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A Game Called Dead

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“A Game Called Dead," is the sequel to "The Swamps of Jersey," the first Frank Nagler Mystery.

Nagler is called to investigate the brutal attack of on two women at the local college. It begins a tale of urban terror, much of which seems to be directed at Nagler and his associates.

The story introduces the mysterious terrorist #ARMEGEDDON, who taunted the police from cyberspace.

The story also digs deeper into Nagler's past, especially the old Charlie Adams serial-killer case, and his relationship with Lauren Fox, who played a key role in exposing the political corruption in "Swamps." She is back and steps into the front of Nagler's life.
The story also introduced Harriet Waddley-Jones, a college dean, who is Nagler's nemesis, and later ally.

Each book is a challenge to write a "better" book. In this case I wanted tighter, faster action and to develop a theme and flow to help carry the story. Sound and the description of sound, are keys.

I also wanted Nagler to confront aspects of his past. Can he reconcile them, or will they always haunt him?

278 pages, Paperback

Published January 7, 2016

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About the author

Michael Stephen Daigle

10 books77 followers
Michael Stephen Daigle is a writer and journalist who lives in New Jersey with his family. He had an award-winning career in journalism including time at newspapers in Massachusetts, Maine and New Jersey.
He is the author of the award-winning Frank Nagler Mystery series:
"The Swamps of Jersey" (2014);
"A Game Called Dead" (2016) A Runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Awards;
"The Weight of Living" (2017) First Place for Mysteries in 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Contest; Notable 100 Book in 2018 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Contest; Distinguished Favorite in 2018 Independendent Press Awards (2018).
"The Red Hand" (2019) a Distinguished Favorite in the 2019 Big NYC Book Contest
Named Second Place winner for mysteries in the 2019 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards
Named a Notable 100 in the 2019 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Awards
Kirkus Reviews: "A winning origin story for one of modern fiction's expertly drawn detectives."

Publisher: Imzadi Publishing, Tulsa, OK

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Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
Profile Image for Reyna Favis.
Author 7 books36 followers
October 1, 2017
Detective Frank Nagler is Ironton, the northern New Jersey city where the story takes place. Both teeter on the knife’s edge between hope and despair. The city wallows in economic crisis brought on by the post-industrial era and exacerbated by greedy local politicians. But its heart of gold, the city’s resilient people who dream of better times and a different life for their children, fight the good fight, generation after generation, despite all odds. Nagler is the Fisher King, the death of his young wife twenty years earlier creating the dolorous wound that continues to bleed and will not heal.

The story opens with the savage beating of two women in a college dormitory and rapidly escalates to murder. One victim hints that a psychopath obsessed with a multiplayer online game may have brought its brutality into the physical world. A beautiful, but troubled college administrator steps forward to guide Nagler through the academic bureaucracy, but is she friend or foe? Meanwhile, Nagler’s friend, a local business owner who is both blind and confined to a wheelchair, is terrorized by someone who is sadistically toying with him, destroying his store and his livelihood. Are the deaths and violence as random as they appear, or is there something deeper and more malevolent festering in Ironton?

“A Game Called Dead” is a literary mystery that will keep you turning the pages. If you enjoy stories with vivid characters, unexpected plot twists and strong writing, you should read this book.
Profile Image for Karen Lopez.
Author 6 books22 followers
September 27, 2022
Frank finds himself in the middle of a game he's never heard of.

A detective who doesn’t like being called Detective. Of course, there is a reason Frank doesn’t like it when the new cop assigned to his most recent case addresses him as ‘Detective’. There is some uncomfortable history going back 20 years and that former co-worker is now in prison. For murder and other crimes.

A game called dead is being played on the nearby college campus. It’s supposed to be a virtual game, but someone has decided to bring it to life…or more accurately, death of some of the students. This mystery grows more tangled as the suspected killer begins leaving online messages and clues about the next strike. Clues that the detective is now a target.

One aspect that was rewarding for me as a reader is this third book ends with some feel good moments between Frank Nagler and his friends. Although you could choose to start this series with any book, I recommend starting with the Red Hand and then Swamps of Jersey first to get the full story.
Profile Image for Marcia Dove.
Author 2 books39 followers
January 3, 2023
Intriguing plot.

A game called dead is my second Detective Frank Nagler book. In the first book, I learned of the death of his wife. Twenty years later, he still has not recovered, and the city of Ironton, New Jersey, is still suffering from an economic crisis and rift with political corruption. Michael Stephen Daigle's creative approach to character building makes me feel like I personally know the unique and flawed people in Irontown. He did a fantastic job writing descriptive passages and keeping me on the edge of my seat with never-ending changes in the storyline.

I can't wait to read another Nagler book.
Profile Image for J.A. Martin.
Author 24 books32 followers
March 23, 2021
Great Read

I’m a big fan of crime thrillers and detective stories and I really enjoyed this book. Well-written, tightly edited and some great characters. The only thing I took issue with was the dialogue. I felt like it was a little over the top, but otherwise, it was a great read!
Profile Image for Charlotte Anderson.
87 reviews3 followers
March 20, 2016
I received an advanced copy of this book fro NetGally in exchange for an honest review. This book is a sequel to,"The Swamps of Jersey." It starts out after New Jersey Detective Nagelr has exposed the political corruption in Irontown, New Jersey, now he finds himself with a planned by someone who wants to do away with him for once and for all.
As the story goes there was a break in at the local college, and two women were beaten very horrible. This leaves Nagler with the question, is it possible that these two attacks are connected to a video game that seems to over run the campus and taken a real-life episode. Read on to find out how everything connects together and who really is controlling what really is going on.
I gave this book 4 stars
15 reviews
March 29, 2016
This book wasn't really my cup of tea.

It reminds me of 'In Cold Blood' By Truman Capote in that, there is a lot of psychological examination. The detective wonders what someone must feel to commit a certain act, standing somewhere, he 'feels' the motive, etc.

There is also a lot of poetic imagery. I respect this, it is not easy to do, much less well but, It's just not what I prefer when reading a mystery.

The book is well written but, rather grim and stark. Again, just not my cup of tea. True crime readers that like some grit in their stories will enjoy this book, I'm sure.
Profile Image for Jeanne.
1,144 reviews8 followers
March 9, 2016
This was an ok read that could have been great but for a few problems for me. The first two pages used more adjectives that I've seen in a long time The characters were well drawn and I liked Leonard, his aide Bobby and most of the others The plot was terrific but I knew who the killer was within the first chapter and the writing style meandered too much. Possibly the author could have made his plot points linear and connected them more succinctly. 3 stars because it was a good premise.
Profile Image for Iffet Burton.
178 reviews
September 28, 2018
A game called dead

The novel has the type of narrative that has a first person omniessent style which makes the narrative extremely detailed and can overpower the plot itself. It's like an old style detective story on TV with the narrative voice running the whole time. It's ideal for readers who like the whole of the story explained to them in detail and do not like to have to infer or deduce a great deal.

It's well written with enough twists in the plot to keep you guessing.

Ideal for any student who needs to understand how to describe and narrate with limited dialogue which suits the current GCSE written questions.

I received a free copy from netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews

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