The Killing Game by Michael Dylan

The Killing Game by Michael Dylan

Timy reviews The Killing Game, the second book in Michael Dylan‘s DI Simon Wise crime thriller series.

Review(s) of previous books: Rich Men, Dead Men

About the Book
Series:DI Simon Wise #2
Genre:Crime, thriller
Publisher:Self-Published
Date of Publishing:August 31, 2023
Trigger Warnings:death, violence, murder, blood, abuse
Page count:312

Possible fit for The Sound of Madness Reading Challenge 2024 prompts:

Joker prompt that goes with anything: Now We Are Free

Anywhere Away From HereKiss My Ass
HandwrittenYou Are My Home
PsychoSummer Jam
AddictedNew Song
The MysticSay It
Queen of KingsThe Legend of Mother Swan
Accidentally in LoveThrough Glass
White FlagRoad to Joy
Sob StoryGive That Wolf a Banana
Always HalloweenKill Your Conscience
TherapyGhosts & Monsters
Low LifeChasing Stars
Book Blurb
The Killing Game by Michael Dylan

A serial killer at large. A detective pushed to his limits. Who will win the killing game? Still reeling from the devastating revelations about his own family, DI Simon Wise has no time to catch his breath. A killer is stalking the lost souls of London and leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. Short of resources, the Murder Investigation Team from Kennington Police Station are pushed to their limit as they try to stop more deaths from taking place across the capital. Wise and his team soon find themselves caught up in the killer’s murderous game and only the winner will survive.

THE KILLING GAME is the second book in the DI Simon Wise Crime Thriller series, set on the streets of London. If you like gripping police procedurals, dark characters, and a relentless pace, then this book is for you.

Quote of the Book
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“One step too far and it was a long, long way down to Splatsville.”

Review

Upon finishing Rich Men, Dead Men, the introductory novel to the DI Simon Wise series, I could hardly wait to get on to the next book. I’m on a good run with crime thrillers, and The Killing Game was no exception. As with the first book, I alternated between the audiobook and the ebook versions, and honestly, you can’t go wrong with either.

I already sang praises of Michael Dylan‘s first book, and prowess as a writer – duh – and all of those praises still stand. The Killing Game picks events up a couple of months after things were concluded in Rich Men, Dead Men. Simon Wise is in a better place mentally and emotionally, but his partner’s death still haunts him. Especially since he learned who might be behind Andy’s actions. But Simon has more current pressures when a young homeless boy is found dead, practically cut open. What the higher-ups dismiss as a significant case – because who cares about one unfortunate homeless teen when worse things happen on the street – soon turns out to be the work of a serial killer. Simon’s team discovered several similar cases across London over the last 18 months, which no one connected until now. It’s up to them to figure out who is behind the killings and why. And once that happens, the chase begins in earnest, forcing Simon to face some of his own fears.

The tension builds up nicely starting with one of the murders, throughout the investigation as the team follows different leads including searching for a survivor and a run-in with a cult-like church (aren’t they just such perfect settings for crime novels?). There are a lot of societal commentary under the surface – or maybe not so under – about homeless kids, and why they might choose to run away from home and become addicts, beggars, etc., as well as the aforementioned cult-like churches. You might better pay attention to who preaches and what. I’m not a religious person so I just cannot fathom how one might fall prey to these establishments, but on the other hand, it fascinates me how well they brainwash people, and how it always comes down to some kind of faith. Dylan doesn’t go deep into the (homeless) issue, but it’s still present and makes one think about these things. Especially how some people dismissed the case(s) to begin with, saying it was just a homeless kid, nothing to see here, sweeping the issue under the rug. I liked how Wise and his team decided to stand up for them – even if some of them voiced their doubts to begin with.

The characters are all the same we got introduced to in Rich Men, Dead Men – except for the victims and those they meet during the investigation, obviously – but this time we get further glimpses into some of their lives. I really appreciated those chapters that focused on one of the detectives other than Simon. Like Hannah and her relationship with her girlfriend, or a personal aspect of Jono’s life, one that I’m sure will affect the team further down the line. And yes, I’m being cryptic because I don’t want to spoil anything. But what I absolutely love about this series is how we get to know the darker, grittier side of London, not the one you see on TV or in tour guides. It will never make me love it any less, though.

I’m super curious where Dylan will take this series, as there are not only the individual cases each book deals with, but there is also an overarching plotline that can land Simon in some serious shit. And if the ending of The Killing Game is any indication, things are about to escalate into some serious feuding. I expect blood to run anytime soon. I already loved book 1, but The Killing Game was able to step up to it, I daresay even exceed it. Which leaves me excited to continue on this journey Michael Dylan invited me to take. Here is to the next one, then.

Our Judgement
Praise Their Name - 5 crowns

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