Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Perfect Game by Stephen Paul - Review

With my voracious appetite for murder mysteries as I gather research for my historical cozy mysteries, I came across this rather unusual novel which combines mystery, suspense and some supernatural elements on a very modern mystery.

Book Blurb

In a dark Manhattan alley, a young woman suddenly collapses from a brain hemorrhage. The statistics say it’s rare to have happened to someone so young and healthy, yet all signs point to natural causes. But when Kyle Vine, the man she was supposed to meet that night, learns she wasn’t the only victim, he knows there’s something more going on and soon discovers a mysterious link to the sudden success of a journeyman pitcher for the New York Yankees. 
As the lethal brain bleeds continue to strike, Kyle and the woman’s eccentric uncle work together to unravel a mystery unlike any the world has ever seen in order to stop a ruthless killer from striking again. 

Stephen Paul’s debut supernatural suspense thriller, The Perfect Game, is a fast-paced gripping ride that will continue to keep readers on the edge of their seats while trying to figure out who’s behind the deadly episodes, how they’re doing it and, perhaps most shocking of all, why.


I thought I had a good idea of what I was getting when I began reading this book –  and brought with me a certain suspension of belief – however I was wrong. The main character, Kyle, a psychologist who got it tragically wrong with a client and is thus under investigation, who has been divorced by his wealthy wife and now lives in a three story walk-up - isn’t nearly as self-pitying or damaged as one would expect.

Kyle is flawed, yes, but he has a positive, non-mercenary attitude to life, so when a chance to flirt with a pretty student goes terribly wrong and she ends up in a coma, he doesn’t just thank his luck for having dodged a bullet – but is genuinely ashamed at having encouraged her. His guilt draws him into finding out how she was injured, despite that his involvement could be discovered.

Kyle’s relationship with his daughter Bree is lovely, so as a reader I didn’t want him to be caught out or blamed when the coma victim’s Uncle Liam decides there is a dangerous killer targeting young people with a weapon that is impossible to detect, or prove, and he needs Kyle to help him.

For a debut novel this is excellently structured, with engaging characterisation and a plot where the sense of menace and various twists and turns as the story moves into the supernatural are expertly portrayed. The clues are there but never do they slap you in the face. Despite the off-the-wall premise, I found myself believing in how the antagonist was killing his victims without too much of the ‘as if that could happen’ element this might have given.

I was even left at the end wondering if, at some stage of our evolution, the human mind may just evolve to this level, engendered by the theories Kyle and Liam throw out – for instance that people know on some higher level when they are being stared at – Creepy!

I will admit that I skipped through the descriptions of the Yankees games - but can honestly say I’m looking forward to Stephen Paul’s next novel.

I received an e-book copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review

1 comment:

Rebecca Bradley said...

This sounds really intriguing. I think I'm going to look it up!