Author ~ Lane Swift
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 8 August 2016
Genre ~ M/M Romance, Mystery/Suspense
Winchester Crown Court, October 2035: Richard Shaw leaves, a free man.
Grief-stricken and angry, Lucas Green is hell-bent on revenge against Richard Shaw, who killed his sister. Lucas has heard of a man who can help—the handsome and urbane owner of a boutique sex shop with a head for planning crimes. But Dante Okoro has a past he’s desperate to keep buried. Though Lucas piques his interest in more ways than one, Dante turns him away. Still, he wonders if he made the right decision….
An unexpected death brings Dante and Lucas together once more. This time they can’t ignore the chemistry between them. But courting a lover with lies is a dangerous game. Dante has been spying on Lucas, convinced he has plans to kill Shaw. Lucas has been spying on Shaw, waiting for the right moment to strike. If Dante admits his suspicions to Lucas, he’ll surely lose him. If he doesn’t, Lucas might do something reckless—and end up losing everything.
Sometimes the books that end up on our e-readers are very easy to categorise. You have the genre fiction - if it has a spaceship and some white dude on the front it's probably going to be old school military sci-fi, for instance. Others are harder to place and you have to read the blurb, or even a chapter or two to be sure which tag to use. The Losing Game is one of these books. Readers expecting a crime thriller, or erotica or contemporary romance, or a futuristic social drama might have to adjust their expectations, and that's not a bad thing. What we have here is a story that quite deliberately sets out not to be pigeonholed and the effect was most enjoyable.
Firstly there's Lucas, grief stricken, depressed, a sweet and gentle man driven by a terrible injustice to contemplate actions that are completely out of character. Not just contemplate - he schemes, trains, plans with determination, while the readers pities him and doubts that he'd be able to carry through.
Dante, on the other hand, seems capable of anything. He is even apparently heartless enough to make a bet on whether Lucas will be able to commit murder or not. However his criminal past is long past and Dante has a life he relishes where he is caring for people he loves and providing a service that is very worthwhile.
Very different characters but they have one thing in common. Both of them are lonely and the real strength of the book is in how they are drawn together despite their differences. So it's a romance, and most of the action in the book contributes to bring the protagonists closer together, but it's also not so much a whodunnit as a "omg I hope he doesn't do it" and that adds a whole new dimension to the story.
It is set in 2035, the near future where tech normally only seen in spy films is quite readily obtained and we're up to 6G for cell phone coverage, which is futuristically extensive and incredibly fast, but the landscape is sufficiently familiar for the reader not to feel out of place. I'm old enough to remember when we all thought that by the year 2000 we'd be going to school by hover car and dressing in tin foil but actually domestic life hasn't changed that much and I doubt it will have changed much by 2035. It was also refreshing that the story plays out against the streets and pubs of a smallish town on the coast. This gave much of the story a trammelled feel, slightly claustrophobic, with eyes behind every curtain. The descriptions are fantastic, the tension edgy. Secondary characters are characters in their own right. I feel they went about their own business dealing with their own griefs and dramas rather than just going back into stores until the protagonists needed them again. And they were a deliciously diverse bunch, each one offering a new perspective on Lucas's grief and Dante's dilemma.
I really enjoyed the book, there was so much in it that intrigued me and I would love to know more about the characters. I plan to re-read the book in a few months to revisit some of the descriptive passages that made my breath catch.
Meet Lane Swift
Lane Swift is a fiction writer, mainly of contemporary romance, sometimes featuring a mild dash of paranormal.
She lives by the sea in Hampshire, England, with her husband, two children and two guinea pigs, and can often be found at her beach hut, imbibing coffee and dreaming up happy-ever-afters for her heroes and heroines.
Over the years, she’s worked as a waitress, a lab technician, a science teacher and a telecommunications consultant. She’s also played women’s rugby, climbed one mountain and run one marathon, but has never managed to learn how to whistle.