Dark Thrill Reviews: The Murder Game by Carrie Doyle


Four kids sneak out of their fancy prep school dorm to drink and maybe fool around in the woods. There they hear a couple of fighting, and the next day, one of their teachers, the one that was out there, Mrs. Heckler, is dead. Of these four, three are notorious: Oscar Weymouth is a smooth heartbreaker, rumored to fool around with female teachers. The British girl, Pippa, was involved in England with another mysterious death, and our protagonist, Luke Chase, survived an ordeal when he was kidnapped and had to escape through the woods. This puts them in an impossible position; they heard the strange voice of the killer but can never tell what they witnessed for fear of becoming suspects themselves. But Luke is a feisty dogged investigator, and to save his friends, he starts to question the faculty, even going so far as dropping in at their homes to discover the ugly truths behind most of the marriages on campus. One of the teachers intrigued by Luke and, in awe of his previous displayed resilience and nature smarts, is cheering him on. The other will do anything to block the search. Paranoia descends on campus; hired guards are all around, rumors of a famous serial killer resurfacing is all the students talk about. When his best friend Oscar seems to be the one that is going down for this, Luke intensifies his quest, even when all the evidence point towards him being deceived by his buddy's charm. 

This is the kind of book that I wish I could read all over again for the first time. I adored this book.  I knew I would. There's never been a fancy prep school murder drama that I haven't loved. They could be all kinds of awful, and I will still devour them. But seriously, this one is utterly compelling. Atmospheric, adventurous, brimming with great conversations, intrigue, misdirection. A deceptively grown-up for a YA mystery.  Honestly, I only realized when it was finished, it was YA. It's the kind of book that raises certain expectations; by the first scene, by example, my husband was convinced he knew who the killer was and said it was predictable, and he was completely off track. Read this, especially now; it is a perfect book for fall.