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The Murder Game

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What if your best friend and roommate killed a teacher at your prep school? Or what if he didn’t do it, but he’s being framed, and you’re the only person who can save him?

Luke Chase didn’t mean to get caught up solving the mystery of Mrs. Heckler’s murder. He just wanted to spend alone time with the new British girl at their boarding school.

But little did he know someone would end up dead right next to their rendezvous spot in the woods, and his best friend and roommate Oscar Weymouth would be the one to take the blame. With suspects aplenty and a past that’s anything but innocent, Luke Chase reluctantly calls on his famous survival skills to solve the mystery and find the true killer.

384 pages, Paperback

First published April 6, 2021

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About the author

Carrie Doyle

10 books277 followers
Carrie Doyle is a bestselling author of thirteen books. (She also has written under the name Carrie Karasyov.)

THE MURDER GAME was nominated as one of the best YA books of 2021 by Suspense Magazine.

IT TAKES TWO TO MANGO was named one of the best books of 2021 by KING'S RIVER LIFE MAGAZINE.

Her new book, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGONFRUIT TATTOO, will be out January 31, 2023.

Carrie checks Goodreads every day and loves it when readers reach out!

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5 stars
1,101 (21%)
4 stars
1,905 (37%)
3 stars
1,557 (30%)
2 stars
420 (8%)
1 star
87 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 562 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,203 reviews40.8k followers
May 17, 2022
It was another solid, fast paced, easy to read, YA mystery/ thriller. If it would be only for this beautiful cover, I could give five stars without thinking any further.

But the book is a little predictable whodunnit murder mystery at school campus with plot holes, not so crafted characterization.

Oscar: the problematic bad boy who is presumed killer of his teacher and his roommate Luke who is A-grader, clean cut, great student, athlete, student rep., president of Outdoors Club is polar opposite of him, trying to prove his friend’s innocence by conducting his own investigation.

His loyalty depends on Oscar’s support when Luke transferred to the school after his abduction and his traumatic experience in the woods. When the other students observe him like a germ in microscope, Oscar treats him as if nothing terrifying happened to him which helped him to heal from his trauma with his friendship.

Now it’s time for him to pay him back. Their young and beautiful teacher Mrs. Heckler who recently married with Dean Heckler is killed by being choked with a scarf reminds the people of the strangler serial killer case of the town which is unsolved!

But instead of Oscar, there are so many suspects at this case including Dean’s old wife who can be jealous of her and her ex husband who ended their marriage and of course Dean is still at the suspect list because Luke, Oscar, Kelly and Pippa were the ones who heard Mrs. Heckler talked to some man in the woods before she’s been killed and they presumed she was having relationship with someone mysterious but who? Is the mysterious man the killer?

Even Pippa, Luke has a secret crush on may be a suspect because she’s also transferred to the boarding school to get away from a vicious scandal about her involvement to the murder of her close girlfriend.

Well, this was not complex or not so confusing or earth shattering, it is simple story like middle grade mystery reads. The adult characters are not developed enough. Only Oscar, Pippa and Luke were remarkable and connectable characters. Rest of them are full of cliches, one dimensional.

Overall: it was okay reading. I didn’t like too much but it was still engaging and quickly wrapped. It never bores me even you may guess the perpetrator so easily.

I still want to read more works of the author. I’m giving three solid, Switzerland: not lovable but also not so hatable, mystery takes place in location, whodunnit stars!

Special thanks to Netgalley and SOURCEBOOKS FIRE for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
Profile Image for Tonya.
418 reviews63 followers
September 12, 2021
The Murder Game is a fast paced YA thriller that was entertaining and full of twists. I enjoyed the boarding school setting with a cast of suspects which included faculty and students. My interest was sustained because of the twisty plot that kept me guessing. This book would make a great Netflix mini series with the original characters and intriguing plot. Thank you Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for my digital copy.
Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,579 followers
April 25, 2022
The Murder Game is the latest novel from Carrie Doyle. I'm current in her two amateur sleuth novel series, and I've had this in one in my queue for most of the year. It's very YA-based, and I wasn't sure I would totally love it. It takes place at a Connecticut boarding school (30 minutes from where I'm moving to next year), and the kids are around 16 years old. The plot was interesting, and since I wanted to catch up on some of the books I'd TBR'd earlier this year, this was next in line.

Definitely geared toward a younger audience. I enjoyed it, but the language was simple and the plot was a bit dramatic for me (in terms of dealing with the ages of the students). I found myself much more keen when they interacted with adults, not with each other. From the author's other books, she's very clever in her word choice, but that was missing here. Intended, I'm sure, for the audience and the different genre. The other part that left me a little uncertain was the title. It really didn't fit at all. It was a murder mystery, and no game was involved. The way in which Luke investigates was top notch. I love his backstory. And the campus sounds pretty cool.

It looks like this could turn into a series. There's an open-ended piece of the plot (not part of the main story) that would make a good 2nd book. I do like Oscar and Luke, but I wasn't a fan of Kelsey and Pippa. Pippa would be the focus of the 2nd book, plus there's a stalker / serial killer in the news, and that could go somewhere too. Not sure where that might go yet! Either way, I did like the book, and I will read any future ones. Just would've been better marketed toward the YA audience. Maybe it was, and I missed that! :)
Profile Image for Jessica.
97 reviews7 followers
August 26, 2021
What on Earth did I just read? I think if you're maybe a pre-teen you might find this intriguing. The setup is weak. The plot is weak and the big 'reaveal' is sloppy.


The first problem is Luke. He's a 'nOt LiKe OtHeR bOyS' boy. ‘It was funny to see how some of the girls had reapplied their makeup and obviously brushed their hair. It was an effort wasted on him. He was definitely not attracted to high-maintenance girls.’
I had no idea brushing ones hair was consiered high maintenance now. I wonder if brushing your teeth and showering also qualify as too 'high maintenance' for precious Luke.

Luke thinks that because he was kidnapped three years ago he has come kind of qualification to solve a murder. Let's not forget that the details of his kidnapping are sketchy at best and never really make any sense. The author has indicated that this was supposed to be book one in a series of three, so I assume we would have learned more later, but that's not a good excuse. Anyway. So. Instead of doing anything worthwhile Luke just bumbles around and overhears adults gossiping. He also manages to find random pieces of information that have little to nothing to do with the actual murder.

The book likes to pretend that the internet doesn't exist until it's relevant to the story. At one point Luke is convinced that the school will be able to see his browsing history on his phone, so he goes to the library and brazenly googles things where anyone could see him in that moment at that computer and have it traced back to him.

Luke fluctuates between being annoyed by 'boys will be boys' and also playing in to it.

Throughout the book LGBT identities are used as jokes. I have to explain this so I don't sound like a bigot. Basically, gay and lesbian jokes are used as simply jokes. No one in the entire book identifies as anything other than 'straight' and the students find it amusing to joke about someone cheating because they might be a lesbian. Later a teacher jokes with Luke and his roommate about them being gay and it's played off as a big joke and even includes the phrase 'don't ask, don't tell.' Throughout the book it is clear tha no one is anything other than straight. Casual things like 'all the girls love' so and so. And 'all the girls' flirt with the hot teacher. It's just so... gross. When couples sneak off to make out it's always and guy and a girl. This is a co-ed boarding school so it's fine, but the idea that not a single student is anything but straight is just ... ignorant.

Luke wants us to believe he's a classy young man because his older sister raised him right, but he's the one identifying girls by their hotness. Or pointing out how sexy his not-girlfriend is all the time. There is a time and a place but it was litearlly all over this book. Every single guy is a hormone crazed sex beasts who can only see women as objects.

Luke later makes a joke about waiting for his Victoria's Secret catalogue. But his sisters taught him not to be an idiot about women. Remember?

The Plot also has about a million inconsistencies that leave you scratching your head. The meals are all organic which in this world translates to vegan or chicken somehow and everyone complains about how bad the meals are. But there is a snack shack that serves cheese fries and bacon and chocolate milkshaes. So, what's the point of the low carb 'organic' meals? None. Exactly.

At one pont Luke tells us that students needed to get permission to leave campus, what with a murder on the loose and all. But then later that day the shuttle busses are showing up to take students into town to watch a movie or eat dinner and ‘most people were getting ready for Saturday-night activities’. So did they all get permission? If so, what was the point? But at least they cancelled the on campus dance. That was just too much. I guess.

I'm pretty sure a teacher makes a joke about watching p*rn. It's only heavily implied, but it's in refence to teaching his students anatomy and he suggests that the 'hot' new English teacher might know something about other movies. Did you vomit a little in your mouth too?

It's mentioned that students have to show up at the chapel and they have mandatory dinners and study hours but their only free day is Sunday? So they don't have mandatory church worship? Why bother to have a church/chapel on site then?

The ENTIRE plot more or less hinges on 'I know something you don't know' and plays that up to about a million. One of the staff members of the school is literally forcing Luke to feed him information because he knows the real murderer but Luke needs to figure it out for himself. Do you want to be an accessory to murder? Because this is how you become an accessory to murder.

Through this entire book we're supposed to believe about half a dozen different people are the murderer. There are litearally no clues or hints as to what is going on. Luke play the 'jumping to conlusions' game and wins gold every time. People keep secrets on purpose and the whole time the reader is supposed to just accept all this. We're supposed to take every pointless twist and turn and believe that there's something logical happening here. The fact that the 'bad guy' has to litearlly info dump his reasoning tells me this is a bad mystery from the start.

At the end of the book Luke flippantly says "I guess no one gets away with murder" and I just... This is so cold and cruel to anyone who has dealt with an unsolved violent crime. It's so cavalier. Luke thinks he's so great because he's escaped death twice and then has the audacity to say some stupid throwaway line like that? No thank you.

Anyway. The moral of the story is. Let some crazy ego maniac who has no authority over you let you believe you are the only one who can solve this crime because you need to realize that you have skills and not just dumb luck.

Other Item of Note: This is a reprint of this book: Sneaking Out that was originally published in 2018.

What could have made this work?

A stronger starting point. Luke felt flat and flimsy as a main character. I never connected to him and never enjoyed his thoughts.

There were A LOT of red herrings that never played into anything. The guy at the motel, for example. The library scene with the article about Pippa (that never made sense because Luke deleted his browsing history). The entire story of Oscar being removed from school was on in there to create drama and lead Luke to contiue his own investigation.

The adults all needed to get their crap together. The number of adults gossiping on campus with no realization of the surrounds. The number of adults who just randomly blabbered to Luke. Everyone is just blabbing everything with no sense of self-preservation.

Luke needs to actually do something. Even a simple google search. Or anything. He never really takes an active role in anything and more or less just stumbles upon information that leads him to an incorrect conclusion.

Even near the end with facts are staring him almost directly in the face it still takes him an impossibly long time to realize what's going on.

There's probably a good story in here somewhere. It just got really convoluted with a lot of pointless asides that lead to a confusing narrative and no real chance for the reader to ever really figure things out along with Luke.
Profile Image for Alex Nonymous.
Author 21 books376 followers
January 17, 2021
Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of The Murder Game in exchange for an honest review.

I genuinely think the wrong title and cover got slapped onto this book. I've been racking my brain and I have absolutely no idea how the title The Murder Game or the 13 tallies had literally anything to do with the plot here. It's extremely misleading and I can't see it not hurting this book's marketing.

The thing is, this is a pretty okay book. The characters are a bit archetypical and the teen speak is a bit off, but it's a fast boarding school murder mystery if you're looking for a quick mystery read. That's not the type of story I was looking for though so I was really let down here. I honestly think this book would need to completely rebrand to reach the right audience because as is, I can see a lot of people getting really mad at this.
Profile Image for Marci.
418 reviews151 followers
March 4, 2022
The title nor the cover make sense. It boggles my mind! I just sat staring into space for a bit trying to find a way that either make sense and I’ve got nothing. But I digress…this was engaging and enjoyable enough but it was missing something. The only fully developed characters were Luke, Oscar and Pippa in my opinion. One of the most underwhelming reveals I’ve read in a while too. It was super eerie at the beginning and I wish the book had leaned into that more and continued with it. But despite the issues I still liked this and it held my interest the whole time. 😊
Profile Image for Zoe.
1,825 reviews172 followers
April 11, 2021
3.5 Stars rounded up to 4.

Mysterious, twisty, and well-paced!

The Murder Game is an intriguing murder mystery that transports you to St. Benedict’s boarding school in eastern Connecticut and into the life of Luke Chase, a teenage student who, after a faculty member is found murdered and his roommate becomes the prime suspect, decides to conduct his own investigation to discover the real culprit and to prove his friend’s innocence once and for all.

The writing is light and smooth. The characters are intelligent, resourceful, and impulsive. And the plot is a creative whodunit full of amateur sleuthing, dangerous situations, suspects, deduction, friendship, secrets, and murder.

Overall, The Murder Game is a quick, engaging, sinister YA thriller by Doyle that is satisfying and entertaining as long as you’re able to suspend disbelief for a little while.

Thank you to Raincoast Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Runaway butterfly.
39 reviews12 followers
September 27, 2021
The Murder Game was a gripping and fast-paced YA murder mystery.

The story takes place in a boarding school (one of my favorite setups for mysteries) and is told from the perspective of Luke Chase. He is kind of known in the Southborough town for his heroic escape from his abductors when he was kidnapped as a kid.

One night while Luke, his roommate Oscar, Oscar's partner Kelsey, and the new British girl, Pippa are at the hangout place in the woods in the middle of the night, they happen to overhear a strange conversation. Soon they realize that they are not alone in the woods and that it could be dangerous if they were busted so they all run back to their dorms. But the next day it's revealed that a murder was committed of Mrs. Heckler, the Dean's wife near their hangout place in the woods. All four of them realize they may be the last people to hear the victim's voice and know that there was someone else in the woods. His best friend, Oscar is being framed for the murder, or did he kill her? Now with so many suspects and their shocking secrets, Luke can trust no one and has to depend on his famous survival skills to uncover the truth.

This book was so suspenseful and enjoyable for 80% of the part except for the last reveal. For such an engaging writing, perfect setting and storyline with plenty of suspects and their intriguing back story, also the amazing cover and book title, the ending spoiled it all *sigh*.
I'll tell you why this book had the perfect setup:
1) as the story is told from Luke's point of view we can feel his fear and trauma every time he's in a dangerous situation, which made the reading experience entertaining.
2) The suspects included the other faculty members, some students (and even the myth, The Southborough strangler lol I was convinced he was the killer at one point that's how amazing the writing was) and they had the perfect backstories and relationships with the victim too that makes for a good murder mystery storyline.
3) The book title gave a hint that it is like a murder game or something related. So I went into this book with that thought but it turned out to be different. Then as the story progressed I thought maybe there is like a mastermind behind all of this who's playing everyone and that's why the title! (Which is kind of correct cuz the killer was unexpectedly familiar ha! but then it did not feel like that person was a mastermind or played a game.For all the build-up, it just seemed too meh😐. So many suspects had a motive to commit the murder and one of them would have been perfect as a killer.) Usually, when someone whom I've overlooked or suspected less turns out to be the killer it amazes me and I'm thrilled but this time it was disappointing.

Apart from the above points, the pacing was good and the suspense factor too. I was creeped out from the beginning. I liked suspecting every character and enjoyed the various fantastic plot twists.

Still, I have two complaints:

1) How Luke so easily interviewed people he suspected and nobody actually tried to stop him? (Oh don't tell me he was followed and all, that was of no use😂)

He was freely asking people about the events of the day Mrs. Heckler died or just about her. And people were telling him without even asking what's in it for him..umm???!? They did question him as who are you or stop with the investigation but that's all. No one restricted him to be in his dorm or inside the campus when a murderer was out there..

2) Luke annoyed me sometimes as for all his (intelligent) brain cells he couldn't see the most obvious clues. (But I guess that's every other YA character so this didn't upset me much)

Final thoughts: The Murder Game was a 4 star read for me. It was fun for most of the part with its exhilarating plot twists.
Profile Image for Eeva.
798 reviews39 followers
February 11, 2021
Actual rating 3.75, rounded up to 4

Ok, so overall I really enjoyed that book. I love boarding schools mysteries so this was perfect for me.
The characters are fairly well developped, the plot is more or less solid. I know these sounds like a quite lukewarm compliments, and I would agree, but the writing was compelling which to me is the most inportant. If the writing is smooth then the rest is fine and I dont pay attention to the minor drawbacks.

The ending indicates another book so Im quite pleased about that.

There were few things that bothered me though.

I dont really get the cover. Like, whats up with the tally marks? There is literally one victim. It's nowhere near 13.

The Daily Mirror article about Pippa.
If it was to be an article from a British newspaper then words like anesthetist (when it obviously should be anaesthetist) or neigbor (when the proper spelling is neighbour) should not be there. It's shows zero research is actually quite lazy.
Profile Image for Claudia.
50 reviews7 followers
November 7, 2021
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The reason this took me so long to read was most likely because the first half wasn’t that exciting and I wasn’t connecting with the characters that much as well. Once, I picked it up again and continued reading it got SO GOOD. So good I gave it five stars. The second half made me like Pippa even more, made me question things more. It left me with even more questions. I didn’t expect the killer (probably because I can almost never predict who killed who). Mrs. Doyle we NEED a second book. *chef’s kiss*. I recommend :))!
Profile Image for Codie Wallace.
116 reviews65 followers
February 1, 2022

Murder Game was a very easy read for me. Definitely an easy book if your in a reading slump. As much as this was an easy read, it took a while for me to finish this book. I felt it dragged on, and there wasn’t really a moment that I was like “OMG” with most thrillers.

It was a good “who done it?” type of thriller! Just couldn’t get into it myself. Normally I can get a good idea of who did it and make my own little “murder tree”. But the details were a bit splotchy:(

I feel like if this was a multiple POV novel it would have amped up everything for this murder mystery!

The cover is one of my new favorites on the shelf! I’m SUCH a cover girl but this one might have kicked me in the butt because I couldn’t stay that interested in this book:(
Profile Image for Elena.
154 reviews72 followers
Want to read
November 23, 2021
Murder in elite boarding schools with smart protagonists will be the death of me one day, I tell y'all.
Profile Image for Chelsea | thrillerbookbabe.
507 reviews627 followers
November 24, 2021

Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Fire and Carrie Doyle for my copy of The Murder Game. It’s about a student at a boarding school trying to solve a murder. Luke is a clean cut, hard working student who’s roommate Oscar has been accused of murder. Luke wants to prove Oscar innocent. He feels he owes Oscar and works to narrow down the multiple suspects that could have killed their teaching.

Thoughts: This was a typical YA book. I felt that the characters were underdeveloped, the plot had some holes, and it was a bit predictable. I always love a book set in a boarding school and this was no exception. The set up and suspense in this story is done so well, but the reveal is a let down. I did enjoy the suspects and their connections to the victim. It was an easy book to read and a fun distraction from a heavier book.

One thing I cannot understand is how this cover goes on the book. I think some rebranding on this book would go a long way with connecting to the right audience. Also, the fact that Luke was kidnapped years ago does not qualify him to solve a murder. He jumps to a lot of conclusions and lets the plot holes help him succeed. I think if you like YA and want a super quick story, this one's for you. Sadly it didn’t really work for me. 3 stars.
Profile Image for eda.
244 reviews9 followers
March 15, 2021
The Murder Game has such a beautiful cover!! Though, I do think the title is a bit misleading, I personally didn't feel like it matched the story well. This was a good YA mystery. I read adult mysteries more often than YA so I didn't enjoy this as much as the target audience would. It is predictable, I guessed the who the killer would be in the beginning and was correct-I left the book feeling neutral because of that. I think Luke's kidnapping didn't fit well into the novel, it didn't add anything. The characters were bland expect for Luke and Pippa but even then, they weren't very interesting to read about. The killer wasn't interesting and did not play a big enough role as I wanted them to.

Overall, the book does have some weak points but is still interesting. I think younger readers and fans of YA will enjoy The Murder Game!

Thank you to Netgalley for an eARC copy of The Murder Game!
Profile Image for Jess (oracle_of_madness).
687 reviews46 followers
March 16, 2021
I was really excited to start reading this and I was not disappointed!
Luke and Oscar are best friends and roommates at an elite boarding school, St. Benedict's. Everything is normal, these two high school buddies planning to sneak out and meet a couple girls and hang out at a make-out spot in the woods. However, this is when things get crazy, they have a scary and strange experience and find out the next day that a female member of the staff was murdered that night right around where they were hiding.
So much goes on in this book. Luke has a mysterious past that leads him into privately searching for the murderer. Not only was Luke overwhelmed with suspicion, but I was too... for pretty much everybody else in this story at certain points.
I thought this was a fun and fast-paced read. I did think there were some predictable points but that didn't stop me from enjoying it.
Profile Image for Cristy Villemaire.
283 reviews12 followers
February 18, 2022
Unreliable characters, mysterious death, and a posh boarding school, I'm in.

The murder game had a little bit of everything, angsty students, teachers with suspicious agendas and a murder that shook a whole campus. We meet several of our protagonists late at night going into the deep, dark woods for some fun. Luke Chase our main protagonist has a crush on Pippa, the new exchange student from Britain.

Chase, Pippa, Oscar and Kelsey are having a good time breaking the rules and hiding in the woods after hours, that all comes to an end when they hear voices and soon after that a body is found around those premises. What comes next is a spiral of events that will keep you guessing until the very end. I had so many theories about the culprit, but was pleasantly surprised where the author took the story and very much enjoyed this book. I will definitely read more from this author, Carrie Doyle has so many other murder/mystery books that I am very excited to read.
August 18, 2022
Had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Not much of a serious reader but let’s just say I finished the book in only a couple of days and it’s not a short one.
Profile Image for MamaBearsBookshelf.
213 reviews73 followers
April 2, 2021
The murder game is about Luke Chase who got caught up in solving the murder of Mrs. Heckler. He didn't mean to all he wanted is to spend alone time with the new girl at their boarding school.

Little did they know that someone would end up dead right next to their meet-up spot in the woods. Crazy thing is that his best friend and roommate Oscar would take the blame for the murder. Luke knows that he was to use his famous survival skills and solve this mystery and find the true killer. Is Oscar the real killer? Will Luke find the real killer? How did Luke get his famous survival skills?

This was book was good, I enjoyed it. It was an easy read, very fast past. It kept me on the edge of my seat, I love that it wasn't predictable and the secrets were all kept till the end. The story was very well-plotted. It kept me intrigued till the end. It has lots of twists and turns that I enjoyed very much. I agree with a lot of you that the title and cover could have been better.

Thank you to Netgalley and SOURCEBOOKS Fire for giving me the chance to read and review this book.
Profile Image for Kelli Wilson.
507 reviews119 followers
April 25, 2021
Elements of thriller and suspense novels, as well as a serial killer potential. Unfortunately, those elements were mostly teases, as they were never fulfilled. While it is a YA novel, the introduction of more serious topics, lead me to believe it would be a book with a stronger focus on the 'A' piece of YA. Which, I should state, is my preference within this genre.

I did enjoy this novel. It started off exciting and I was certainly pulled in and intrigued. However, it slowed down rather swiftly. Overall, I continued to feel interested just enough, to keep reading, but it wasn't a priority for me.

Ultimately, it appeared the author was torn between how intense the story should be vs a concern with maintaining the young aspect. An internal conflict that the author never resolved, as was apparent in the final presentation. That said, I saw some promise in this work. I hope it is able to be realized in future releases.

*Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire via Edelweiss+ for providing a digital advanced copy.
Profile Image for Ashley | AshleyTReads.
240 reviews11 followers
January 19, 2023
“Danger tends to follow people… Just because you’ve had a dose of it before, doesn’t mean you’re vaccinated.”

5 stars! I loved this YA Whodunnit/Thriller.

Summary: Luke was kidnapped a few years ago & escaped. Now it seems as if someone is watching him at his boarding school when the body of a murdered teacher’s wife is found in the woods on campus. Who is the killer? Is it connected? So many questions! This book was phenomenal.

I read this one with @thebookishLexi. What a fun buddy read! There were so many questions. Truly anyone could have been the killer and the book would have been wonderful. Everyone was a suspect with a motive.

This was my first Carrie Doyle novel and it will not be my last! This was the perfect read to put me in the spooky season mood. 👻

Read this if you like:
🔪YA mystery/thriller
🔪Dark academia
🔪Quick reads
🔪Fall vibes
Profile Image for BunTheDestroyer.
433 reviews4 followers
May 27, 2021
I liked it! I figured it out but i thought it was unique with Luke’s background.

The only part that threw me was chpter 28: luke looks at his place and says chicken, its always chicken…
Then 4 sentences later he says oo flatbread!! I’ll eat 3 pieces!
Then 2 more sentences later he says, “i’ll only go as far as the vending machine; i want to erase whatever that was for dinner.”
You mean the flatbread u ate 3 pieces of?? Did the author forget what was going on in the span of a few sentences?
Profile Image for Caroline David.
811 reviews
March 27, 2021
What a fun, dark, fast read. Carrie Doyle really transports you in this book and takes you on a wild ride. At every turn, you're questioning everyone which is exactly what I want in a book. I can't wait for this to hit shelves.
Profile Image for Bookworm Journal .
284 reviews12 followers
February 8, 2022
Luke Chase, the main character in this thriller is an exceptional strong and independent main character – especially for a young school lad. Probably given the age the top of the list of what I have read. He is fearless, and an all round good guy.

Can you imagine being in school, faced with a murder and having to solve it… because I really can’t.

This book follows the journey of Luke trying to figure out who the hell could have murdered one of the teachers, while being on the edge of wondering if he could be next. No he didn’t find out until it was pretty much too late, but where would have been the fun if he had.

This book was as hooking as you can imagine, with plenty of little twists along the way and one shocking revelation to who done it!!
Profile Image for Megan.
20 reviews
May 6, 2021
The Murder Game by Carrie Doyle is a YA fiction book centered around a boarding school murder. We follow the main character, Luke Chase, as he works to exonerate his best friend and roommate, Oscar, from accusations of murdering a teacher, Mrs. Heckler – the second Mrs. Heckler, that is. As a sort-of celebrity in his own right, the Kidnapped Kid, who escaped a kidnapping three years before the start of The Murder Game, Luke is poised as being uniquely capable at investigating and solving the murder of Mrs. Heckler, a murder that had taken place only feet away from where he and a few friends had gathered after sneaking out of their dorms afterhours.

To say I struggled getting through this book would be a smidgen of an understatement. I sent my friend a few screaming GIFs as she urged me on to get through it. It’s a relatively short and easy book to read, nothing too complicated despite the fact that its a YA murder mystery story; however, I found it boring and clichéd. Additionally, while the writing was, for the most part, average, the ending action scenes left a lot to be desired.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book where I wholeheartedly did not like a single character in it. In The Murder Game, almost all of the characters were strikingly unprofessional and uncaring. Reading about a school that seemed to treat a murder as a grand ol’ adventure or – disturbingly – like a joke was unpleasant. While I realize that high school aged teenagers are not the most mature of people, I don’t think a majority of them would be as blasé about it. When one of the more mature and sane students becomes upset over a “joke” that a student played the day after the murder of a teacher, even the main character is taken a little aback by the vehemence Liz displays.

For a character that really wants to present himself as mature, trustworthy, respectful, and knowledgeable, he really isn’t. Luke Chase just comes across as a douchy, better-than-thou high schooler. This isn’t a story in which the main character is left on his own to solve the mystery or one where no one would believe him. Luke Chase just decides to solve the murder on his own because he was near the murder that night and his friend is in trouble. Instead, he seems to go out of his way to impede an active police investigation. Which is especially frustrating at the end when he accuses the police of taking too long to locate the murderer when he ensured certain evidence was withheld or delayed from getting to the police.

The adults in this novel are no better. They are portrayed like the high schoolers except their age and positions are mentioned more often. When we do get characterization of the adult characters, it’s all half-formed and a little nerve-wracking. I would honestly hope that if any one of the adult characters were real people that they’d never be a teacher. The rampant unprofessionalism and downright creepiness of the adults makes me uncomfortable. It may be the boarding school setting that is supposed to make the adults act as they do but I don’t think so – I just think they’re poorly thought out characters. One of the teachers knows who the murderer is and more than likely actively witnessed it, and rather than tell the police, he’s too upset that he’s not treated like faculty and apparently also want’s to prove to Luke that his escape from his kidnapping was not a fluke.

That is batshit fucking insane (and not in a good way, not even close).

Speaking of which, I just want to say that having the skills to escape a kidnapping and having the skills to solve a murder are two different things. I’m not saying escaping a kidnapping is easy, by any means, but the fact that there are legitimate stories about people annoying their kidnappers enough to release them and that there aren’t any stories like that about solving a murder might indicate something.

Overall, I was really disappointed by this book. With a title like The Murder Game and the awesome cover art, I expected a, well, murder game. That’s not at all what I got. Additionally, there are a lot of plot points left out which I think was intentionally done so that they could be explored in book sequels. However, some of them shouldn’t have been because they would have helped make the story more interesting; would have helped characterize the characters; or because they are going to leave a lot of questions if there isn’t a sequel. I think it’s always a dangerous game to bank on a sequel to provide more information when releasing the first book in a series just in case it doesn’t go further. There are some plot points that I didn’t need elaborated further, such as Pippa’s deal – that was one I could wait for in another book – or even the Strangler – I bet he would get to make a comeback – but others should have been elaborated more, such as Luke’s kidnapping or Mr. Hamaguchi’s reaction to the murder (and the previous dead girlfriend tidbit is not enough).

With all of that being said, I’d give The Murder Game 2 stars out of 5. At the end of the day, it just left a lot to be desired. I think there was the potential for some good storytelling but what I got was way too much dialogue (I never notice the amount of dialogue unless that’s all there is and that’s what it felt like at times) and a pretty straightforward mystery that wasn’t really surprising. I wanted a body count and a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse. What I got was Luke looking at Pippa’s ass.
2 reviews
July 20, 2022
Honestly it was great I feel like it needs a second part though the ending was just kind of there
Profile Image for Lily.
61 reviews3 followers
November 11, 2022
wow! that was one of the best thrillers I've read. it has the perfect balance of plot and thrill, with a little romance thrown in. the only problem was how fast everything happened in the last 30 pages, the en was very rushed. highly recommend this to everyone!
Profile Image for Ali.
195 reviews7 followers
November 22, 2021
Murder occurs at an elite boarding school. They try to pin it on Luke’s best friend Oscar. Luke decided to find the killer as the police are looking in the wrong direction.

Nice ya thriller
Profile Image for Via ;).
63 reviews10 followers
March 6, 2023
DNF. I got 8% of the way in and it WAS HORRIBLE. Please for the sake of your own sanity do not read this book. The writing sucks (Really cringy) and the characters are not relatable in any way. This book is absolutely horrible never read it. This is also my first 1 star book on Goodreads so yep…
38 reviews10 followers
May 30, 2021
This was my first mystery book in ages that I read and I wasn't disappointed. The idea of your best friend and roommate possibly killing a teacher while you had to save him and stop him from getting framed was very innovative and somewhat scary at times. The book really gave me the chills, however I rated it a 4 because at times, there were some cliches in the book which really messed up the mood at times
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