Kill Game (Crabbypatty’s Review)

Title: Kill Game (Seven of Spades #1)
Author: Cordelia Kingsbridge
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: October 23, 2017
Genre(s): Murder / Suspense
Page Count: 297
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5


Homicide detective Levi Abrams is barely holding his life together. He’s reeling from the fallout of a fatal shooting, and his relationship with his boyfriend is crumbling. The last thing he’s prepared for is a serial killer stalking the streets of Las Vegas. Or how he keeps getting thrown into the path of annoyingly charming bounty hunter Dominic Russo.

Dominic likes his life free of complications. That means no tangling with cops—especially prickly, uptight detectives. But when he stumbles across one of the Seven of Spades’s horrifying crime scenes, he can’t let go, despite Levi’s warnings to stay away.

The Seven of Spades is ruthless and always two moves ahead. Worst of all, they’ve taken a dangerously personal interest in Levi and Dominic. Forced to trust each other, the two men race to discover the killer’s identity, revealing hidden truths along the way and sparking a bond neither man expected. But that may not be enough to protect them.

This killer likes to play games, and the deck is not stacked in Levi and Dominic’s favor.

There is a lot to like about this well-crafted story of a serial killer, The Seven of Spades, who murders those they feel are guilty (and may not have been fully prosecuted), leaving a playing card – the seven of spades – on the dead bodies.

Detective Levi Abrams is fulfilling his dream of a job in law enforcement, while Stanton, his boyfriend of three years, fears for Levi’s life daily. Stanton is a beautifully drawn secondary character – a man who knows Levi so well he regularly orders the perfect meal for him when they dine out, yet doesn’t understand just how much Levi hates that Stanton does this. They love each other, but are beginning to realize that maybe love doesn’t automatically make everything right.

Dominic Russo is a man of contradictions – a recovering gambler living in Las Vegas, a former Army Ranger at odds after serving two tours who becomes a bounty hunter. There is an absolutely sizzling sexual attraction between the two, but for most of the book Levi is still with Stanton. After Levi gets very drunk he kisses Dominic, who says:

“Stop. I’m not that guy. […] The guy you cheat with because you’re mad at your boyfriend. That’s not me.”

And when they finally have sex at 80% into the story, it is definitely worth the wait! The characters are well-developed and not perfect, complex and richly detailed.

Knightsbridge’s writing style is clear and compelling and really grabs your interest from page one and keeps you involved to the very end. The murder / mystery plot is very tightly-constructed and although it appears the case is solved at the end of Kill Game … this story is not over.

4.5 stars and I highly recommend this book!

Seven of Spades Series

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Galley copy of Kill Game (Seven of Spades #1) provided by Riptide Publishing via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend. My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh ... not in my wheelhouse, but I'm a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre. Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more. A few "badges" from NetGalley: 100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader