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Death GameDeath Game, by Cheryl Swanson

What would push Cooper O’Brien’s brother Jimmie to shoot and kill another teenager, one he didn’t even know? The evidence is there: a tape of the shooting, with Jimmie’s face clear as day on it. But Jimmie isn’t there to defend himself. He disappeared, leaving behind the murder weapon.

What follows is Cooper’s quest to prove her brother innocent, despite all the evidence against him. As she gathers facts, the situation becomes more and more complex. Is everyone involved in a dark, secret plot, including her ex-husband and her ex-lover? Where is Jimmie, and what would have impelled him to kill? Did his beloved video games hide a darker side to them?

Death Game hits the ground running, and doesn’t stop until the end. With this first novel, Swanson impresses with complexity of plot, intricate characters, thrilling suspense, and a final chase worthy of a James Bond movie. Swanson also gave Cooper O’Brien a sharp, gutsy, sarcastic tone that goes extremely well with her neurotic toughness.

Death Game is a satisfying read that ends in a thrilling climax, in which Cooper barely escapes with her life. Or, does it really end?

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