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Playing With Death

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  319 ratings  ·  56 reviews
It's the perfect murder. A body in a locked room. No signs of the killer entering or leaving. Where did the violence come from?

FBI Special Agent Rose Blake has faced evil and survived.

Haunted by a failed undercover mission, Rose can't shake the memory of her close encounter with a ruthless serial killer - one who could strike again without warning.

Then comes the call to in
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Headline
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Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  319 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Started off enjoying the story then it went of track for me not my cup of tea.
Liz Barnsley
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
A really great serial killer thriller here with a truly dark side, some memorable characters and a tendency to make you keep looking over your shoulder.

I loved it because I love the dark stuff - Playing With Death has an intriguing central premise to it, a technological speculative element that is all too realistic - that mixed in with some classic storytelling and some bang on the money characters make this an excellent twisty read which I devoured.

It is clever and addictive with some thought p
Rob Twinem
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an edgy, pacy, futuristic and oh so very polished cyber thriller. At its centre is the author's idea of what life could be like beyond "Second Life" (virtual world for the sad and lonely geeks!) The skin suit: a totally immersive online experience from software giants Wadesoft....."where the person wearing the suit can be made to feel the physical sensations of whatever software simulation the program is running...." Once the user enhances his body by wearing the skin he can enter the St ...more
Mairead Hearne (
'FBI Special Agent Rose Blake has faced evil and survived….’

Playing with Death is a novel written by Simon Scarrow and Lee Francis. Published by Headline in July 2017, it is the first in a new series featuring Rose Blake, an FBI agent who has been left haunted by the memory of failed mission that she feels completely responsible for.

Receiving high praise ~ ‘If Stephen King had collaborated with Michael Crichton on a thriller, it might have been as good as this’ Peterborough Evening Telegraph
Victoria Parkin (Book_besties)
This book had so much promise, but left me feeling flat.
To start with, the FBI agents come across extremely inept. The answers (or at least some of the answers) seem to be staring them in the face and yet they don't manage to make much, if any headway. They only realise what is happening when the killer confesses their guilt. It left me wondering why I was bothering.
The next thing that put me off this book was the very strong prevalence of social media and technology. It made for uncomfortable r
Andy Wormald
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wasn't sure what to expect from this having read the authors previous books, but this turned out to be fast paced thriller of the highest quality, centering round Rose an FBI agent and the hunt for a serial killer.
The pace of the story is relentless, its one of those you don't want to put down once started, a thriller for the modern technological age.
Would highly recommend
Sue G
Nov 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit of a dilemma deciding on the rating for this as it was definitely between a 3 and a 4.
Robin Carter
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it

I approach every Scarrow book with caution, Not because of the quality but because I’ve been fortunate enough to know both brothers for quite a few years and have really enjoyed their books. Simon’s books were among my introductory books into Historical Fiction and as such they have to have a special place in my reading and has helped define the reader i am now. So every new book has the potential as a voracious reader of the genre to find a fault, to pick holes and its never something i f
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Couldn't be more different from the 'Eagle' series. More Patricia Cornwell than Scarrow but still a great read. Looking forward to the next one. ...more
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Playing with death, by Simon Scarrow, Lee Francis.

This is a crime thriller based upon a quite interesting premise around computer games, the dark web and the potential for AI to overtake human beings. However, although parts of it were really well written, overall I found it lacklustre and flimsy. Not a good read.
I Read, Therefore I Blog
Simon Scarrow and Lee Francis's tech thriller (the first in a new series) has some interesting ideas but is ultimately a leaden, two-dimensional affair where most men are rapists or sex creeps, the antagonist is every serial killer cliche imaginable, the protagonist dull and worthy and the twists eminently guessable so that it was an effort to get to the end. ...more
David Slater
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
A terrific thriller from Simon Scarrow
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
read on a plane or by the pool!
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, vine
This book nearly lost me at the beginning when due to some dumb mistakes on the part of FBI Agent Rose Blake, a vicious serial killer escapes arrest, and Blake's fellow agent, Owen Malinski is wounded in the leg and left disabled.

I don't mind detectives making mistakes, but the authors, Simon Scarrow and Lee Francis, go out of their way to emphasize that Blake is a seasoned agent, that she has been leading this investigation for months, and that she is the best field agent in her division. Yet,
Zoé-lee O'farrell
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a review of the app and the book.
I will start by reviewing the app, you will realise why shortly.

So, the app "Catch a Killer" opens and you are Rose Blake, FBI. You are on the case of tracking down Shane Koenig, a serial killer, tracking men and women through a dating app. The game becomes Rose's phone, where you can read some emails, but you pretty much can only go on the dating app. Although I knew this was a game and I wasn't Rose, I still felt like I was being a bit naughty being on
Cheryl M-M
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book introduces the reader to a slightly different type of killer and crime-fighting duo. The main character finds herself targeted by the serial killer she inadvertently let escape, a kill and munch type of killer. After a period of respite he returns with new skills and a new platform he uses to prey on his unsuspecting victims.

In the middle of this book I found myself with a conundrum, specifically in relation to a conversation between Rose and Diva. I disagreed with Rose and agreed with
Jacob Collins
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Playing With Death is a very different serial killer thriller. The novel opens with a bang. FBI Agent Rose Blake is undercover as she tries to nail the suspect that has been in the sights of the FBI for the murders of several young women, the scene is set straight away. It is devastating for Rose and her team when he slips the net and they are back to square one. Rose soon begins to realise that the killer is seeking revenge on her and this is where the tension really builds. I was hooked from t ...more
Aileen Mckenzie
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a bit of a dark and disturbing number, with a hint of the modern “Cyber Thriller” through it too!

Rose Blake is an FBI agent with a strange new case to investigate, and it is one that will take her beyond anything she can at first imagine, as murder and online gaming intertwine and the boundaries of what she knows to be true are stretched to the limit. She is still recovering from her humiliation after the failed capture of a serial killer known as the The Backwoods Butcher. Posing as an
Red Beards Book Reviews
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Im a massive fan of Simon Scarrow but I must admit I was a bit sceptical with this book, with it being a different genre, ideas from an unfamiliar author etc. Straight from the get go I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Simon Scarrow has really shown he's an overall creative writer in more than one genre and I'm excited to see more work from him and Lee Francis in the future.

The one thing I did expect from this book was interesting characters that will instantly draw us readers in, similar to pretty
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was given this book as a Christmas present from my daughter who has Lee Francis, co-author, as one of her lecturers, and my first thought/worry was that here was yet another US based crime thriller as I prefer UK authors to write stuff in the UK. Anyway, an explanation from Lee, the fact that it was an easy book to read and before I knew it I was hooked, finding myself rushing back from work as I couldn't wait to get back to read some more.

I work in IT and the technical aspects of AI and moder
Nick Brett
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not entirely sure about this one and I’m not sure the authors were either. The style is so different and hard to get used to. “She writes in her notebook” as opposed to the more normal “she wrote in her notebook”.
Started off as your typical serial killer story, with a dedicated FBI agent failing to catch a bad guy and then having a new case potentially involve her old adversary. So far pretty normal serial killer fare, but then the book takes a turn into SF territory with the involvement of AI a
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a proof copy as a winner of a good reads giveaway. Here's a brief review. No spoilers.
What could have been yet another hunt for a serial killer novel is elevated into something far more interesting by its foray into the techno thriller / sci-fi elements. Scarrow and his writing partner, Lee Francis have tried something different in this old genre and the results are enjoyable.
For me the mark of a good author is one who can switch genres a maintain a high standard. As a fan of Scarrow'
Oct 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: crime
DNF Two male authors decide to write a book with two professional FBI female protagonists. Their working relationship includes casually referring to a subordinate as "fat ass" and other 'chatty' nicknames. The lead is shown in a domestic setting, worrying that she's not good enough for her handsome husband, and if he's having an affair with his assistant (as she fears) then she sadly concludes it's her fault for not paying him enough attention because of her niggly career getting in the way of m ...more
Agent Rose Blake still blames herself for the escape of serial killer Shane Koenig when she's brought in to investigate a mysterious death behind closed doors. As the case progresses, it appears Koenig may be involved and Blake must work against the clock to save others and her family. This had some interesting murders/deaths and a decent pace for a thriller. I wouldn't say it was amazing but it was entertaining enough. ...more
Michael Craig
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’ve read quite a few historical novels by Simon Scarrow and enjoyed them. I started this book with an open mind. It was well written and had an excellent plot. I did not let the fact that in parts it was barely credible, stop me from my enjoyment of it. Anyone interested in the web and it’s future developments would find this fascinating. I look forward to reading the sequel in due course. I gave it a 4 star rating (almost 5)
Wilde Sky
A hunt for a serial killer gets mixed with an artificial intelligence program.

Sections of this story were really good, but it read like a number of different stories forced together, some of the writing was clunky and it was too long.

Could easily have been a 4 star book if it had been more focused and the writing tighter.

Reading time around seven hours.
Ji Saav
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My first novel of Scarrow and Francis. As a fan of thriller and crime novels, I love this book because of its charismatic lead character, very well crafted plot, unexpected ending, and realistic overview in the field of crime investigation. Both entertaining and informative of some crime investigation jargons.
Deyth Banger
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fast_read
"September 7, 2017 – page 351
87.75% "Let's bet that I am right and also ha've in mind that the mad house will be more interesting and entertaining than this book."
September 7, 2017 – page 351
87.75% "Stretching a bowl... It was fine up to the 69 Chapter... 70."
September 7, 2017 – page 339
84.75% "Each book felt like it was the same"
September 7, 2017 – page 339
84.75% "It was interesting until I got tired from chapters and even bored. I am not saying I won't finish reading this book... but I
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Simon Scarrow is a UK-based author, born in Nigeria, and now living in Norfolk. He completed a master's degree at the University of East Anglia, and, after working at the Inland Revenue, went into teaching as a lecturer at City College, Norwich.

He is best known for his "Eagle" series. This is Roman empire military fiction, starting with the second invasion of Britain, and continuing with subsequen

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