Match Games reviews

MG cover 1Winning Combination of Grit, Character, and Romance, 1 April 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars

An investigative reporter just getting back on his emotional feet after a divorce looks into accusations of match fixing within a local football club and ends up framed for a violent crime.

I had a hard time starting this novel. Every time I settled in for a long reading session, something or someone interrupted me and I had to go back to the beginning. Finally, though, I got to read the whole thing. So glad I did. I know nothing about Nordic Noir mysteries, but if MATCH GAMES is the general example, I’ll be seeking out more of them.

Lukas Novak is big and gruff…and idealistic and so innocent that he brings tears to your eyes. Life has hurt this man in many ways, but he still believes in honor and being decent to people, even people who might not necessarily deserve the consideration he’s so quick to offer. What starts as a tentative exploration into illegal gambling charges that may or may not add up to a real story, dumps Lukas in a too real mess. With a couple of probing questions, he ends up on the wrong side of crooked cops, vicious gangsters, and sports hoodlums of the worst kind. Over the course of the novel the stakes for Lukas escalate–first his freedom is threatened, then his life, then the lives of those he loves most.

Luckily Lukas isn’t alone. His helpers include Mark, a disgraced (and seriously demented) former police officer, and Dannii, a Renaissance Woman football blogger who’s mastered everything from computer code to spelunking to higher mathematics. Author Bea Schirmer does an amazing job with all of her characters. They are so fluid in their allegiances and mixed up in their motives. You’re never really sure who you (or Lukas) can count on. Good guys aren’t always good, and bad guys sometimes come through for the right side.

The setting–Northern England–is used to great effect. From gritty housing estates to majestic scenic spots, place is integral to building character, establishing mood, and pushing the plot forward. At one point, Lukas, Mark, and Dannii are on the run from police during a blizzard. Their car is totaled during the chase. How will they deal with the elements AND put distance between themselves and the authorities? The answer revolves around a complicated network of caverns and offers an incredible (and claustrophobic) series of action scenes.

The mystery at the center of Match Games isn’t complicated per sea. Nor is identifying who is behind it all. What is a puzzle is figuring out the true motivations driving all of the shenanigans. There are so many twists and reversals. Even the bad guys can’t trust one another. The plot turns continue all the way to the end. Every time I thought, AH! This is it! A character did something completely unexpected and the wild ride was on again.

I had two tiny issues with the book. One, I wish Dannii’s age had been established sooner and more clearly. Two, and this could be a factor of the Kindle formatting, there were some missing scene breaks. So at times it took me a moment to realize that we were in a new scene.

Overall, MATCH GAMES is a fantastic book. Schirmer may show us an ugly side of the sporting world, but she populates that world with fascinating people. You can’t help but want to spend time with them.


 Debut thriller, 31 Dec. 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars

Really exciting and well researched. Great knowledge and descriptions of Manchester and Glossop. The characters were well drawn and fascinating. Thoroughly good read and looking forward to the rest of the trilogy


An exciting and gripping read. I loved it! on 12 Mar. 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars

This is a brilliant read. I just couldn’t put it down. The plot is truly gripping. There were pages where my heart was racing and I just couldn’t devour the words quickly enough.
The book is packed full of local knowledge and is really well researched.
Get Match Games today – I can’t recommend it enough. I hope we don’t have to wait for more from this author!!


Northern England based investigation 30 Dec. 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars

This is a well researched book
Its location is an area I know well and some of the descriptions are very close to home.
I have read it once and will return to it again to make sure I have not missed anything.
One item of special interest to me is a mention of a flat capped local with his beer drinking king charles dog


Loved the reality of the setting, 7 May 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars

Absolutely gripping and a very exciting read! Really looking forward to the next instalments! Loved the reality of the setting. Not many books I’ve read are set in the area I know and love and Ms Schirmer captures the flavours of the area expertly. The book had many page turning passages that had me totally gripped and I would recommend it to anyone who likes adventure, thrillers or the beautiful game.


TLC_amazonThe Last Convert reviews

An emotionally vulnerable journalist faces a seemingly invincible foe. 26 July 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars

When the death of a family friend leads journalist Lukas Novak to investigate a cluster of strange deaths in a nursing home, he uncovers a diabolical scheme with roots deep in the past.

This is a prequel to MATCH GAMES, a full length Lukas Novak mystery. That book kept me on my toes from first page to last. THE LAST COVERT has the same complex characterization and an equally intricate plot. We get to meet Lukas in a dark hour. His marriage is over and his wife is bent on alienating him from his children and ruining him financially. Poor guy can’t take a breath without fear that something negative will be reported back to her attorney and used to bankrupt him. To be fair, Lukas has spent his whole marriage hiding the fortune he inherited from his famous brother, a rock star whose recordings still bring in a tidy sum long after his unhappy death.

The point here is that Lukas is in a fragile frame of mind as the book opens during the funeral of a close friend. This emotional vulnerability clouds his judgement as he investigates the events surrounding the man’s death and the surprising beneficiaries of his will. I don’t want to tell too much. I’ll just say Lukas isn’t prepared for the extent of the conspiracy he’s stumbled upon. Nor is he aware how deep in the past the seeds of the crime are buried. The villain behind it all isn’t just some murdering con man out to get his hands on the victims’ worldly goods. There’s a deep pathology involved. A terrible history that will repeat and repeat unless Lukas can put a stop to it. And it’s not clear that he’ll be able to do that.

It’s amazing to me how much character and suspense Schirmer packs into this relatively short work. Yet the pacing is right on. There’s no sense that she’s cramming in plot points or forcing the action.

THE LAST CONVERT is a gritty and action-packed thriller that will keep your heart pounding until the very end.


I am already waiting for the next book in the series Very Good read. 27 July 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars

This second book by Bea which follows Lukas, a strange character of true life.
It starts fairly tamely but then descends into mystery and twists that keeps you reading until you finish it.
I an already waiting for the next book in the series
Very Good read.

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