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Monday, 30 November 2020

‘A Game of Minds’ by Priscilla Masters

Published by Severn House,
30 October 2020.
ISBN: 978-0-7278-9082-54 (HB)

When forensic psychiatrist Dr Claire Roget receives a call from DS Zed Willard it comes as something as a surprise as they haven’t always seen eye to eye in the times they have met over previous cases. Hesitantly he explains that the killer Jonah Kobi who is currently serving four life sentences for the killing of four schoolgirls has always denied killing a fifth schoolgirl, and that he, Zed, is sure that he did it.  Zed is equally certain that Kobi is keeping back that information as his last card. Could Claire, as a psychiatrist find the right approach to get the truth out of him. He tells her she is his last hope.

It's been six years since fourteen-year-old Marvel Trustrom went missing, and her body never found. Now Marvel's father Tom Trustom, is terminally ill and is desperate to know what happened to his daughter before he dies.

Before speaking with Kobi Claire researches his background, giving her a long list of people, she feels that should speak with before attempting to tackle the huge job that DS Zed Willard has asked her to do.  Marvel’s family are all reluctant to talk with Claire.  Most are hostile – saying they have put it behind them and are getting on with their lives. 

Claire’s first meeting with Kobi is non-productive he is arrogant, and narcissistic. He denies killing Marvel saying she wasn’t his type. Claire is aware that he will continue to see her as he is enjoying the attention. Can she by her questions lure him into giving himself away. But as the meetings continue Kobi begins to make hints deflecting the attention away from himself, but by doing so ensuring that Claire continues to visit him. Soon Claire is drawn into a battle of minds with a dangerous psychopath. 

But Kobi isn’t Claire only problem.  She works at Greatbach Secure Psychiatric Unit with several unpredictable patients one in particular is causing her a great deal of concern. Her registrar Australian Simon Bracknell is also her lodger. Which as been working well for them both, but then a complication arises which also becomes problematic.

Grant, her ex-partner, who one day without warning left the house they shared and never contacted her, is now back in touch. Six months passed before she learned of the reason why he left, and now that reason is no longer a problem, he wants to share her life again.  Although Claire can see a possible further problem on the horizon, she is clearly still in love with him. However, despite the feelings that he rekindles in her, I found it difficult to warm to him.   Will she, won't she?

This is the third book in the Claire Roget series and although it works perfectly as a standalone, I urge you to read the two earlier ones.  To this end I have been circumspect in not giving to much away, regarding Claire’s personal life.

As with all previous books by Masters, it is cleverly and intricately plotted. There are clues and red herrings, and the characters are well-drawn. This book is most highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Sirett

Priscilla Masters was born in Halifax, and brought up in South Wales, one of seven multi-racial children adopted by an orthopaedic surgeon and his Classics graduate wife. Priscilla trained as a registered nurse in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. She moved to Staffordshire in the 1970s, had an antiques business for a while and two sons. She started writing in the 1980s in response to an aunt asking her what she was going to do with her life! Winding up the Serpent was her first Joanna Piercy story, published in 1995.  Although that series is still continuing, she has also written several medical standalones and a new series featuring coroner Martha Gunn, set in Shrewsbury. Her latest series features forensic psychiatrist Dr Claire Roget. A Game of Minds is the third book in the series.

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