Review: The Assassin Game

The Assassin Game - Kirsty McKay

"It is about 4:00 a.m. when they come for me.  I am already awake, strung out on the fear that they will come, and the fear that they won't."

I won't recap the basic plot, as that's covered in the blurb.  If you're worried (or hoping) this is a slasher type book, it is not.  It is a suspenseful Young Adult mystery.  There's a bit of romance, but it's more in service of the question of who the guilty party is than really romantic.  Something I actually preferred.

I enjoyed the isolation aspect.  With the island cut off from the mainland except at low tide.  Although it's not all that unique in the genre, I think it was handled well and added to the tension of the plot.  

We're fairly quickly introduced to the game, "Killer", and don't have to wait too long before it starts.  Still I found that things really picked up during the second half of the book, as it was then that I really started to find it un-put-down-able.  The first half of the book was fine, but the second half really gets good.

I had several potential suspects in mind while reading this, and kept going back and forth on who I thought the guilty party was likely to be.  It kept me guessing.

I was very impressed with the showing, not telling, in this book.  In Cate's head I could really feel the way we can freak ourselves out when stressed, just from her inner dialog.   Where you start to get spooked over things that aren't anything to be spooked over, just because you're so on edge or become suspicious of everything.

Another example of the showing, not telling, is the way I began to not trust one of Cate's friends in particular, simply due to what he said and did, and the way he said and did them.  He (to me) felt like someone who either had boundary issues or was socially inept, or he was a jerk in that fake nice way some people have a talent for.  And this was accomplished without the reader being told what to think.  I enjoyed that.

Overall I think this is a very enjoyable story for young adults who like mysteries and suspense.  

I do not think this one would do as well for those adults (like me) who enjoy reading YA.  Although well done, and having some personality of it's own, I think most adults familiar with the genre will probably find it a bit tame.