Bad Games by Jeff Menapace

Bad Games - A Dark Psychological Thriller (Bad Games Series Book 1)



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 chills of The Bad Seed combined with the fish-out-of-water dread and suspense of Deliverance. 

So let Jeff Menapace's highly anticipated novel 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.


I have been reading Jack Kilborn books recently and when I saw I had Bad Games on my Kindle and had yet to read it I thought perfect! It seemed to be in the same vein as the other books I was reading. Crazies kidnap and torture a family for fun? Sign me up. Unfortunately I didn't really enjoy it that much. The family themselves didn't make much sense to me. I kept telling my husband how they kept blowing off all the creepy things that happened and just powered on and stayed there. I asked what he would have done at this point or that point. His reply at a later point in the creepy things happening timeline? Well it was a moot point he said. He never would have stayed there that long so we wouldn't be in this situation. Also he wouldn't tell the creepy guy at the gas station that he was going with his family out to a semi secluded cabin in the first place. The reactions of the family to everything that happened was just off for me. Why did you jut stay and be all whatever, everything will be fine? It didn't make sense. Not me man. I so would have been out of there that first night. Not that that means nothing bad would have happened, it just would have been a different story.

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 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.

Rating: ★ ★

Available on Amazon,, and Goodreads


Popular posts from this blog

Release Day!! Love Hacked by Penny Reid

Review: Landon & Shay: Part Two (L&S Duet #2) by Brittainy C. Cherry

Best of 2019