Tag, You're Dead
A YA Novel of Suspense by J. C. Lane
Review: A game with potentially deadly consequences is played out in Chicago when three teenagers pay handsomely to go up against their rivals, who aren't in on what's going on, in Tag, You're Dead, a young adult novel of suspense by J. C. Lane.
It's a simple game of tag. Only if you're tagged, you die. Brandy, a spoiled rich kid from Wisconsin suffering from insecurity about herself and her friends, randomly chooses to play against Laura, a naturally beautiful girl from rural Illinois. Robert, a capable if also average basketball player, chooses his teammate Tyrese. And Charles, an intellectual who strives for a real challenge in life, chooses expert online game player Amanda. Separately, Laura, Tyrese, and Amanda are essentially kidnapped, and threatened with harm to their families if they don't go along with the rules of the game, which are presented to them via a virtual moderator. A high-tech watch is strapped onto their wrists and they are given a 30 minute head start after which their (unknown to them) opponent will be given their coordinates. Their opponents will be updated every 30 minutes until either of two situations occur: they reach a pre-determined destination first, in which case they "win"; or if they are tagged before they reach it, then they "lose" … and losing means they die.
It can be a little hard to get started with Tag, You're Dead as there are six points of view, one from each of the participants in the game, and the pacing of the story, from the very beginning, is brisk, keeping the reader's head spinning almost as much as those of the runners in the game. Their paths converge, separately, in Chicago where there are some tense moments as the Its come perilously close to tagging their targets. What is most satisfying is how the runners adapt to their situation, using resources available to them without obviously risking the safety of their families and friends. The cast of characters is incredibly well-drawn and the plotline is very cleverly crafted and executed. The ending is a little abrupt (and a bit open-ended — one wonders if a sequel is planned), but the outcome handled in a reasonable manner. Apparently originally intended to be published under Poisoned Pen Press's YA imprint, both adults and young adults will enjoy the high intensity adventure these six teenagers are on. Highly recommended.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an eARC of Tag, You're Dead for this review.
Review Copyright © 2016 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Tag, You're Dead: Chicago, Illinois
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Tag, You're Dead by J. C. Lane — A YA Novel of Suspense
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: July 2016
List Price: $26.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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