Born into a wealthy and powerful Boston family, Renee Charlebois has it all. Except for one small detail – she’s been abducted without a trace. Who took her, and why, is a mystery.
The case gets dropped on Curtis Westcott’s desk, but Boston’s Chief of Homicide has little to work with. No clues, no body, no motive. Renee had no enemies, no financial skeletons in the closet, and no bitter ex- boyfriends. Curtis and Aislinn Byrne, his go-to detective on tough cases, work the file hard but come up empty. Then Westcott attends a party and overhears a story that catches his attention – he and Aislinn have their first break.
They dig in and unravel a complex series of crimes tied to Renee’s disappearance. As they peel back the layers they are convinced Renee is still alive, but that her abductor is on a precise schedule and has every intention of killing her. It’s a bizarre and twisted game, and time is quickly running out.
A Killing Game is Book One in the Curtis Westcott series, set in Boston.
You know those complex movies that if you miss one thing, you're lost? Yeah, that's the predicament Curtis Westcott is in right from the start of this propulsive thriller. In most cases, I prefer a story that gives me the clues, obscure though they may be, and part of the thrill is figuring it out and seeing if I'm right. This one is not that, not even a little bit. The reader doesn't get to know who the killer is until Westcott knows, and while that would usually be contrary to my preference, I didn't mind at all with this one. I was too caught up in the twisted and tangled rollercoaster ride of this one to figure it out even if I could.
The story follows Curtis from the time he learns of Renee Charlebois' disappearance, and a lot of it is his investigation as he solves the puzzles the killer has given him. With that said, I hesitate to call this a procedural because the story is anything but ordinary in terms of procedure or crime. So, if you're expecting shoot 'em up gunfights and hair-raising car chases, it isn't that kind of thriller, but it's no less exciting for the lack of those things.
Suspension of disbelief does deserve some mention here, but not quite in the way one might assume. The story is complex, but do I have doubts about whether or not something like this could happen? You betcha. That being said, more and more is possible every day in this fast-paced world, so who knows. I'd like to think that it couldn't at any rate. Nevertheless, realistic or not, this is fiction, and some amount of leeway can be given. For me, it didn't really matter because I was so immersed in the story and following Curtis from puzzle to puzzle that I really didn't take the time to ponder the possibilities.
While this is very much the Curtis Westcott show, the author has given us a great cast of supporting characters - for lack of a better description. There isn't much in the way of throwaway characters here. Almost every person Curtis interacts with drives the story forward another step, and there are several characters that I'll be interested to see again as the series progresses.
I realize that I've been vague on story details, and it has been intentional because this one really needs to be read without spoilers of any kind. What I will say is Jeff Buick has crafted a terrific character in Curtis Westcott, and with this first case of the series, he has set the bar quite high for himself as far as whatever comes next. It's well-written, gritty, and impossible to put down, and I will certainly be waiting to see where this series goes from here.