, but he can also read them like a book and change his personality to boot. Clay is good at his job, and his clients love and respect him. So it comes as a surprise when he gets a visit from police to question him about one of his regulars, who has just been found murdered. A married woman Clay just happened to have an affair with. And just like that, Clay finds himself in the centre of a murder investigation, with a killer who is always a step ahead of him, determined to make Clay the prime suspect. He has no option but to play along – first, to clear his name, but soon just to stay alive. DEADLY GAMES will appeal to readers who love a fast paced, atmospheric and suspenseful cat-and-mouse game, like the Jack Reacher series. And whilst Clay is no ex-army bad boy, he also shows a lot of initiative in trying to outwit his opponent. As the story nears its finale, there is plenty of action, suspense and bloodshed! I found the story original and captivating, and couldn’t put it down. I very much look forward to reading more from this author in future! Thank you to Netgalley and HQ Digital for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review. *blog* *facebook* *instagram*

  12. 4 out of 5

    Norma McCall

    Thank you so much to NetGalley and HQ for the e-ARC of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. This is any thriller enthusiast’s dream! Known for his dark and creepy novels, Steve Frech produced yet another suspenseful and well thought out novel.

  13. 4 out of 5

    ForTheThrillofBooks

    Sam is a guy who knows everything about you. He listens and you gladly pour out your soul because he is your bartender. But Sam also has secrets and suddenly he’s on the receiving end because someone seems to know a lot about him. When Emily Parker is murdered, all the evidence points to him. As the real killer begins to taunt him, Sam knows he must beat him at his own game to prove his innocence. If you enjoyed his previous two books you will definitely like Deadly Games. I loved the fast pace a Sam is a guy who knows everything about you. He listens and you gladly pour out your soul because he is your bartender. But Sam also has secrets and suddenly he’s on the receiving end because someone seems to know a lot about him. When Emily Parker is murdered, all the evidence points to him. As the real killer begins to taunt him, Sam knows he must beat him at his own game to prove his innocence. If you enjoyed his previous two books you will definitely like Deadly Games. I loved the fast pace and the characters. Plenty of twists kept you guessing until the end. I seriously flew through this one and thoroughly enjoyed it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Nikolic

    Clay is your regular bartender, he serves you drinks and listens to your life stories because that's what good bartenders do, but when one of his regulars, Emily Parker, is found murdered, the finger points at Clay and nobody wants to listen to him, he knows he needs to find out who the real killer is and stop them playing this game before they claim their next victim. This story starts off quite slow and I have to admit when I got to 30% I nearly gave up on it because it just wasn't grabbing me, Clay is your regular bartender, he serves you drinks and listens to your life stories because that's what good bartenders do, but when one of his regulars, Emily Parker, is found murdered, the finger points at Clay and nobody wants to listen to him, he knows he needs to find out who the real killer is and stop them playing this game before they claim their next victim. This story starts off quite slow and I have to admit when I got to 30% I nearly gave up on it because it just wasn't grabbing me, but I thought I'd give it one last go and I'm really glad I did because everything started to gel after that, things started to make sense and the characters came alive on the pages in front of me and a fabulous game of cat and mouse ensued. This is the first I've read by this author and is definitely worth a read. I'd like to thank HQ Digital and Netgalley for the approval, I will post my review on Goodreads now and Amazon on publication day.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kisxela

    Fun action thriller. It tied me up for a few hours, but I probably won't even remember it tomorrow. The main character was sympathetic, although I can hardly imagine anyone being so stupid, he acts completely illogically for most of the story. But there was action, twist, that is everything you need for an enjoyable book. Fun action thriller. It tied me up for a few hours, but I probably won't even remember it tomorrow. The main character was sympathetic, although I can hardly imagine anyone being so stupid, he acts completely illogically for most of the story. But there was action, twist, that is everything you need for an enjoyable book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Bridgeman

    It's the third novel by Steve Frech, where you really feel he is getting into his stride with his storytelling-breathless, fast paced thrillers with a first person narrative that drives the story forward. Bartender Clay, is pulled into a cat and mouse game with an unknown protagonist who seems determined to set him up for murder. His occasional bed partner, Emily, an unsatisfied wife of a millionaire who likes to hang out at the bar Clay works in, turns up murdered, with all the forensics pointin It's the third novel by Steve Frech, where you really feel he is getting into his stride with his storytelling-breathless, fast paced thrillers with a first person narrative that drives the story forward. Bartender Clay, is pulled into a cat and mouse game with an unknown protagonist who seems determined to set him up for murder. His occasional bed partner, Emily, an unsatisfied wife of a millionaire who likes to hang out at the bar Clay works in, turns up murdered, with all the forensics pointing to Clay. Desperate to prove it wasn't him, he initially co-operates with the police in order to get himself out of trouble, however, when the burner phone Emily used to set up dates with him begins to churn out annoymous messages , demanding Clay's participation in his deadly game... The bodies begin to pile up as Clay finds escape routes cut off, one by one, leaving him with little option but to go on the run with a journalist who is trying to get the inside scoop on Emily's murder. But can he really trust Genevieve, or is she after the scoop of a lifetime? As the net tightens around Clay, it becomes increasingly difficult to work out how he will clear his name, escape and get on with his life. It's an interesting story ,Clay is a bit of a one dimensional character who puts himself and his casual affairs, his rootless and responsibility free lifestyle ahead of taking accountability for himself. His job allows him to peacock every night and affords him the bed partners of his choosing until he has to think about people other than himself due to circumstances beyond his control. As a reader, I had to suspend a bit of belief and just allow myself to be swept away with the story, not thinking about it too deeply. Some parts don't hold up to scrutiny and Clay does some really silly things that are the equivalent of a horror movie trope like going into the cellar. He's not the most immediately likable protagonist and is pretty shallow, but over the course of the story he finds a sense of inner strength and resilience to do the right thing. I read this in one sitting, it's the kind of book where you kepp going to find out what happens, nearly every chapter ends on a cliffhanger which propels the story forward. I would recommend this novel for those who want a one shot read, it's an engaging thriller with plenty of suspense.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    First off, thank you so much to Net Galley, HQ Digital and Steve Frech for allowing me to read this amazing story! He knows everything about about everyone. Everyone tells him their secrets, their whole life stories, their dreams, their fears... why? Because he is a damn good bartender. When a murder occurs and it happens to be one of Clay's regulars at his bar, his whole world is turned upside. All the evidence points to him, and there is no way anyone will believe he had nothing to do with it. First off, thank you so much to Net Galley, HQ Digital and Steve Frech for allowing me to read this amazing story! He knows everything about about everyone. Everyone tells him their secrets, their whole life stories, their dreams, their fears... why? Because he is a damn good bartender. When a murder occurs and it happens to be one of Clay's regulars at his bar, his whole world is turned upside. All the evidence points to him, and there is no way anyone will believe he had nothing to do with it. Who is trying to play games with him? Who is trying to ruin his life? And lastly, how is he going to get out of this alive? I absolutely loved this book! The main character was just so well written I felt like I knew him. Everything was so exciting and I could not stop turning those pages. You know it is a good story line when you can't see an ending coming, and this is exactly what happened with this novel. Steve Frech definitely has a way with words, and knows how to get his readers hooked. I will for sure be looking into more of his books and am surprised I have not read any of his work before!! Pub Date December 4 2020

  18. 4 out of 5

    Court

    2.5 STARS I know everything about you. I know your name, your birthday, your kids’ names, where you live, where you work. I know when you get that big promotion, or when you argue with your spouse. But someone knows everything about me too. Someone knows all my secrets and they’re using them against me. They’re setting me up. The police think I murdered Emily Parker. To prove my innocence I need to find the real killer. I need to beat him at his own game. . . . DEADLY GAMES is my second book by Frech, 2.5 STARS I know everything about you. I know your name, your birthday, your kids’ names, where you live, where you work. I know when you get that big promotion, or when you argue with your spouse. But someone knows everything about me too. Someone knows all my secrets and they’re using them against me. They’re setting me up. The police think I murdered Emily Parker. To prove my innocence I need to find the real killer. I need to beat him at his own game. . . . DEADLY GAMES is my second book by Frech, and although many seem to love his books, I'm starting to think they're just not for me. The synopsis seemed to make it out to be a gritty, psychological thriller - and yes, there were elements of both. However, I found that the majority of the book was underwhelming and my interest began to lag by the middle mark. I kept reading in order to find out who the mystery killer was, but was left confused and disappointed by the final reveal. Recommended for readers who have enjoyed this authors previous novels, I'm sure you'll love this one too! Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for my ARC. DEADLY GAMES is out now.

  19. 4 out of 5

    NhaughtyV says Damn the Zon Save the Reviews

    I know everything about you… Opting for a fresh start, Clay throws a dart at a map and ends up in the small town of Avalon. Bartenders are needed everywhere, so there’s never a problem finding a job. Clay has found his rhythm and enjoys his new life. That is up until the night when Emily Parker is found dead in a hotel room with her throat slit and all clues to her murderer are pointing towards him. Now Clay finds he’s caught in the middle of a deadly game…one where with each step he takes trying I know everything about you… Opting for a fresh start, Clay throws a dart at a map and ends up in the small town of Avalon. Bartenders are needed everywhere, so there’s never a problem finding a job. Clay has found his rhythm and enjoys his new life. That is up until the night when Emily Parker is found dead in a hotel room with her throat slit and all clues to her murderer are pointing towards him. Now Clay finds he’s caught in the middle of a deadly game…one where with each step he takes trying to prove his innocence, buries him deeper in guilt… Steve Frech has written an interesting whodunit psychological thriller that kept my interest in trying to piece together the clues of who killed Emily Parker. Would recommend to fans of this genre. **I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. **

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jessie-Punkersfictionreads

    Deadly Games by Steve Frech is a high stakes, fast paced thriller that will have you questioning the narrator till the very end. Steve Frech writing is incredibly dynamic and beautiful. I loved how easily he transitions from Clay talking to the reader to Clay’s memories. The ending of this book was fantastic! Even though I knew the big twist while it was happening the suspense was still there and kept me completely engaged. Unfortunately the middle of the book fell a bit short for me. The beginni Deadly Games by Steve Frech is a high stakes, fast paced thriller that will have you questioning the narrator till the very end. Steve Frech writing is incredibly dynamic and beautiful. I loved how easily he transitions from Clay talking to the reader to Clay’s memories. The ending of this book was fantastic! Even though I knew the big twist while it was happening the suspense was still there and kept me completely engaged. Unfortunately the middle of the book fell a bit short for me. The beginning started off so strong but during the middle I found myself a bit board of all the running around. I also want to know what happened to Katie and Nick! Why was there no conclusion there? Overall I really enjoyed Deadly Games. I’m not a huge fan of blackmail thrillers but Steve Frech writing is phenomenal. I will definitely be checking out his other books. I would highly recommend this one to anyone who loves fast paced, black mail thrillers. 4/5 Stars Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brigit (dark.psyche.reads)

    Sam is a bartender framed for murder. Events spiral into chaos while Sam is on the run from the cops and the killer who is simultaneously playing games to hunt him down as well. Unfortunately, this story was underwhelming. Despite the interesting start, I found the character interactions empty and the dialogue excessive. The plot was over-explained and a little confusing. The main protagonist was a plastic bag in the wind of events and people that did all the work for him. The killer over explai Sam is a bartender framed for murder. Events spiral into chaos while Sam is on the run from the cops and the killer who is simultaneously playing games to hunt him down as well. Unfortunately, this story was underwhelming. Despite the interesting start, I found the character interactions empty and the dialogue excessive. The plot was over-explained and a little confusing. The main protagonist was a plastic bag in the wind of events and people that did all the work for him. The killer over explained his motives. Things seemed too easy, convenient and lacklustre. I would have loved to have seen more suspense and better character development. Considering this was advertised as a psychological thriller, I would re-market it as an action thriller, which is a genre I struggle to connect with, but it could be fun for other readers. The ending was also a let down, as the reveal didn't feel dangerous or suspenseful, I was honestly just bored. I bumped it up to 2 stars as the beginning had promise, and the comedy was alright. Thanks to Netgalley, HQ and Steve Frech for this free advanced digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rah

    Clay knows everything there is to know about you, he’s your bartender, why wouldn’t he. But someone knows everything about him, and they are setting him up for murder. I really liked the quick pace of this book. Right from the start, the ride begins and it’s not over until the end of the book. We tag along with Clay as he tries to find out who the real murderer is, as the murderer is adding more and more evidence against him. Having it told in the perspective of Clay himself, hearing his inner t Clay knows everything there is to know about you, he’s your bartender, why wouldn’t he. But someone knows everything about him, and they are setting him up for murder. I really liked the quick pace of this book. Right from the start, the ride begins and it’s not over until the end of the book. We tag along with Clay as he tries to find out who the real murderer is, as the murderer is adding more and more evidence against him. Having it told in the perspective of Clay himself, hearing his inner thoughts about why he’s doing what is he is doing, and how there seems to be no other option, was a nice touch. I liked being in his shoes, even if his shoes were running from the law.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vivi Widodo

    Clay, a bartender at The Gryphon, being a suspect of triple murders as all leads pointing to him. A psycho put and arrange every leads to go to Clay and he definitely enjoys the "game" torturing Clay. The plot was ok, however it's a bit slow so the suspense didn't really grip on me. 3.5🌟 "My sweet little cupcake" Clay, a bartender at The Gryphon, being a suspect of triple murders as all leads pointing to him. A psycho put and arrange every leads to go to Clay and he definitely enjoys the "game" torturing Clay. The plot was ok, however it's a bit slow so the suspense didn't really grip on me. 3.5🌟 "My sweet little cupcake"

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    What can I say about this book? Besides it’s absolutely brilliant! I found myself completely encaptured and I couldn’t put it down. I liked how the storyline was created into a type of game and I had no clue who was behind the mastermind which to me made the book more compelling.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Natasha | readwithnatasha

    Steve, you've done it again. You've written another book that grabs me and doesn't let me put it down until I'm done. Such a great read. I kept guessing where the book was going and I was very wrong lol. It'd definitely recommend this book to any thriller lover! Steve, you've done it again. You've written another book that grabs me and doesn't let me put it down until I'm done. Such a great read. I kept guessing where the book was going and I was very wrong lol. It'd definitely recommend this book to any thriller lover!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Luana Filgueiras

    So excited to read this!!! I love Steve’s work

  27. 4 out of 5

    Haley - hailsbooknook

    No matter where you go, you can't hide from the truth. Clay is on the run, he's been framed for the murder of his lover and someone is out to get him - they want him to pay. I loved everything about this book, it was so twisty I just needed to know what Clay was going to do next! It seemed that no matter what the situation was - he could never get a break. I liked how he teamed up with Genevieve and how much tension they had, if anything I would have liked to see a bit of a romance bloom between No matter where you go, you can't hide from the truth. Clay is on the run, he's been framed for the murder of his lover and someone is out to get him - they want him to pay. I loved everything about this book, it was so twisty I just needed to know what Clay was going to do next! It seemed that no matter what the situation was - he could never get a break. I liked how he teamed up with Genevieve and how much tension they had, if anything I would have liked to see a bit of a romance bloom between them as they had gone through so much at that point. I had no clue who the killer was, I was never able to make any assumptions so the ending was really well done as it's someone who you wouldn't have guessed! I read this book within a day, it was such a page-turner and I couldn't put it down until I knew what was going to happen. I would like to applaud Steve Frech on another job well done, if you haven't read his books - please do. Deadly Games will be available on December 4th, 2020 - I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts/opinions are my own,

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Shields

    "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."~H.P. Lovecraft We all have irrational things that we fear, and for me, near the top of the list is being accused of a crime that I didn't commit, which is the premise for this book.  Clay is a charismatic bartender with a utilitarian apartment and zero ties to anything.  He enjoys his job, his freedom, his nightly flirtations with his co-worker Katie, and most of all, he enjoy "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."~H.P. Lovecraft We all have irrational things that we fear, and for me, near the top of the list is being accused of a crime that I didn't commit, which is the premise for this book.  Clay is a charismatic bartender with a utilitarian apartment and zero ties to anything.  He enjoys his job, his freedom, his nightly flirtations with his co-worker Katie, and most of all, he enjoys the company of one of his patrons, a married woman named Emily. Clay's life the last few weeks has been meeting Emily at one seedy motel after another, but he doesn't know that their affair has attracted the attention of someone who wants to play a game.  One night as Clay is approaching the motel room, ready for another unforgettable night, he gets a text from Emily's burner phone saying, "𝑰 𝒅𝒐𝒏'𝒕 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒕𝒐 𝒅𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒕𝒐𝒏𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕...𝑰'𝒎 𝒕𝒐𝒐 𝒕𝒊𝒓𝒆𝒅." After a little back and forth, Emily stops communicating. Confused and a little angry, Clay leaves.   When Emily's disappearance becomes public, Clay is called in for questioning and asked, "𝑯𝒐𝒘 𝒘𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝒅𝒊𝒅 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒌𝒏𝒐𝒘 𝑬𝒎𝒊𝒍𝒚 𝑷𝒂𝒓𝒌𝒆𝒓?" His mind seizes on the past tense, and he fears the worst. Then photos are laid out before him...photos of Emily on the bed in a pool of blood, an angry slash across her throat.  Then Clay's phone pings with a text: "𝑲𝒆𝒆𝒑 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒎𝒐𝒖𝒕𝒉 𝒔𝒉𝒖𝒕, 𝒐𝒓 𝑰'𝒍𝒍 𝒕𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒎 𝒂𝒃𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒍𝒐𝒐𝒅 𝒊𝒏 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒄𝒂𝒓, 𝑴𝒀 𝑺𝑾𝑬𝑬𝑻 𝑳𝑰𝑻𝑻𝑳𝑬 𝑪𝑼𝑷𝑪𝑨𝑲𝑬."  Let the games begin. This is my third read by this author, and he never lets me down!  I know when I start one of his books that I'll be completely engrossed and absorbed in the story as he has a gift of putting you in the action with his realistic characters who find themselves in extraordinary situations. 260 pages packed with tension and action until the explosive climax. Read this one TODAY!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pattyh

    Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to previw Deadly Games by Steve Frech. This is a RIDE!!!! From start to finish, i could not put this book down. A young man, Clay, is a bartender in a small California costal town. He has an average life, comfortable, but average. Clay enjoys being a bartender - no stress and no worries. He works at a small bar that gets a quiet and mixed crowd. Clay enjoys the people and in particular, an older woman who he is having an affair with. Emily is a wealthy, ma Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to previw Deadly Games by Steve Frech. This is a RIDE!!!! From start to finish, i could not put this book down. A young man, Clay, is a bartender in a small California costal town. He has an average life, comfortable, but average. Clay enjoys being a bartender - no stress and no worries. He works at a small bar that gets a quiet and mixed crowd. Clay enjoys the people and in particular, an older woman who he is having an affair with. Emily is a wealthy, married woman who just wants to have some fun with a younger good lucking guy - Clay. One night he is going to meet up with Emily, but when he arrives at the hotel, she texts him and tells him to go away. He does, and he feels bad, but he's not worried - she probably changed her mind. But soon that changes when Emily's body is found and Clay is the top suspect in that murder. Emily's husband also thinks Clay may know something and he wants to meet up with him... As the bodies add up, and Clay goes on the run, a stranger is texting him and he is one step ahead of Clay. This is a game, and one that Clay is the pawn. And Clay is running for his life and time is running out. What's the end game and Clay is going to find out soon enough. I am giving this 5 stars - written in first person, you start to relate to the characters and the fast pace will have you out of breath. This was a surprise book for me and I really liked it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Thank you to Net Galley and Steve Frech for the advanced copy in return for my honest review. Deadly Games is available December 4, 2020 – be sure to get yourself a copy! Clay is a bartender at a local hot spot and it’s the ideal job. He works alongside one of his best friends and gets numbers of attractive women each and every night. Clay has started up a relationship with one of his regulars, Emily, but they have to keep it secret because she’s married. After his shift one night he goes to meet Thank you to Net Galley and Steve Frech for the advanced copy in return for my honest review. Deadly Games is available December 4, 2020 – be sure to get yourself a copy! Clay is a bartender at a local hot spot and it’s the ideal job. He works alongside one of his best friends and gets numbers of attractive women each and every night. Clay has started up a relationship with one of his regulars, Emily, but they have to keep it secret because she’s married. After his shift one night he goes to meet up with Emily who texts him at the last minute refusing to see him. The next morning Clay wakes up to find that Emily was murdered and he’s at the top of the suspect list. The remainder of the book is following Clay’s story of being on the run and trying to prove his innocence before another person is murdered. This book had me hooked! The author kind of just throws the reader into the story and from there we get to know the characters, which was enjoyable. The twists and turns of the book had me wondering if what I thought was true or I was going to be fooled again. The only reason that I gave this book 4 stars is because the ending fell a bit flat for me. I really had no idea who the killer really was but thought that the story just kind of ended with no real rhyme or reason as to why the killer did what he/she did. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book as a must read!

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