Four people disappear from apparently quite comfortable lives. The only thing they appear to have in common is that each of them disappeared on their birthday… and each of them received a card wishing them a happy first birthday and inviting them to join a mysterious game.
Digging deeper, psychologist Dr. Augusta Bloom and her investigative partner Marcus Jameson uncover something else the four have in common… they all displayed psychopathic tendencies. When a cyber investigator starts digging deeper, the case is blown wide open with the discovery that there are a lot more than four people missing. The real number is over 100, and Augusta can’t figure out what someone is collecting all these psychopaths for.
The author of this book is a psychologist herself who has worked with the police numerous times, and she does not only a sterling job of explaining to the reader (in a non-infodumping way) all the signs and symptoms of functional psychopaths, but also writes the police procedures which would attach to a case such as this very realistically. It was obvious to the reader from fairly early on who the criminal mastermind was going to turn out to be, but their motives were absolutely opaque until the time came for the big reveal, which was really cleverly done.
There’s an open ending which leaves open the possibility of a sequel, and certainly I think Augusta and Marcus are a terrific team I’d love to read more about. This is a brilliant first novel with some absolutely unique twists and turns to the plot, and I hope to see a lot more from this author in the future. Five stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.