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Book Review: The Game You Played by Anni Taylor


Two-year-old Tommy Basko goes missing from a popular inner-city playground. 6 months later, his parents begin receiving cryptic messages in rhyme about Tommy. The police don’t believe the messages are from the abductor, but Tommy’s mother Phoebe isn’t so sure. She begins a frantic search for the writer of the rhymes, at the cost of causing her marriage to fragment. When the shocking identity of the message-writer is discovered, Phoebe’s desperate race for the truth has only just begun.

Who took Tommy? And why?

A heart-stopping psychological thriller set harbor-side in Sydney.


I have had this book on my bookshelf for quite a while. I picked it because of the cover. I loved the picture of the little boy and the harbor although the raging storm made me wonder about his safety. Anyway, The Game You Played by Anni Taylor starts off on a normal day at the playground by the harbor. Phoebe and Luke are spending the afternoon with Tommy then Luke decides to get them ice-cream and at that point, Phoebe looked away for a minutes and the next thing; Tommy was gone.

After the Tommy’s disappearance, we then skip ahead to six months later. It is evident that Tommy is still missing and as readers, we can see the turmoil that his parents are undergoing especially Phoebe. Soon, the cryptic messages start to show-up.

The story is narrated through two main POVs by Phoebe and Luke. At first, Phoebe is having a mental breakdown and then she starts to sleep walk. The sleepwalking was so scary especially because she used to leave the house and walk quite far away in search of Tommy. There were incidents that took place during these episodes but it was hard to determine the difference between dreams and reality. Things get so twisted that everyone including Phoebe herself started thinking that she is crazy. Luke’s narrations are a bit different. They focus on how he is coping with the disappearance of his son but also the stress of his wife’s depression and sleepwalking.

The book alternates between fast and slow paces. There are chapters where a lot is happening with so many twists. However, there were also slow chapters that dragged on with nothing much occurring. I also didn’t like how everyone treated one of the main characters. The disbelief and suspicion from everyone feels like a cliché. I mean almost thrillers use the same angle with the suspicions. The one person who is right is usually the one nobody believes.

However, the final chapters were pretty intense. The twist was unpredictable. Once again, I couldn’t have guessed what had happened to Tommy and who exactly took him and why. After the villain was revealed, it was interesting to see how everyone found out and they dealt with it. I definitely enjoyed the first and final sections of the book and in particular the reveal. The slow sections around the middle part of the book were my main issue with the story. Anyway, I recommend The Game you Played by Anni Taylor to fans of this genre.


6 comments on “Book Review: The Game You Played by Anni Taylor

  1. Donna
    November 13, 2016

    I’m curious about the twist and the villain you did not see coming! We too often get the same suspects in these stories and at least one person that says something true but nobody wants to believe it. Only a great writing can make me enjoy this schema anymore. Great review!

    • Diana
      November 14, 2016

      Thanks Donna.I totally get what you mean. The idea of having one character who nobody believes has been done so many times that it becomes monotonous and makes the story predictable.

  2. Annie
    November 13, 2016

    It’s always amazing when you can’t guess anything, I always want to hug the writer afterwards haha So glad you enjoyed the ending!!

    • Diana
      November 14, 2016

      Yeah that’s the best part about thrillers though lately most of them are abit predictable.Thank you 🙂

  3. 1happywhale
    November 24, 2016

    Wow! It sounds so complicated! I recently read a book in which the whole story dragged on and on but then there was suddenly this super complicated shock ending that absolutely made the whole book! I will add this to my (now unbelievably long) TBR list! 🙂

    • Diana
      November 24, 2016

      I really don’t like books like that because you may end up DNFing it only to miss out on a great ending.I almost quit reading this at some point but I’m glad I didn’t.I hope you will like it 🙂

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This entry was posted on November 13, 2016 by in Bookish Post.
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