Last month, I read the first book in a thriller series by Andres de la Motte entitled “Game.” I liked the novel and was curious of the direction that the series was going to take so I was happy to have a review copy of the second novel in the series, “Buzz,” to read. I started the book with a fair amount of expectation after reading the first book.
“Buzz” picks up a little after a year after the end of “Game” and finds Henrick “HP” Pettersson still on the run from the masterminds behind the game. When he decides to Dubai and has a short fling with a woman there, Anna Argos, he finds himself framed for her murder when she is killed. He is quickly cleared when the police learn that the murder was perpetrated by a professional contract killer. Still, HP feels compelled to investigate the murder as he feels like it may be connected to the Game in some way and finds himself going back to Sweden to look into the murder by getting close to Anna’s estranged husband and his company.
As HP begins to infiltrate ArgosEye, the company that Anna owned with her husband and which worked at manipulating social media for its clients, his sister finds her career in jeopardy after she is accused of misusing her power. Rebecca Normen is a bodyguard with the Swedish police who is tasked with protecting VIP’s but is suspended from her job and finds her private life in a downward spiral as well. She is being hounded by an anonymous online social media figure. When she finds a new boyfriend, she does not know that he is Phillip Argos, Anna’s widower, until it is too late and she accidentally ruins HP’s attempts to solve Anna’s murder. Now that Phillip and ArgosEye know who HP is, it may be too late to save his life.
While I thought that “Game” was an original and interesting novel, I did not get that same feeling from “Buzz.” The second novel of the trilogy seemed a little too familiar to me and lacked the urgency and intensity of the first book. While I still thought enjoyed the novel, it just did not capture my attention in the same way as “Game.” I often found my mind wandering a little during the book and did not feel compelled to find out what was going to happen next. The action was a little slower and I thought that some of the events just did not seem that important to the overall direction of the story. While it is often noted that the middle book of a trilogy can be a little slower than the first and third books, I find that I often enjoy the middle book the most as it takes the time to really set the story and provide a solid base and explanation to the rest of the trilogy. “Buzz” ran into some of that tediousness that some express with the middle book of the trilogy for me.
“Buzz” is a fairly average thriller novel that I really felt did very little to capture the momentum of the first novel or to progress the first novel much at all. While there is some connection to “Game,” I just had the overall feeling like this was a completely separate novel that just happened to have some of the same characters. The overall tone and even the writing style of “Buzz” seemed quite different than that of “Game” and I just really did not see much of a direct connection between the events of the two novels other than some stretches by the author to tie the two together. Overall, I would just say that I was disappointed in this novel. I would have probably enjoyed it more as a stand-alone novel than as a continuation of “Game” but that is, of course, impossible. I am interested to see the direction that the series takes in the final book as it may be able to pull the events of “Buzz” into the trilogy and make it a more substantive part of the story rather than the side note adventure that it seemed to me.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Atria Books for this advanced review copy. “Buzz” is available now.