Published: 24th March 2017
Author: Ian Wingrove
Roxanne Payne is the star of The Tournament, a game show that allows its audience of millions to feel what the contestants feel. Only Roxanne doesn’t feel much since the teenage trauma of her mother’s suicide, which is what makes her the Queen of Pain. Retired Met police detective, Tom Barlow, is hired to keep her alive when death threats turn real, and in the process Roxanne becomes his deadly obsession. But is he really willing to risk everything to keep her alive?
Set in a dystopian near future, Tom Barlow’s life is split apart as he tracks killers, protects the woman he loves and re-discovers the man he used to be. Across eighteen days – in a parallel story to the one depicted in Dead Poor – Tom’s life becomes entwined with that of Alexandria (Lex) de Montford, in a world of deceit, double-cross and death. Is she angel or demon? Is Tom all that he pretends to be? ‘And will Roxanne find freedom or death as she approaches the final show?
Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book published in 2017. An interesting book that definitely picks up more at the end. There are a lot of players in this game, so much so that it can take a while to keep track of them all. The main ones stand out more but you can at times feel a little lost as to who people are and how they are connected. Just hold on until the end where all will be revealed.
You have Roxanne (aka Angelique) who is the queen of pain within the Feel.it game show. A part in the show though as ‘Roxanne’ was created and from that has become the shows commodity brand. Making those in power very rich, but not always in control. Others behind the scenes appear to be pulling more strings than first thought. The game show itself has the Tournament Knights take on contestants or Immortal fighters (robots) to see who can fight to the end to be the winner. The suits they wear show where they feel pain from being attacked and the idea is that the people watching can feel that pain too. Tap out when you’ve had too much but it seems Roxanne has closed off from feeling anything (pleasure or pain) making her the champion to beat. The reason for closing off all emotions, and being able to handle any pain, is to do her witnessing her mother’s suicide. A big game is coming up though so she needs to be on her a-game. Seems it’s not just in the show either as death threats and attempts start rolling in. She needs someone to protect her and get her to the final show. But who is really playing the lead in this master’s game of chess?
Tom and his team have been called in by Colonel Malthouse to help manage the situation. They have to first check out what Feel.it security, head guy Ray, have been doing wrong and find a way to watch Roxanne better. Seems the further they are led in one direction with attacks and threats the further they are taken away from what is real and what has been created to look real. Not figuring things out until they smack you in the face. But when things get bad you know they will come through.
Tom’s fascination with Roxanne started from her first appearance on the show and to see her in flesh is a thrill but also an awakening for both of them. She can’t feel and he closed himself off after events in his past went sour. The longer in each other’s presence the more tangled the web gets. Can they trust each other with their secrets as well as their bodies? Seems Roxanne wants to become Angelique again but losing their moneymaker would be bad. This could be one reason for the attacks but it seems others have their reasons too and each intricately link to another.
Will the gamemaster might be playing a game he can’t win and it seems his loyalties to his past, and Roxanne, take a back seat to his future. Ray his right hand man and head of security, namely supposedly protecting Roxanne, was a nasty piece of work and you know he will get his comeuppance. With Alexandria, Lex to a select few, I could never get a feel for what side she was really playing on. Helping the Feel.it company as PR guru for Will or helping her friend Roxanne who is being led down a dangerous path? Only nearer the end that you see she likes to have her hands in a lot of pies but will always look out for her best interests.
A story of lies, intrigue, pain and love. Lets see what players make it to the end.
4 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.