DUELING REVIEWS: Kill Game by Cordelia Kingsbridge

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Author: Cordelia Kingsbridge
Book: Kill Game
Series: Seven of Spades, Book #1
Page/Word Count: 297
Categories: Gay Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Release Date: October 23, 2017
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: G.D. Leigh

Blurb: 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.

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About the Seven of Spades Series:
Las Vegas has never seen a serial killer like the Seven of Spades.

The self-styled vigilante is on a mission to cut down the wicked and treacherous, and Sin City has no shortage of targets for their bloody wrath. What happens in Vegas . . . ends with the Seven of Spades’s calling card on a grisly corpse.

Standing against the killer are Levi Abrams, a dedicated homicide detective locked in a constant struggle to restrain his own dark side, and bounty hunter Dominic Russo, a charming rogue with a heavy secret weighing on his shoulders.

The hunt for the Seven of Spades sends Levi and Dominic on a collision course, igniting a passionate relationship forged in conflict and sealed with blood. Together they’re stronger than the sum of their parts, but a wily, elusive serial killer isn’t the only threat that will strain their bond to the breaking point.

Ante up, because the Seven of Spades is all in. Are you?


5✨s – Unlike Natalie, this is my first Cordelia Kingsbridge book, but it will not be my last. I read this in one sitting (part of which was spent on the floor next to the outlet so my tablet wouldn’t die) and I loved every second of it. It’s no secret that Mystery & Suspense is by far my favorite genre and this not only delivered an exceptionally well thought out whodunit, it’s going to string me along for five books! Five!!

Now, some might say, ‘Jessie, you hate cliffhangers.’ Yeah, yeah, I do so hate them, but this didn’t feel like one. I don’t know how to explain it other than to say that I can so clearly see what Levi and Dominic are building, that I have no doubt in their HEA. The case in this book nearly has the appearance of being wrapped up, so even though it isn’t, it was enough of a smoke screen to give that feeling of completion. And as far as the Seven of Spades killer goes, part of the fun is figuring it out and I haven’t. How many Mystery books have you read where you picked out the killer by the 50% mark? Natalie and I went back and forth, we have ideas, some of which would be heartbreaking, but we don’t know. And we won’t know for five books!!

As long as the author stays the course, stringing us along while giving us a satisfying, contained plot in the next four, she’ll have a fan for life.


5✨s – I’ve read Cordelia Kingsbridge before, so I was expecting a good story but this was so much more than good! It had so many elements I love to find in a book: a troubled detective, a big hunky bounty hunter, a serial killer, and spine chilling suspense. Plus some hot sex and a budding romance. This isn’t just a slow burn romance, there’s barely a spark as the story begins. Levi is in love and living with his boyfriend but there’s serious trouble in paradise. Dominic indulges in serial hookups from his bartending job in a gay bar. They don’t actually get together until near the end of the story.

Developing the attraction is a process that grows during their investigation but there is no cheating! Inappropriate timing maybe, but both characters are aware and adult about the situation. I loved, loved that none of the characters were given stereotypical personalities. Levi is thoughtful and insightful, feels things deeply, is uptight but not rigid or dogmatic. Dominic is a 6’5” beast but doesn’t use it to intimidate, depending on his intelligence more than his brawn. The suspense is phenomenal with the identity of the killer completely obscured; not just a red herring, but an entire school of fish. I think I even suspected Levi and Dominic at some points! (kidding!)

Secondary characters were generously fleshed out, not just background filler, particularly Martine, Levi’s partner, who I really liked, but at this point, no one is off the suspect list! Dominic has some interestingly diverse neighbors, Carlos and Jasmine, and I’m looking forward to their future appearances in the series. I’m not the DUELING REVIEWS of reader who gets frustrated with ongoing, serialized, story arcs, thank goodness. There’s not an actual cliffhanger but the story is certainly not complete and no HEA on the horizon yet. I am so looking forward to the next book, which releases in January, so really not that long at all. Right? Highly recommended!

About Cordelia Kingsbridge:
Cordelia Kingsbridge has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh, but quickly discovered that direct practice in the field was not for her. Having written novels as a hobby throughout graduate school, she decided to turn her focus to writing as a full-time career. Now she explores her fascination with human behavior, motivation, and psychopathology through fiction. Her weaknesses include opposites-attract pairings and snarky banter.

Away from her desk, Cordelia is a fitness fanatic, and can be found strength training, cycling, and practicing Krav Maga. She lives in South Florida but spends most of her time indoors with the air conditioning on full blast!

Guest Post from Cordelia Kingsbridge:
Seven of Spades is the first series I’ve ever written. What I’ve learned along the way is that writing a series is pretty much like writing one really, really long novel.

It may be different for authors writing an open-ended series with no predetermined end point in mind, but I knew from the start how this series would end, and that it would take five books to tell Levi and Dominic’s story. As an author, I’m huge on the importance of structure, and I knew that the quality of a series like this would depend as much on the structure of the series as a whole as that of the individual novels.

I prefer a classic three-act structure; it’s how I plot all my books. I applied the same principles to the series in its entirety to plot out two separate but interdependent narrative arcs – the hunt for the Seven of Spades and the development of Levi and Dominic’s relationship.

Viewing the series in those terms, Kill Game is Act I. You’ve got your setup, the inciting incident, and the first major turning point that forces the protagonists into a brand new world. Trick Roller is the first half of Act II – the protagonists are making progress and things seem to be going well. Then comes Cash Plays, the midpoint climax, the point in every narrative arc where things start going off the rails. This leads into One-Eyed Royals, the second half of Act II, where the problems get thornier, the stakes grow ever-higher, and the consequences for failure are increasingly dire, until the story barrels headlong into A Chip and a Chair, the climactic finale.

Using that framework as a solid foundation, I also charted the course of several series-long subplots. Then, when I outlined each individual novel in turn according to their own three-act structures, it was easy for me to weave the necessary elements of those overarching plotlines into the self-contained plot of each book, without needing to worry that I was forgetting details or throwing the pacing off-track.

Writing a series can feel overwhelming sometimes, but it has one huge upside: I’ve gotten to know these characters better than any others I’ve ever written. Five books gives me a lot of time to explore the interactions between the various cast members and include fun subplots I wouldn’t be able to fit into a single novel. It allows for a depth of color, detail, and complexity you can’t get any other way.

In fact, I’ve fallen so in love with the series format that I’m not sure I could go back to writing standalone novels!

Where to find Cordelia Kingsbridge:

Cordelia Kingsbridge Amazon Author Page Cordelia Kingsbridge's Facebook Author Page Cordelia Kingsbridge on Goodreads Cordelia Kingsbridge on Tumblr

To celebrate the release of Kill Game, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 28, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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6 thoughts on “DUELING REVIEWS: Kill Game by Cordelia Kingsbridge

  • October 25, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    I appreciate the reviews!


  • October 25, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for the reviews! It’s good to know that the mystery part is well done.
    jlshannon74 at gmail.com

  • October 25, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Thank you for the reviews!
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  • October 27, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Thanks for the reviews and the posts. I love series because it’s more time spent with characters I love.
    legacylandlisa at gmail dot com

  • October 27, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Congrats on the new release! I can’t wait to read it.

  • October 28, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Thanks for the good reviews, Jessie and Natalie, and congrats to Cordelia. This draws you in with a powerful and enticing premise. Since I have a psychology background, I’d like to see how you utilize your background. – Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com


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