Friday, August 19, 2016

The Losing Game by Lane Swift

Winchester Crown Court, October 2035: Richard Shaw leaves, a free man.

Grief-stricken and angry, Lucas Green is hell-bent on revenge against Richard Shaw, who killed his sister. Lucas has heard of a man who can help—the handsome and urbane owner of a boutique sex shop with a head for planning crimes. But Dante Okoro has a past he’s desperate to keep buried. Though Lucas piques his interest in more ways than one, Dante turns him away. Still, he wonders if he made the right decision…

An unexpected death brings Dante and Lucas together once more. This time they can’t ignore the chemistry between them. But courting a lover with lies is a dangerous game. Dante has been spying on Lucas, convinced he has plans to kill Shaw. Lucas has been spying on Shaw, waiting for the right moment to strike. If Dante admits his suspicions to Lucas, he’ll surely lose him. If he doesn’t, Lucas might do something reckless—and end up losing everything.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

While this atmospheric drama set in the near future really wasn’t for me, I can appreciate the intensity of the personal conflict and the depth of character development in this story. Fans of Scandi Noir or complicated BBC miniseries will enjoy the moody, fragmented plot and the question that keeps both Dante and Lucas awake – should Lucas kill the man who killed his sister and evaded a prison sentence?

Dante and Lucas are both complicated central characters. Dante’s dark and mysterious past is fed to readers through moments of reflection and observation until he finally discloses some of his personal history to Lucas near the end of the story. As readers, Dante is a grey, morally ambiguous character. We empathise with him, we understand his fear as his children get ready to leave home, but we never fully know him. Lucas, mired in grief, is paralysed by his need for revenge as his life becomes a monotonous blur.

For me, this was a very slow read. The world building is not straightforward and I found it difficult to get a firm sense of time or place as I read. The atmospheric setting lost its charm quickly and I found futuristic references started to grate with me quickly. I can’t quite place the story within a specific genre – there are elements of crime, subtle personal conflict, and some more erotic passages. At times the writer toys with readers. I’m not a fan of pretentious literary devices and I felt like I was wading through too much symbolism.

I have awarded four stars to this story because my complaints are mostly personal preference. I know many people who love stories that are slow, atmospheric puzzles – I just don’t always enjoy them myself. This is an original story from Ms. Swift and Dreamspinner and I’m certain it will appeal to an older, more male audience than many of Dreamspinner’s current titles. I’m looking forward to seeing responses from other readers to this unusual story.

LANE SWIFT is a fiction writer, mainly of contemporary romance, sometimes featuring a mild dash of paranormal. She lives by the sea in Hampshire, England, between the sea and the South Downs, with her husband, two children, and two guinea pigs. She can often be found running the roads and trails in her local area, or at her beach hut, imbibing coffee and dreaming up happy-ever-afters for her heroes and heroines.

Over the years, she’s worked as a waitress, a lab technician, a science teacher, and a telecommunications consultant. She’s also played rugby, climbed one mountain, and run one marathon (soon to be two), but has never managed to learn how to whistle.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Losing Game by Lane Swift to read and review.

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