Game Piece ISBN: 9781644370124 Black Opal Books, a psychological thriller copyright and written by Alan Brenham.
Barry Marshall is a detective with the Temple, TX police department, eight years married to the love of his life and with a young child they both adore. His wife Erin, raised as the daughter of an Air Force Commander, is a pharmacist in a large busy local pharmacy, a job she loves and they had a most pleasant life until Barry was promoted to detective. He was a dedicated investigator, loved his work and refused to not accept any assignment that came his way. Thus, he rarely was home, missed important dates and activities that he had promised to attend with his wife and/or daughter. She was increasingly worried about his safety, producing a situation that worsened when her favorite investigator uncle was killed in the line of duty. A degree of bickering began to enter the home environment. The situation exacerbated when Marshall had become a subject of identity theft. Even worse, he had become the subject of a personal vendetta where some unknown individual set off on a serial killing spree, all of the victims were individuals with whom Marshall had had some type of altercation in the past. The obviously badly psychologically disturbed perpetrator turned it into a sick game by informing him of each killing. And finally, the husband-wife already tense situation was blown completely by Erin’s receipt of a letter with pictures included of her husband’s affair with another woman. It never occurred and was another act by the unknown person that obviously was attempting to completely wreck not only Marshall’s marriage but his life as well. The story progresses through a number of murders, Barry’s repeatedly frustrating attempts to find an answer and the deteriorated husband-wife relationship until finally a concluding violent episode is reached.
Discussion: The author is a former law enforcement officer, followed by activity as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney among his other accomplishments. The extensive knowledge he has acquired from these sources easily is evident in this psychological mystery thriller. It projects an interesting serial killer plot, the manner in which conditions such as those affecting the detective gradually affect his decisions and erode even his normal thought processes/activities and how the situation similarly affect a person such as Erin.
Conclusion: A serial killer psychological thriller/mystery several cuts above most others.
5* Psychological serial killer thriller/mystery several cuts above most others.