Friday 1 February 2019


Brian Sheridan may be losing his mind. Asleep, he’s plagued by dreams of murder, women strangled with a red velvet rope then left with a playing card tucked in the corpse. While awake, he’s hallucinating that he’s being stalked by a man painted like a skeleton. It’s getting hard to know what’s real. He hopes all this is driven by his cold turkey withdrawal from a lifetime of anti-anxiety medications. But when one of his nightmare’s victims shows up on the news, dead, Brian fears he himself may be the unwitting killer...

Well, this was a Flame Tree Press ARC that I didn't know anything about, but as soon as I started I was instantly hooked.

When Brian Sheridan decides to stop taking the cocktail of medication that controls his ADHD and anxiety, he thought life would lose the endless haze he hates. He expected withdrawals, but didn't think the frightening personification of his panic attacks--that manifests as a creature called Mr. Jitters--would return. Or that every time he went to sleep he would start witnessing the brutal murder of women he doesn't know.

But when one of the victims is on the news, he realises his hallucinations might be so much more.

Detective Eric Weissbard recently retired from New York to Florida, and has gone back to work. But he gets no respect and ends up chasing all the crappy leads. Until a nervous young man comes to the station and knows details about the investigation the police haven't revealed...

Wow. This book turned out to be an unexpected gem. Not only is the concept enough to grab the reader, but the story becomes addictive, and the characters are so true to life they keep you interested. In spite of their flaws and dysfunction, I couldn't put this book down!

Brian is a mentally-scarred young man with an adoptive family who barely tolerates him, a girlfriend determined to fix him, and has a long list of mental health issues. And he's such an excellent main character. He's jittery, neurotic and delusional enough to make everyone--including himself--doubt what's going on.

He's also a really likeable guy. I felt so bad for him. The ordeal he goes through is awful.

Detective Weissbard is an awesome and talented detective willing to analyse everything. He doesn't leave any stone unturned, has more skills than his superiors and becomes the most resented guy in the office. But he refuses to ignore his gut instinct and has a caring and supportive wife. I loved their marriage, enjoyed the hell out all of their scenes.

This book is full of creepy vibes and explores some freaky tropes: twin connections, broken characters, seemingly unreliable narrator. It's a fantastic thriller with a mystery that ventures into some grim horror territory.

The Playing Card Killer totally took me by surprise. I enjoyed every single tense moment. The suspense builds from the beginning of the book but during the last fifty pages, I was on the edge of my seat because I was so invested in Brian and Weissbard.

This book blew me away because it turned out to be SO awesome.

I think I need to read more from this author.

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