This review is written with thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for my copy of Murder Game.
Detective Sergeant (DS) Ruby Preston is back with her team. She is called to an incident where a victim has been murdered, her ring finger has been removed and photographs of her, first alive, then tortured, then dead have been sent to her husband. Ruby must find the killer before any more women are killed. As the investigation deepens, Ruby learns about a murderer dubbed the "Lonely Hearts Killer", Mason Gatley, who was convicted ten years ago. The murders follow a similar pattern, so Ruby is compelled to speak to Mason to find out what he knows. Does he hold the key to solving the murders, or is he stringing Ruby along?
Murder Game is the third instalment in the Ruby Preston series, and I was looking forward to seeing her character develop even further with this novel. I was surprised that Ruby's relationship with Nathan Crosby, frowned upon by her colleagues as Nathan has a chequered criminal history, appeared to take a back seat this time, but I was pleased to see Ruby begin to build bridges with daughter, Cathy. The lighter focus on Ruby's personal life allowed her to get her teeth into the investigation, and this helped me to see the more professional side of Ruby, both in terms of her determination to catch the killer and her friendships with her colleagues, particularly Luddy. Mitchell's background as a police officer gives the procedural element of Murder Game more authenticity than other series of a similar nature.
The "murder game" in which Ruby is embroiled in this novel is fascinating. Mitchell takes the reader to exclusive hotels and golf clubs, and this created an extra layer of intrigue for me as it is not an environment with which I am familiar. It also takes Ruby out of her comfort zone and it was interesting for me to see her reactions in different situations. The investigation is fast paced, as the race against time to find the killer heats up, and there are many unexpected situations before the crimes are solved. All the way through, I was rooting for Ruby and her team, and was gripped by thoughts of what would happen next.
I hope this is not the last we have seen of DS Ruby Preston.
Murder Game is available from Amazon.