Today I am sharing my thoughts on The End of the Game by Holly Watt, book four in the Casey Benedict series. My thanks to publisher Raven Books for providing an early copy via Netgalley. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
Only a journalist goes where even the police fear to tread….
Casey Benedict is the globe-trotting star reporter at London paper The Post, is tenacious, fearless, inventive – and still in recovery after her last major story jeopardised her life, and all of those close to her.
Invited to spend the day at the races, she sees a man being hunted across the racecourse. A horrified Casey intervenes to save his life – and in doing so finds herself face to face with her next major investigation.
From London to Budapest, from snowy mountain retreats to glitzy Mediterranean coastal resorts, Casey is on a desperate hunt to find the person behind the shadowy organisations responsible and expose them to the public before anyone else’s lives are lost.
I’ve really enjoyed catching up with Casey Benedict again. It’s fair to say that in The End of the Game, Casey is still struggling with the aftermath of events that unfolded in The Hunt and the Kill, and it is, in part, the emotional toll of this that informs some of what comes to pass in her latest investigation. It is easy for her friends and colleagues, even the police, to write off Casey’s assertions as being driven by paranoia and a desire to be able to rewrite the past but, as we follow Casey’s investigation, as we learn more about the corruption that is driving all of the ill deeds being uncovered, it’s clear that there is far more to this story than meets the eye. History is about to be brought front and centre, and for Casey, this could prove to be her very lat investigation.
The book takes readers deep into the world of gambling. Online betting to be precise, and the people that seek to cheat the odds, often loading them in their favour. Corruption, match fixing, insider knowledge and enhanced computer based algorithms all inform the investigation, but as to the root cause of all of the destruction that unfurls throughout the course of the book, it will be a long time until the truth is revealed. I liked the way in which Holly Watt built the tension throughout the book. As readers, we know and trust Casey, trust her judgment and her nose for a story, even if, at times, emotion did seem to overwhelm her common sense. But the author has kept the antagonist just at the edge of our vision this time around. Not quite invisible, there is often a very clear and over threat which present itself, but just hidden enough that you are not sure if it is Casey’s imagination that is working overtime, especially as she becomes more wrought at every turn in the investigation.
I like Casey as a character. Like her conviction and her dedication to a story. it’s fair to say that it almost becomes an obsession this time around, and there are times when her life really is under direct threat which keeps the tension and the pace of the story really high. There is a large amount of emotion, and perhaps resignation, on Casey’s part which comes through in the narrative, but there is also that part of her that you know can’t give up. She is a master at tracking down a story, no matter the costs, and this time, it really does come close to costing her everything. I may have guessed a couple of the small twists in the story but they were not enough to impact upon the big reveal towards the end of the book, The real reason that Casey has become mixed up in this latest case, and the real threat to everything she holds dear.
This is a compelling thriller. Intriguing enough to capture my attention right from the start, and with a broad array of characters. Although I have little interest in sport – pretty much at the heart of this story – the concept is very clever, and the possibilities had a really plausible feel. The author’s own experience as a journalist lends this whole series a really authentic feel, and there are enough heart thumping moments to keep me very satisfied and racing through the pages. The ending satisfied completely, although it has made me wonder what next for Casey because there is no doubt she has been forced to confront demons from her past and some memories are hard to forget.
Fast, tense and packed with intrigue and action, if you love the series, you are going to love this one too. A brilliant addition and definitely recommended.
About the Author
As an investigative journalist, Holly Watt worked on MPs Expenses and the Panama Papers. She has written for the Sunday Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian. She lives in London.
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