Book Review: A Deadly Game

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Title: A Deadly Game
Author: Virginia Smith
Publisher: Steeple Hill Books
Date: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-44428-1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Reviewed by: Holly Wolfe

It’s no mystery why Virginia Smith is enjoyable to read. A Deadly Game has likable characters, high stakes, strong verbs, and a clever, intricate plot-all combined in a rich setting in and around Lexington, Kentucky.

Starting with a dead body, Smith leads us on a merry chase with a mysterious puzzle that must be solved to keep the killer at bay. The unique game is an inherent part of the plot, not like some puzzling-solving stories where there are clues thrown in almost randomly. As a writer and lover of words, the game is enticing because the solution to each riddle is based on knowing obscure facts and word meanings. Who knew that another word for Corvette is warship? The clues also force the protagonists to travel beautiful and interesting parts of northern Kentucky, a geographical chase that highlights and enhances the story. Smith uses just the right amount of detail to make you feel like you’re there without making you feel like you’re on a travel show.

Heroine Susanna Trent is the unmarried guardian of her three-year-old niece and an executive secretary who finds her murdered boss. The dead guy leaves her strange tokens and clues that the killer badly wants. She has a dreadful history with rich men and cops, so it’s with chagrin that she joins forces to solve the puzzle with hero Jack Townsend, the son of a billionaire. His charm, chivalry, and good manners are not what she expects. I really like how Smith shows Jack’s Christianity. Instead of being told about his great character, his actions clearly demonstrate love, patience and grace.

A Deadly Game is a light, entertaining read with just the right amount of love and suspense…with the added bonus of clever clues for the puzzle-lovers among us.

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