Play Dead by Richard Montanari Review

Play Dead

A different kind of serial killer is on the loose in Play Dead!

Play Dead by Richard Montanari is the fourth book in the Byrne and Balzano series of crime novels but is the first that I have had the privilege of reading.

The body of a missing teenager, 17-year-old Caitlin Alice O’Riordan, is found displayed in a glass case in the Badlands of Philadelphia with no sign of injury. With no leads or suspects this is the first case assigned to SIU (Special Investigations Unit) detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano who investigate cold cases. When a man calls and confesses to police of the murder of the missing teenager a bizarre game is about to begin. This leads them to a second missing teenage murder victim who has been dismembered and her remains left in three boxes. A bizarre serial killer is on the loose who not only has a taste for murder but games, puzzles, magic and illusion who wants to put on a show that the world will remember!

The killer, dubbed The Collector, has planned 7 depraved murders to complete his performance and time is running out fast for the Philadelphia police department.

Overall. I loved Play Dead. It is fast paced, exciting and different. Rather than just another serial killer on the loose the killer is recreating old magic tricks with a couple of exceptions to the originals, the “assistant” (teenage runaways) does not escape the trick alive and the 7 murders will create a larger puzzle in themselves based on a tangram puzzle using the city buildings as puzzle pieces!

I had never read any of Montanari’s work previously but I will certainly be going back to read more.

Play Dead is a well-written, engrossing story filled with great characters, plots twists, suspense and full of energy. A superb and fascinating story with a great twist on the usual serial killer novels.

Rating: 5/5

RRP: £12.99 (Hardback) / £7.99 (Paperback) / £3.99 (Kindle Edition)

Available to buy from Amazon here.

For more information about Richard Montanari and his books visit


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