Ten years working as a prosecutor have left Meredith Delay jaded and unsure of what she wants out of life. She’s good at her job, but it haunts her. Her boyfriend wants her to commit, but she keeps him at arm’s length. Then Meredith is assigned to a high-profile prosecution involving the violent murder of a fallen hockey star. At first, it appears to be just another case to work. But when her old friend Julian is accused of the murder, it takes on a whole new dimension.
Meredith, Julian, Jonathan, and Lily were a tight-knit group in law school. But now, Jonathan’s defending Julian, and Lily’s loyalties aren’t clear. And when Julian invokes a rare—and risky—defense, Meredith is forced to confront their past.
Has something they played at as students finally were brought to death?
The Murder Game by Julie Apple begins with the murder of Nick Allan, an infamous hockey player. The accused murderer is Jillian who happens to be an old friend to the prosecutor, Meredith. In addition, Julian’s lawyer is Jonathan who is Meredith’s ex. The case was unique and interesting. It reminded me of the TV Show, The Night Of which begins the same way. As a reader, I really wanted to know exactly what happened on the night that Allan died and how Julian was connected to the murder. However, unlike in The Night Of, Julian’s does have an unusual defense which leaves Jonathan with the task of proving his client/friend’s innocence.
The story focuses on the legal proceedings. The two opposing teams have very different strategies so it was interesting to see this play out in the courtroom. The story alternates between the present and the past. The past takes us back to the law school where it all begun. Jonathan, Julian and Lily seem to have known each other before Uni. Meredith joins their little group although it feels like she is on the outside looking in. The chapters about their time at the University reminded me of How to get away with murder especially when they started taking a class in Criminal Law and have mock trials in class.
What I really liked
I liked the use of two timelines in the narration. The author did a great job by building them like two separate stories but with the same characters. The tension heightens as all the pieces fall together to reveal the connection between the past and the present. I also like the fact that there was so much mystery surrounding the murder. Only two people know exactly what happened that night but one of them is dead and the one is Julian… with his crazy defense which I will not reveal in this review. It was brilliant.
What I didn’t like so much…
The book was a bit predictable (okay the title and comparison to HTGAWM sort of gives it away) although this didn’t bother me a lot and I still liked the ending. I think that the story was also unrealistic due to all the coincidences. I mean so much had to have happened just right for everything to work out.
The Murder Game by Julie Apple is a brilliant, suspenseful legal thriller. It has a number of twists that make it quite an enjoyable read. The plot is dark and clever. I like what Catherine McKenzie did by featuring Julie Apple the protagonist in Fractured and her pen name in Murder Game which is the book that Julie was writing in Fractured. I think this book will appeal to fans of How to get away with murder and also The Night Of. If you are looking for a suspenseful, fast-paced, legal thriller then this one is for you.