Complex, well written, unconventional thriller
Deadly Games it's the third book in the Dead Trilogy series. However, I think it stands alone. The author does a great job introducing each of her characters and any background essential to their role in the current book. The Dead Trilogy is about a group of CIA operatives, their friendship, the aftermath of a mission gone wrong due to the greed and the betrayal from one of them. It focuses on the covered up alliances, that would change their lives forever.
When Dr. Rufin, the scientist who designed the most booming illicit drug, is gone missing, rumored of being held by the CIA, Minh Tran, an Asian drug trafficker sole peddler of said drug, kidnaps CIA analyst Madison Kohlmeyer. Madison briefly dated CIA operative Rocco Taylor, while they remain friends, their liaison is over, but Minh Tran ignores this, and demands Rocco's surrender for the death of Tran's youngest son, who Rocco killed during a mission. Plus a trade of Dr. Rufin for Madison.
An exchange the CIA would never agree to do, so Rocco is on his own to save Madison.
Until there it's the conventional thriller where the hero must rescue the heroine. Well, where Deadly Games becomes strikingly unconventional is that while we know Rocco is the hero, soon we learn that Madison is not the only woman in jeopardy. There is Gena Armstrong , the love of the life of Rocco, and with who he shares a brokenhearted past.
Sometimes it's like we have two heroines, but wait, there is more. We have two villains as well. Gena's vindictive sadistic ex husband, a former CIA operative gone MIA, and a traitor - Harry Gamble is lurking in the shadows, using Minh Tran's scheme to get his hands on Dr. Rufin to sell the drug formula to a South American drug cartel, and while he is at it, take painful revenge with Gena and Rocco.
So Rocco and Gena unwillingly reunite against who they really have no idea. I must stop now to avoid spoiling any of the surprising twists of this offbeat storyline. Deadly Games is an engaging story, meticulously researched and well written. For those of us who love thrillers, this is a fantastic read. It even includes some paranormal elements. I also like the sensitive insightful way the characters are developed. Above all, Cate Noble wrote Deadly Games in a way it makes its premise entirely plausible.