From Goodreads: In the second installment in a new crime trilogy, a young man is on the run to escape a “game” that blurs the lines between reality and fiction, from an award-winning Swedish author and former policeman.
It’s been four months since he was dragged into the Alternative Reality Game that nearly cost him his life, and HP is still on the run. He has everything he ever wished for—freedom, money, and no responsibilities, but he still isn’t happy. Plagued by insomnia and paranoia, HP misses the rush and attention of The Game. Sometimes he almost wishes the Game Master would find him.
In Dubai, HP meets Anna Argos, a sophisticated and beautiful Swedish IT millionaire. When she disappears, HP is questioned by the police. Fearing he has been found by The Game, HP returns to Sweden after being released from custody. Determined to uncover the truth about Anna’s disappearance, HP uses a fake identity to apply for a job at ArgosEye, the company Anna worked for. In the business of online information management, ArgosEye is involved in some questionable practices, under the control of Anna’s husband, the CEO Philip Argos.
Meanwhile, HP’s sister Rebecca has started dating Philip Argos. When she unknowingly reveals her brother’s real identity to Philip, the police try to bring HP in for questioning again. On the run again, HP refuses to give up and tries to uncover what is really happening at ArgosEye. Before he can find the truth, HP is stopped in his tracks. Thinking he’s about to be thrown in prison, HP is taken to the outskirts of the city and left in the woods, where an elderly man hands him a piece of paper. HP believes the game is over, but is it really just beginning?
Whereas I really didn’t care for the first novel in this series, Game, this second one definitely sparked my interest and kept me on my toes as I read. It’s so much better than the first, in my opinion, mainly because I felt it was more cohesive, especially with the alternating stories between HP and his sister Rebecca, but also because HP has toned it down a bit; he’s actually not as despicable or annoying as I found him to be in the first novel. I’d say he’s grown up a bit, but that’s not really it–he’s just more interested in what’s happening around him and to others than to just himself, which makes him a much more likable character. Though certainly not selfless, he is a little warmer towards his fellow denizens of the world, and that really had an impact on me as a reader.
The storyline in this second novel is also a lot easier to follow than in the first, or at least it was for me. Perhaps I just have a better understanding of de la Motte’s writing at this point, but I really think this novel flows a lot better, and the story is much more interesting for me, especially as I now like the two main characters. Rebecca, HP’s sister, also had a bigger part and her actions had a lot more meaning for me in this one. Although it irked me that the siblings never shared anything with each other, which would have saved them each a lot of headache and fear, I enjoyed that their stories made more sense and were much more cohesive and interesting.
de la Motte is a very good writer and I really enjoyed his look into the “what if” world of computers and money. If you’re looking for a crime thriller, I’d definitely recommend this novel, even if you didn’t care for the first. Four stars.
Atria Books has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on January 7, 2014.