A Killer’s Game, a Gut-Wrenching FBI Thriller by Isabella Maldonado

The Bottom Line: A gut-wrenching FBI thriller that is as creative as it is satisfying. Wear sunscreen, because once you dive into this top-shelf beach read, you’ll be in for the long haul.

In a high-stakes thriller from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Cipher, an FBI agent with a background in cryptography and a cunning game maker seeking revenge engage in a deadly chess match.

As the book opens, FBI Special Agent Daniela Vega is rushes to meet Special Agent in Charge Steve Wu, who redirects her to investigate a bomb threat at the courthouse. While on her way, Daniela witnesses an extremely creative assassination: poisoning via umbrella. The victim is the chief of staff for a powerful New York senator, and the assassin-turned-informant, Gustavo Toro, heads through a group of schoolchildren before escaping on a subway. 

As Dani uncovers a complex conspiracy, she realizes the only way to take down the criminal mastermind is to work alongside Toro, infiltrating his inner circle at a secluded facility. But is it all just an elaborate trap? 

It’s a terrific setup that ensures plenty of conflict en route to a satisfying and pacy thriller. 

In this, the first series book based on Vega, the question is whether author Isabella Maldonado has created a heroine worthy of basing an entire series around. As heroines in thrillers go, Vega is a textbook “damaged goods” character. Her mother killed her father, who was a decorated combat veteran, and Vega herself is lucky to be alive. Her primary personal motivation – which influences all her decisions – is proving she’s nothing like her mother. It’s more than compelling enough for A Killer’s Game, and it will be interesting to see how Maldonado develops Vega in subsequent series entries.  

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