Review: Dare Game by Melinda Colt

Posted December 17, 2020 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 19 Comments

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I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Dare Game by Melinda Colt
Dare Game

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
three-flames


Series: The Irish Garda Files #1
Genres: Mystery Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Indie/Self Published
Released on September 22, 2020
Pages: 374
Format: eARC
Source: Author
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The Delight

An ace of spades left at a murder scene leaves a bad feeling for an Irish Garda detective even as a lonely teenage girl discovers an enticing new online game.  This is first in an engaging new series set in Dublin with a cast of characters and suspenseful plot that pulls the reader into the story and makes one reluctant to put it down.


Review

Dare Game opens with the stunning murder of a heart specialist in her own home and it is widower John O’Sullivan’s case.  He finds few suspects, but with his team, doggedly works the case.  His biggest evidence is an Ace of Spades with a symbol written on it.  In the process of doing the neighborhood interviews, he is surprised by his interest in the new American neighbor who has just moved in.  He never thought he’d feel for another woman after his wife died, but when a bizarre twist in the case leads him back to her doorstep, he is ready to see where it all leads.

Amber Reed needed a fresh start in a fresh place so she took the job in Dublin.  She thought her daughter would be fine with the move and discovered that all her daughter’s suppressed anger from the divorce exploded when she learned of the move.  Amber is toughing out her daughter’s sullenness, relocating to a new country, and the pain from the break up of her marriage, but learning that the safe neighborhood she had moved into just had a murder leaves her chilled.  The attractive detective helps calm her, but then Hayley shares a terrifying secret that makes her turn to John O’Sullivan for help.  Dare she trust him with her heart as well as the case?

I’ve read most of this author’s books under her other pen name and they reach across a broad range of genres.  This is the first that was a murder mystery and I was excited to see how it would go.  It didn’t take long for me to forget about my curiosity and enjoy the story.

The mystery is a clever one and I enjoyed tracking along with John as he followed the leads.  Part of the mystery was easy to figure out, but there was some good layers to it that left me with a solid reveal moment.  John’s partner and the cybercrimes’ expert contributed a lot   I liked their partnership and John’s tenacious way of staying on the trail.

As to the characters, John and Amber were characters I could sympathize with and love from the start.  My heart broke for the loss he suffered when his wife died and how lonely he has been since and I was on fire for the way Amber’s ex treated her and his daughter.  But, they were good for each other and worked hard to not let the past interfere with what they had in the present.

Hayley, Amber’s daughter was the third main character and has a big role.  At first, she is simply an angry teen who gets into a situation way over her head in an effort to avoid the pain of her dad’s abandonment and her mom’s decision to take them far from all she knows.  But, then Hayley, made me proud with her choices when a shock snapped her in the face.

The author wrote a well paced and well balanced romantic suspense.  The adults had a sensual romance and the suspense fitted well around the romance.

All in all, this was a great start and I was thrilled to learn this is a series because I want more of John O’Sullivan and more murders for him to solve.  Those who enjoy police procedural and romantic suspenses that lean more toward the suspense should take a look at this one.

My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.


Challenges Met

New Release #198
COYER Quarantine #187


About the Book
Dare Game by Melinda ColtDARE GAME BY MELINDA COLT

One dead body, one ace of spades. Is the playing card an oversight, or is it a trademark?
Detective John O’Sullivan needs to find out if the murder was a one-off, or if the killer plans to work his way through a whole deck of cards. The plot thickens as his team from An Garda Síochána discovers more unsolved murders with the same modus operandi—all over the world.
Amber Reed stumbles into the middle of this mess after learning her teenage daughter is a key-player in the Dublin murder case. Determined to do the right thing, the two offer to help John, even though that puts their own lives in danger.
Pressed by time and duty, John has to protect them and crack the case before more bodies pile up on his watch.

Each book from The Irish Garda Files series can be read as a stand-alone novel and does not contain cliffhangers.


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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Anne - Books of My Heart

I’d probably like this one. It’s the genre I’m reading these days.

Sophia Rose
7 months ago

I think you’d enjoy giving it a go, too, Anne. 🙂

Ethan
7 months ago

I can’t get enough of a good mystery. The romance sounds equally well executed too!

Sophia Rose
7 months ago
Reply to  Ethan

Yes, I perk right up if there is a mystery in a story. 🙂 I thought it was a good balance of romance with mystery in the foreground.

Melinda
Melinda
7 months ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

Actually, the main genre is Mystery, the romance is just a little icing. I was confused too once, but after some research I’ve learned that if a story can stand on its own without the romance bit, then the genre is not romance, nor romantic suspense. 🙂

Sophia Rose
7 months ago
Reply to  Melinda

I always wondered how that classification worked. Thanks. 🙂

Melinda
Melinda
7 months ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

Me too! I only researched this after I wrote the first two books in the series.

Greg
7 months ago

This sounds like a nice suspenseful read. 🙂

Sophia Rose
7 months ago
Reply to  Greg

Yes, it sure was. 🙂

Melinda
Melinda
7 months ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

I’m thrilled that you liked it! xxx

Lorna
Lorna
7 months ago

I like the sound of this one but you have me curious. What’s the authors other pen name?

Sophia Rose
7 months ago
Reply to  Lorna

Oh, LOL, it’s Melinda deRoss. 🙂

Melinda
Melinda
7 months ago

Thank you so much for a great review, Sophia!

Sophia Rose
7 months ago
Reply to  Melinda

Sure thing! Pleasure to read your book, Melinda.

Melinda
Melinda
7 months ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

I appreciate your time more than I can express, and I’m so grateful that you keep reading my work. We’re going on eight years, can you believe it?

Sophia Rose
7 months ago
Reply to  Melinda

Has it been that long? LOL

I’m greedy so I can only say keep ’em coming. 🙂

Melinda
Melinda
7 months ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

I’m doing my best, ma’am! Each one takes longer, but I’m not complaining. Good things take longer, I say!

Carole Rae
7 months ago

Fun! This sounds like a beginning to a really good series

Sophia Rose
7 months ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

Yes, and I am jazzed to have book two ready to go.