Bad Games Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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The Lambert Family is heading to Crescent Lake, a rural cabin community in western Pennsylvania, for an idyllic weekend getaway. Some fishing, some barbecue, some games...
The Fannelli brothers are heading to Crescent Lake too. Some stalking, some kidnapping, some murder, definitely some games - though not necessarily the type of games the Lamberts had in mind.
But it doesn't matter. The Lamberts are going to play whether they like it or not.
An intense psychological thriller, Bad Games has the dark, mind-bending terror of Cape Fear combined with the fish-out-of-water dread and suspense of Deliverance.
So let Jeff Menapace's best-selling thriller keep you up all night as it delves into the mystery of nature versus nurture when comprehending the evil in man, along with the will and determination an innocent family must summon to fight back against horrific odds.
Bonus! Includes the first chapter of the pulse-pounding sequel, Vengeful Games.
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 4 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||March 27, 2015|
|Publisher||Mind Mess Press|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #86,771 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#2,738 in Horror Fiction
#2,947 in Crime Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#6,835 in Suspense (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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The first family in “Bad Games” are the Lamberts, a typically 30-something suburban couple, Patrick and Amy, who, with their two children go off to their cabin on Crescent Lake for a weekend in the country. Unfortunately, they attract the attention of a pair of psychotic brothers, Arty and Jim Fanelli, who enjoy preying on similar families. As the weekend progresses, the Fanellis go through their usual ritual of gradually terrorizing their victims as part of a “game” they have played for years. But while the Fanellis do a very good job of unsettling Patrick and Amy, they do so in a manner that never quite crosses the line into provable criminality, thus making the Lamberts more and more frustrated and on edge. Then, eventually, the game begins in earnest as the Lamberts fight for their lives.
Menapace’s book is laid out as carefully as the Fanellis’ scheme. The author shifts between the points of view of the two families, making readers aware that the early events in the book aren’t just coincidence and establishing just how twisted and dangerous the Fanellis are. By contrast, the Lamberts have somewhat of a steep learning curve in finally accepting what’s going on and then, worse, getting the local law enforcement authorities to take them seriously. Even by the usual standards of books like this, the local sheriff seems incredibly obtuse (and, one wonders how the Fanellis could have avoided having anyone notice the mounting body count over the years during their games).
Minor plot quibbles aside, however, once the action begins in earnest in the second half of “Bad Games,” the author really delivers. The face-to-face showdown between the families is handled quite well, mixing suspense (thanks to a couple of young children being in danger yet unaware of their peril) with some brutal action. I should note that there is, as you might expect, a good deal of violence in this book, some of it quite brutal, as well as very young children in danger. Readers who are sensitive about such matters might want to look elsewhere. As one who enjoys hardcore grindhouse thrills, however, I found the book’s climactic encounter quite satisfying.
“Bad Games” could have used a bit tighter editing, as the last few chapters are somewhat unfocused, as if the author wasn’t sure how to end the book (there is a very good final chapter though). In addition, a couple of chapters about the childhood of the Fanellis (no spoiler, they had been bad for a very long time) is more distracting than illuminating. When the author keeps his focus on the four main combatants, however, the book is quite exciting and rather suspenseful.
As a longtime B-movie buff, I spotted a number of similarities between “Bad Games” and other works, including “Last House on the Left,” “The Hills Have Eyes,” and the rather similarly themed and named “Funny Games.” But Menapace’s style, sense of timing, and attention to detail make this book a very good example of the genre. Few villainous schemes in books like this are quite as detailed and twisted. The author also manages to make the Lamberts good, well developed protagonists instead of mere faceless victims-to-be, as often occurs in this genre. As a result, what plays out seems like an actual battle between real characters rather than the rather cartoonish excesses of many similar works. “Bad Games” definitely makes for good reading for horror and suspense fans.
The actual kidnapping and torture parts were "good" in that they were interesting to see what happened next.
My two biggest problems with the book are the dialogue and the ending. Every character at one point goes off on some long winded speech that no normal or real person would use. It was just as bad as a movie villian monolgue detailing the full plans. A lot of the conversations could have been cut in half or not had at all. The ending also took forever and really slowed down the pace of the book. It did a good job of showing how normal people would cope with such a horrifying ordeal but it just took way too long to get there. There was an interesting tidbit about the villians I didn't expect. The final paragraph saved the ending and has me excited to see where the series goes
So the rest of the story, the bad guys, was a bit odd as well. They were doing all of this just for fun. Hurting people made them laugh. When you read how someone asked why they were doing this to her in the beginning their reply?
"'When you watch someone slip, trip, or fall in everyday life, what do you often do?' ...
'I guess I sometimes laugh,' the woman admitted, looking away. ...
'We laugh too. We just raise the bar a little in order to keep laughing.'"
This is part of the wait what? strange behavior or thinking I encountered in this book. When I read the question, what do you do when you watch someone potentially hurt themselves my initial response? Ask them if they are okay, offer to help them up, collect their things, etc. if I am close enough. My initial response is not laugh at them. My initial response is to help and make sure they are okay. Then maybe looking back on it once I know they are okay I might laugh about it if it was humorous. Or if I know the person, we are good friends, we might laugh about it. It all depends on the situation. So I had a hard time connecting with a lot of the characters as they had laugh at someone potentially hurting themselves as the initial reaction, which is counter to mine. Or at one point there is a guy that could tell people something strange that is happening, a threat, and he doesn't because he is a good christian. What? Wouldn't a good christian look out for his fellow man, not let them go away with a potential killer following them? I didn't understand things like that. I didn't understand the characters and their ways of thinking as it was usually the exact opposite of what I would think/do.
Also the bad guys seem to be a little obsessed with nature vs nurture. Their parents are great and their home life was great so it was neither for them! They are horrible people not because of nature or nurture! The one guy goes on about it at multiple times and frankly I just didn't care that much. I never really thought about why people are terrible. When I see a serial killer or something I usually don't stop and think is he this way because of how he was raised or who is parents are? I just think they are terrible people and how can people do such horrible things. I didn't really get into it as I think it is probably more complicated than one of the other.
The bad guys were bad and they just did whatever they wanted, taking out anyone who would get in the way of their game (even though they claim to not be killers). It took quite a while to actually get to the abducting the family and it seemed pretty quick and relatively easy to get away from them once they were. As I said above the other psychological things they did before abducting the family would have been enough to make me get out of there, so by the time it got to the bad stuff it was just like well, okay. Also sure it was terrible, but it could have been so much worse. Maybe this is just because I just read a book that was so much worse right before this, so much more horrific, so I was a little let down by this story. I wanted it to go farther, be more, but oh well. Then it also went a bit farther than just people manage to escape. Once we got there I was like okay book over...wait it is not? I still have a fair bit left to go...so then I had to read how the survivors were getting on after what happened and such. It was just...the scene in the hospital to help them heal was a bit much for me. The thing with the one kid was a bit much for me. Most of it was a bit much, but I think this again goes to the I didn't understand the people and their thought processes problem I had throughout the book. Really it just was not the book for me.
This review was originally posted to Jen in Bookland
And yet I look forward to the next in the series.
Top reviews from other countries
Anyway, Amy and Patrick and their 2 children are travelling to Crescent Lake for a holiday when they meet an odd man on the way. And so begins a game of hunter and hunted. The man, is one of two brothers, Arty and Jim, who like to torture families for fun and the Lamberts are their new target. Initially I was reminded of the film(s) Funny Games by Michael Haneke where well-to-do families are tortured by two brothers which is genuinely disturbing. The only real differences Menapace brings to the plot here is that he gives the brothers motive and that the brothers remove the game to their own home.
You know, this book does have it problems. It relies too heavily on gratuitous violence to set itself apart from similiar plots. The dialogue between Patrick and Amy is a little trite. It doesn't appear to have been proofread (have a look at the first four lines of chapter 27). There's about 5 too many chapters at the end. The title is truly simple and uninspiring. And yet despite this, it's an exciting read. I did want to keep reading to find out how the plot played out and I quite liked the finale. This is the kind of book you read on the beach and throw away at the end of your holiday. Apparently it's part of a trilogy, but my game ends here.
Bad Games was my first encounter with Jeff Menapace and it won't be my last, of that I'm sure.
The overall story is quite different from anything I have read for a long time and it was suspenseful and a little graphic. After realising the book was described as a horror I wasn’t sure how far I would get (horror stories aren’t my thing). Luckily what I did find was a brilliantly written psychological thriller about nature versus nurture and just how far mum and dad would go to save their children.
The book started off a little slow to begin and I nearly stopped reading. However, I don’t like quitting with books and told myself just one more chapter. I’m so glad I did as things escalated pretty quickly soon after.
The story follows Patrick and Amy Lambert and their two children, Carrie and Caleb. They are on their way to the family lakehouse in the woods when they have a bizarre encounter at the gas station. Several further strange occurrences leave Patrick and Amy feeling spooked and vulnerable. They try to put the unusual happenings behind them and continue with their vacation. However, things soon take a more sinister turn when the Fannelli brothers put their sick and twisted plan into action, leaving a trail of death as the go.
The characters were developed perfectly and I connected instantly with the Lamberts. I thought the scenes between Patrick and Amy worked well to establish their personas. However, there were a couple of times when I did think that their actions were a little questionable. I was forced to wonder if they didn’t deserve what was about to rain down on them due to what, Patrick in particular, was willing to overlook.
The Fannelli brothers were clever and evil in equal measures. They are testing the theory that genetics and environment having nothing to do with their sadistic tendencies and enjoying every minute of it.
One thing that left me a little perplexed was the cliffhanger at the end. I was anticipating it by the final couple of chapters but wasn’t really sure what it achieved. I would maybe like to see this explored a little more.
I love a book that makes me think, and this one did. As I was reading I was asking myself what would I do in the same situation? Would I be able to do what Amy did? At the end I was left with the big question: are serial killers the product of nature v nurture?
Overall Bad Games is a good read for anyone who likes dark, disturbing novels full of suspense. I will definitely be adding the second book, Vengeful Games, to my TBR list as soon as I have some space.
Overall the writing isn't bad for a free book - I just wouldn't want to read another like it.
Having said that, I didn't find the main characters in this quite right for me. I didn't 'bond' with them the way one needs to really get involved with a story. I found the male lead corny and uninteresting, and his wife was ok but somehow a bit flat. It did not make the book unreadable, just that it took a certain something out of it for me. I was more interested in finding out what would eventually happen to the baddies than in rooting for the goodies, so to speak!
I would recommend this book, but only for those who are not squeamish or offended by violence. This is a story about dangerous psychopaths on a spree- so you have to be prepared for that. If that's not your thing, I would suggest finding another book. ;)