First Line: "I can't choose," Brandy Inkrott said. "I want to kill them all."
There's a secret, wildly expensive game of Tag being played on the streets of Chicago. It's "Tag, You're It" with a twist: if you get tagged, you get dead. Three spoiled, entitled "Its" have bought a place in the game, and they've carefully selected their innocent "Runners."
The lives of their loved ones have been threatened, so the runners are alone with only one desire: to survive. Technical wizardry controls the game. Every thirty minutes the smartphones locked on their wrists transmits their locations to their Its. The game will not end until someone is tagged. It all boils down to this: the runners must choose how to play the game. Accept death? Murder their Its? Or use their strengths to stop the game before anyone dies?
J.C. Lane (AKA Judy Clemens) has written a fast-paced thriller with fascinating technology and appealing characters. It's easy to take sides here. Beautiful girl-next-door Laura, talented athlete Tyrese, and gamer extraordinaire Amanda are being chased by three spoiled brats who don't like being bested by anyone-- especially if they're not a part of the proper social class.
What really takes center stage in Tag, You're Dead is how Laura, Tyrese, and Amanda can possibly win the game with the deck stacked so high against them. Once they realize what's really happened, once they've calmed down, and once they begin formulating their own strategies, the book really takes off.
Writing as Judy Clemens, J.C. Lane has written the marvelous Stella Crown mysteries, which I've read and enjoyed. It's good to see her writing something completely different and just as engaging.
Tag, You're Dead by J.C. Lane
Poisoned Pen Press © 2016
Hardcover, 334 pages
Source: Net Galley