Book Review: Bad Games



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.

But better to imagine the worst and be prepared than to be ignorant and caught off guard, right?


Bad Games was my first encounter with Jeff Menapace after coming across this book through a BookBub email. The brief synopsis piqued my interest and led to me downloading another book to my ever expanding Kindle library.

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.

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?

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.

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, especially after the bonus first chapter at the end of the first book.


TitleBad Games – A Dark Psychological Thriller (Bad Games Series Book #1)

Author: Jeff Menapace

Genre: Thriller/Horror

Page Count: 388

Publication Date: 19th February 2013

Format: Kindle


One thought on “Book Review: Bad Games

  1. Pingback: Stacking the Shelves #1 – April Books – My Eclectic Reads

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