Play. Survive. Win. (PSW) is a popular online multiplayer computer game. It takes place in a computer version of New York City. There are three players per game. One is the Target, one is the Protector, and one is the Assassin. The Target must follow clues around NYC until the last clue is found and deciphered. During this time, the Assassin is trying to kill the Target and the Protector is trying to keep the Target alive. The creator of the game, Archibald Grimaldi, drowned many years ago, but the game is still going strong. Unfortunately, some crazy person has brought the game into the real world. The Target is slipped a slow poison before being notified that they have been drafted into the real world version of the game. The Target either plays the game or dies.
A few years ago, Melanie Prescott (Target) and Matthew Stryker (Protector) had been unwilling players in the real world version of PSW. To get the word out about this VERY deadly version of the game, PSW is in the process of becoming a movie titled "The Givenchy Code".
Actress Devi Taylor is playing the role of Melanie. Devi has been in the public eye since she was a child star. But after being attacked three years ago, in her own home, by a crazed fan calling himself Janus, she has been in hiding. It has taken a lot of courage for Devi to come back into the spotlight. She takes her privacy extra seriously now. Devi's home is like a fortress and she lets very little slip to the media. Some of the things Devi has let "slip" are false. This gives her an extra feeling of control over her private life. The only major problem with the picture is that the leading man is her ex-boyfriend, Blake Atwood.
Blake Atwood did not intentionally humiliate Devi on Letterman's show. He knows the moment the vile words leaves his mouth that he has made a horrible mistake. That mistake costs him Devi's affection. But Blake is determined to win Devi back, no matter what it takes. Blake just happens to be beside Devi when she gets word that she is the Target and Janus is the Assassin! Knowing that Devi has less than twenty-four hours to solve the clues and find the antidote is tearing him apart. Worse, since Andy Garrison is the Protector, Blake is not allowed to help in any way, shape, or form.
**** This is the third installment of the PSW trilogy. Much time has to be spent familiarizing the readers with Devi's background, so not as much time is spent on the actual scavenger hunt. However, Devi's background is almost as interesting as the hunt itself. The main characters of the first book (The Givenchy Code) come back as minor characters in this episode. Andy played a small role in the first novel also. Now he must act out the Protector role. Since he has prior experience, this could be an asset for Devi.
One thing is for sure, once the game begins in earnest I found myself unable to even sit back in my chair. I was on the edge of my seat and reading as quickly as my eyes would move. Fans of mystery books might be able to figure out some things quicker than most readers, but all-in-all this is one intense read. Recommended! ****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.