The Murder Game by Julie Apple (or Catherine McKenzie) sets up a an usual murder plot that takes years to come to fruition. Yes, as several reviewers have mentioned, there is definitely a The Secret History vibe to the book, but TMG moves at a faster pace and doesn't get bogged down with all of the erudition of TSH.
A combination of psychological thriller and legal drama, The Murder Game pulls the reader into the lives of four friends who were close-knit in law school, but have largely gone their separate ways since. Apple/McKenzie quickly establishes that atmosphere of slight unease that continues to increase.
Alternating chapters switch back and forth from the present to a decade or more earlier during the law school years, giving the reader some necessary background about personalities and situations. Was it just a game at the time of its conception? Julie's account obviously omits certain information that leaves both past and present somewhat ambiguous.
The characters remain sort of clinical despite the details given to "warm them up," and yet that is precisely what is required in this type novel--a since of distance.
Read in Sept.; blog review scheduled for Oct.
Mystery/Suspense/Legal Thriller. Nov.1, 2016. Print length: 303 pages.