IF YOUR BEST FRIEND WAS IN DANGER, YOU’D TRY TO SAVE HER…WOULDN’T YOU?
Are you ready to play?
Best friends Cleo and Rachel spend their evenings pretending to be people they’re not, inventing elaborate stories to escape the monotony of their real lives. It’s all harmless fun – until they play the game on the wrong person…
It’s your move now.
Five years later, Cleo is still struggling to come to terms with the night that destroyed her friendship with Rachel and almost cost them their lives. And then she receives a text: Rachel is missing. Have you seen her?
There’s only one person to blame.
Wracked with guilt for failing Rachel the last time they were in danger, Cleo races to find her friend. But could the past be repeating itself? Only this time, they’re caught up in a far darker game.
The rules don’t matter when the goal is revenge.
My thanks to Anne Cater & Tracy on behalf of Random Things Tours for the tour invite. Having read and loved Lauren’s previous book last year, Safe at Home, I couldn’t resist saying yes to reviewing All The Wicked Games.
This is such a chilling read. It is clear from early on that something dreadful has happened to the two girls in the past but the author keeps the reader on the hook and only releases as much information as she wants us to know – I’ve never been a patient person and I was dying to know what exactly had happened in the past that was having such a terrible impact now on Rachel’s disappearance and on Chloe’s fragile mental state.
This dual timeline story moves between the present day and five years previously. Cleo is now working on a cruise ship and is on shore leave when she receives a message that her old friend Rachel is missing. Torn between wanting to get back to her safe life on board ship but scared for Rachel and knowing their history, she stays to try and help. The reader is then fed snippets from both Cleo and Rachel of what happened five years previously together with the current story featuring both girls.
Where to start. The author certainly kept me in the dark for so long on this one! I think I suspected every one in turn and I still got beaten by the reveal. The story shows what a dark and dangerous place the internet can be if abused and Rachel and Cleo were not blameless in any of this. Their ‘game’ on the website ‘CamChat’ seemed harmless fun to them but they often took things too far and they ended up paying dearly with the loss of their friendship being just one casualty.
Of the two characters, I preferred Cleo but that was mainly because she was the one usually on the page and who I engaged with more, she also seemed more sensible. I felt a little sorry for Rachel – going back to the ‘before’ when she lived with Cleo in a grotty house share, she was rather bored and miserable with her life on the make up counter in a retail store, always being picked on by the supervisor and fed up with being ghosted by men. She always wanted something more but good things seemed to happen to other people.
Suspenseful with a sinister undertone to the plot, I was totally absorbed by this story with revenge and manipulation at its heart. I felt Cleo’s frustration that she wasn’t being taken seriously about Rachel’s disappearance and also her guilt about whatever had happened in the past.
Even though I thought I had worked things out, I was caught out by the surprising and chilling final conclusion. Definitely recommended for your reading pile.
LAUREN NORTH writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and from her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.
Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside.
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