WICKED GAME – LISA JACKSON AND NANCY BUSH – WICKEDLY AWFUL

Wicked Game – Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush

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Pros: There’s a dog named Ringo who seemed pretty cool.

Cons: Everything else.

Wicked Game by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush is listed in the “thriller” genre.  And I suppose, technically, it is a thriller.  But it flunks a lot of my personal tests for being “thrilling”.

The basic plot revolves around the case of a teenager who went missing nearly twenty years ago.  A bit on the wild side, Jessie’s friends all assumed she simply ran away.  But now a pile of bones has been discovered, and rumors are speculating that Jessie’s been found, at last.

Becca and Hudson, two of Jessie’s old friends, haven’t seen each other in nearly two decades.  But they decide to pull the old gang together, to talk about the old days.  And now suddenly the group finds themselves in danger as the bodies start piling up.

Do those bones belong to Jessie?  And if so, what truth will they reveal?  And who’s going through an awful lot of trouble to keep the secret buried?

So the premise is reasonable enough.  But the book fails on a lot of levels.  The worst problem is that I didn’t have a single person to really care about.

Becca is the main character, and I suppose I’m supposed to care if she’s in danger, or not.  But I really didn’t.  Why?  Because she is one of the worst main characters I’ve ever read about.  Stupid doesn’t begin to describe some of the things she does.  Not the least of which involve Hudson.  She’s already keeping a huge secret from him that dates back twenty years.  But, OK, I can forgive that.  After all, kids will be kids.  But now, she’s all grown up.  And she’s STILL keeping him in the dark about something vitally important, something that could have a huge impact on his life.  You’d think she might have matured just a bit since her teenage years, but apparently not.

Then there is the rest of “the gang”.  A group of people who were all buddies twenty years ago.  Interesting how they all still live in the same place.  And none of them acts like they’re any older than twenty despite being actual adults by this time.  But they all just act like the same really stupid kids they were when they back in high school.  Old jealousies are still there, petty arguments, etc.  I had to keep reminding myself that these were grown ups – men and women in their thirties, not high school kids!

And, there’s an element of “paranormal activity” that comes into play in this book.  Now this type of thing flies just fine in a certain genre of book.  Books about vampires, wizards, witches, etc.  But this book is supposed to be a thriller – it’s supposed to be about a group of normal, innocent people, who find themselves in danger for one reason or another.  So why must there be “special powers” that come into play?  Some might enjoy that element, but I don’t feel it had any place in a book like this.

And if all that weren’t enough, the ending was awful – just awful.  There are plenty of issues left unresolved, and few answers. Why?  Because there’s a sequel, of course!  So just be forewarned going in, that if you choose to read this book, there’s not much of a conclusion.  Certainly nothing that can be called “satisfactory”.

Basically, skip this book.

Also by Lisa Jackson:

Almost Dead
Malice
Never Die Alone
The Night Before
Wicked Ways

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