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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very imaginative read..
Richard has proven once again, he is a master at making your mind go wild with images of what he's writing. Magic, Mayhem and Mischief!, brilliant.

If you have not read Richards other novels, do so!
Published on 9 Sep 2008 by Karen Hinojosa

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pretty good thriller.
Runaway girls are turning up brutally murdered, in various bizarre ways, in the city of Philadelphia. Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balazano are on the case, trying to hunt down the sadistic killer.

I thought Play Dead was a pretty good thriller. Having read a number of books in this series, I think the Byrne/Balzano partnership works quite well. The plot...
Published on 13 Jan 2011 by J.Flood


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very imaginative read.., 9 Sep 2008
By 
This review is from: Play Dead (Hardcover)
Richard has proven once again, he is a master at making your mind go wild with images of what he's writing. Magic, Mayhem and Mischief!, brilliant.

If you have not read Richards other novels, do so!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Play Dead - Richard Montanari, 1 Oct 2008
By 
S. Lloyd (Norfolk, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Play Dead (Hardcover)
Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano are called to a scene where a dead girl is found in a glass display case. Then a phone call is received which appears at first to help them in their investigations but in fact sends them on a hunt and is the beginning of a deadly killer's psychological warped game.
This is a story that takes you into the mind of a twisted killer. There is realistic characterisaion - the relationship between the 2 detectives is so natural - there isn't a word wasted and the dialogue is sharp.
The plot has an energy that never flags and contains unforeseeable twists. There is also a strong sense of place in that the setting is so well described that you feel you are in and know Philadelphia.
Montanari is going from strength to strength - he must be one of the best crime/thriller writers about at the moment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back On Top Form, 4 Dec 2008
By 
molko (Surrey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Play Dead (Hardcover)
Play Dead is the fourth installment from Richard Montanari's highly enjoyable philadelphia set series featuring homocide detectives Richard Byrne and Jessica Balzano. And after a bit of a dip in standards with his last book Broken Angels i'm happy to say that he is back on top form with this one.
I hate to admit it but I talked myself into buying this book in hardback primarily because the cover is truley amazing. One of the best pieces of artwork i've seen on a book of this genre. However you should never judge a book by its cover as they say and therfor the proof is in the pudding... and boy does this deliver.
It's a bit of a slow starter which is really the only downside, for after the first 50 pages it really is a one-sitting read. Montanari is a master story teller and manages to weave several story lines tightly intertwining into a greatly thrilling read.
A must for fans of the genre and anyone that has been following this series from the begining but it's best to start at the beggining with The Rosary Girls
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Puts Montanari in the premier league, 11 Oct 2008
By 
Phil Robertshaw (North Somerset) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Play Dead (Hardcover)
This is an author who is getting better and better. Following on from The Rosary Girls, Skin Gods and Broken Angels, Play Dead again features Philadelphia homicide detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano.

This latest novel features another twisted killer who delights in playing games and setting puzzles. The central theme connecting his murders is deliciously evil and Montanari is skilled at weaving all the strands of the novel together into a cohesive, just-one-more-chapter thriller. You can't help but like the central characters and care about what happens to them. Here there are hints of developments in Byrne's personal life, but these never get in the way of the central storyline.

Definitely one of the best crime novels I've read this year. Richard Montanari cements his status as a 'must-read' author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good... but not his best, 26 July 2009
This review is from: Play Dead (Hardcover)
Probably if this book was written by any other author i would have given it 5 stars. But seeing that Montanari is one of my favourite ones (have read all of his books)i always expect something special that makes it different somehow from the usual serial killer thrillers that we have no shortage of. And this one certainly wasnt any different. The killer is revealed early on so the story didnt hold real surprises except for a few minor ones. Although on the upside of this is that the author had the possibility to give us detailed account of the killer s life from his childhood to the present which reminded me a little of Thomas Harris s great book Hannibal Rising.
By the way, this is another book in the Balzano/Byrne series. Two very likeable characters, with none of the usual boring problems that every cop has to have apparently according to the average author. Except that Byrne is still in love with his ex wife and that makes him more likeable than ever. What i didnt like is that this novel is extremely similar to his previous two and i m surprised it wasnt mentioned here in none of the reviews. I read them one after the other, maybe that s why i felt it strongly. In The Skin Gods the theme was famous Hollywood films, in Broken Angels it was fairy tales and here it is Magic. So this one was definitely repetitive frankly and hopefully the next book in this series will be a bit different. Other than that i didnt like the character called Lily. In my humble opinion, the book already had too many protagonists without adding this one in. Found her role entirely unconvincing. However, all in all it s a very good read, with those short chapters a la James Patterson that makes u want to read just one more before retiring for the night. And that house of horrors is guaranteed to give u nightmares.... So yes good thriller but not Montanari s best and most original.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the rest, 1 Sep 2008
By 
A. Verrinder - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Play Dead (Hardcover)
I've read all the books in this Byrne/Balzano series so far. Although I found them all good enough to keep reading there were aspects in all of them before this one that were cliched and repetitive and prevented the excellent characterisation and atmospheric locations fully delivering for the reader. But Mr Montanari worked it out, this latest book is a truly great read, I highly recommend it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but sadly not great, 22 Aug 2011
This review is from: Play Dead: (Byrne & Balzano 4) (Paperback)
I read this book in a day and although I didn't think it was up to his usual standard, I strangely could not put it down. The plot had me guessing right to the end, as do all his other books as he is such a great storyteller. I particularly loved the unexpected twist, that I certainly didn't see coming.

Can not wait to read the next novel featuring Philadelphia's finest Detectives, Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pretty good thriller., 13 Jan 2011
By 
J.Flood (Dublin,Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Play Dead: (Byrne & Balzano 4) (Paperback)
Runaway girls are turning up brutally murdered, in various bizarre ways, in the city of Philadelphia. Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balazano are on the case, trying to hunt down the sadistic killer.

I thought Play Dead was a pretty good thriller. Having read a number of books in this series, I think the Byrne/Balzano partnership works quite well. The plot held my interest throughout, as the detectives try to track down this particularly nasty killer, before he can strike again. Overall, not quite a page turner, but worth a look.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Passable thriller - nothing more, nothing less, 7 Jun 2009
By 
This review is from: Play Dead: (Byrne & Balzano 4) (Paperback)
This novel has garnered some very positive reviews but I found it difficult to see what all the fuss was about. "Play Dead" is a readable, quite well-written thriller, but nothing special, and does not distinguish itself from the hundreds of crime novels out there along similar lines.

The plot follows Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano, who are on the trail of a serial killer who has been picking out his victims from runaway girls in Philadelphia. This storyline trundles along reasonably well for the most part, particularly in the early stages, but loses plausibility and momentum near the end, despite the author's attempts to ratchet up the tension. This is in part due to the fact that Montanari falls back on cliche and the use of stock serial killer novel set-pieces in order to resolve his story.

Regarding characterisation, Byrne and Balzano seem to have their fans but in this novel I found them both to be very one-dimensional characters with little personality or likeability factor. The killer is slightly better-rendered but there was something a little too familiar and derivative about this cunning game-playing serial killer and the various tricks he employed here. It is also disappointing that the more minor characters, without exception, are underwritten. The "Lilly" character and her backstory and motivations are particularly unconvincing.

This is not a bad book and whilst it lacks originality, I appreciate that novelty is a hard thing to achieve in a crowded genre. On the other hand, "Play Dead" is neither gripping nor memorable and its characters did not strike a chord with me as a reader. This makes this book difficult to recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 25 May 2014
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Love his books and this one did not disappoint. Couldn't put it down, can't wait for the next one.great read!
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Play Dead: (Byrne & Balzano 4)
Play Dead: (Byrne & Balzano 4) by Richard Montanari (Paperback - 9 April 2009)
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