Charlayne Elizabeth Denney
Reviewer for the Paranormal Romance Guild
The little town of Oasis seems to be idyllic, the type of town you go for vacation. Everyone is happy, the businesses are thriving, and the town is beautiful. Then Linda and her new friends, who are all new to the town, get an invitation to a party at the mysterious mansion, End House. The group tries to find out who is hosting it, but the townspeople are not really forthcoming with details. Todd tries to discourage them attending, but ends up going with the group.
The house is haunted, or possessed, with traps, weird things happening, and two of the group disappear. The rest of the group escapes, and they start to try to find out what is really going on in the town. The story takes several leaps from finding out what Todd is to who is good and who is bad in the town.
Dead Game tries hard to be very mysterious. The party that happens at End House is reminiscent of some of the ideas out of the movie Saw. Author Susanne Leist has some good ideas about how her vampires work, from some being “vampires” which are the human blood drinkers and evil and the “human vampires” who drink animal blood and can go out in public. Neither group like the other and then another person in the town, Wolf, has a splinter group of vampires called The Dead who creep around, look in windows, and chase residents.
I got lost in some of the descriptions of the town and the fact that there are a lot of people named and doing things. The description seemed to go on forever, detailing out the town as Linda walked through it, with who was next door to whom, what they did, and such. It would have gone better if it was taken as each person was introduced, as Linda talked to them. The people were hard to keep straight, who is whom, who is what, and even where they belonged in the story.
The end of the book stretched on and on as Linda and her friends found out who was in which group, confronted them, solved another mystery and then something else happened. I kept thinking “ok, this is the big finish” but I was wrong at least three times. The ending finally came and it wasn’t satisfying because there had been so many “gotchas” in the reveals.
Dead Game has a good premise, but the execution and especially the ending lacked a lot.