The Devil's Game
Review: Former Vatican investigator Daniel Byrne is recruited by an ultra-secret organization to learn more about the mysterious increase in number of people who experience Anomalous Information Transfer, basically visions — and remarkably accurate visions — of the future, in The Devil's Game, the second book in the Game Trilogy by Sean Chercover.
Daniel's estranged, and now dead, uncle experienced AIT, although he didn't recognize it as such, and used it to amass a fortune as a television evangelist. As executor of the estate, and with a comfortable income of his own, Daniel doesn't need to work. But he does feel a need to understand more about AIT, the benefits and risks it poses to society as a whole. Interestingly enough, AIT seems to become more common during periods of stress on the earth, such as when a population is subjected to conditions such as the plague. The job offer from the Fleur-de-Lis Foundation, an organization with boundless resources, seems to be a perfect fit for Daniel. But there is rival to the Foundation, the Council for World Peace, also with unlimited resources, who is studying AIT for reasons far less altruistic reasons, world peace through world domination. The Council has been kidnapping people who exhibit AIT, holding them until they can extract as much information as they can, then killing them. It is a race to determine which of these two powerful organizations will come out on top, and Daniel is betting his life on the Foundation.
It is not necessary to have read The Trinity Game, the first and previous book in this trilogy, to enjoy this book. There is sufficient context to explain how Daniel got to be where he is today, and while there are numerous references to the previous book, none of them really detract from the primary story here. But it is that very story that is the weakest element here, as it is rather thinly plotted. The Devil's Game suffers from middle-book-in-a-trilogy syndrome, existing merely as a bridge between the intriguing premise of the first book and the presumably exhilarating conclusion in the next one. Still, it moves along briskly, is exciting for the most part, and is in general a fine thriller.
Up until the final few sentences.
Is it unfair to downgrade a 100,000 word novel based on just 20 or so words at the end? Probably, but that's just how bad the end to this book is. And really, what was the point anyway? It's not fair to say any more as it would give too much away, but that final sentence will definitely leave an impression on readers. No doubt to some a positive, or at least neutral, one. But to this particular reader, it was a negative, strongly negative one, a bad taste in the mouth, as it were.
Acknowledgment: Thomas & Mercer provided an ARC of The Devil's Game for this review.
Review Copyright © 2015 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Trinity Game
Thomas & Mercer (Hardcover), July 2012
ISBN-13: 9781612183183; ISBN-10: 1612183182
Location(s) referenced in The Devil's Game:
— ♦ —
The Devil's Game by Sean Chercover — The Game Trilogy
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: June 2015
List Price: $24.95
— ♦ —
Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
Mysterious Reviews is a Division of
The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books
and a Business Unit of the
Omnimystery Family of Mystery Websites