Paperback

Published: Lightning Books (August 2021)

ISBN: 9781785632426

The Midas Game

Abi Silver

£8.99

Was virtual killing just the beginning?

When eminent psychiatrist Dr Liz Sullivan is found dead in her bed, suspicion falls on local gamer and YouTube celebrity Jaden ‘JD’ Dodds.

Did he target her because of her anti-gaming views and the work she undertook to expose the dangers of playing online games? And what was her connection with Valiant, an independent game manufacturer about to hit the big time, and its volatile boss?

Judith Burton and Constance Lamb team up once more to defend JD when no one else is on his side. Just because he makes a living killing people on screen doesn’t mean he’d do it in real life. Or does it?

Extracts

Constance Lamb stood opposite Hackney police station, shifting her weight from one foot to the other, her breath freezing in the cold November air. She hadn’t been told much about why she’d been summoned: another youth in trouble, eighteen years old, burglary, they’d said and she’d considered staying home and letting the job pass to the next in line. But then she’d heard her own voice, detached, some distance away, agreeing to take this one, even as her outstretched hand drew back the curtain and she saw the frost glistening on the pavement outside.

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Extracts

Constance Lamb stood opposite Hackney police station, shifting her weight from one foot to the other, her breath freezing in the cold November air. She hadn’t been told much about why she’d been summoned: another youth in trouble, eighteen years old, burglary, they’d said and she’d considered staying home and letting the job pass to the next in line. But then she’d heard her own voice, detached, some distance away, agreeing to take this one, even as her outstretched hand drew back the curtain and she saw the frost glistening on the pavement outside.

Cross with herself, confused as to the precise mechanism by which her mouth had said yes when her brain had said no, she had zipped up her boots, thrown on her thick coat, turned off the oven – her dinner would have to wait – and walked briskly to her destination. Except now she hesitated, on the threshold, taking a moment to gather her strength. Not her physical strength; it was less than half a mile’s walk from her flat, although she’d moved quickly to keep warm, tucking her scarf in tight, her hands thrust deep into her pockets, and she was hardly bothered by the distance.

No, it was inner strength, resolve, determination that was required on these occasions; assimilating information calmly, efficiently and from disparate sources, the need to act professionally, the requirement to gain and maintain the trust of a total stranger and the necessity to make the right decision about next steps, when so much depended on it.

She made a tunnel with her mouth and blew out three short breaths, tipping her head back and watching the white plumes stretch forwards and up. Then she crossed the road and went inside.

The policewoman on duty – uniform too tight, hair scraped back in a high ponytail – nodded to Constance and waved her off down the corridor.

‘Number five,’ she said.

‘I don’t have any details yet,’ Constance called out, over her shoulder.

‘You do now.’

Constance turned at Chief Inspector Dawson’s voice. He was thinner than the last time they had met. Was it a deliberate health drive or had he been unwell? His eyes were fine points of light, his cheeks were sunken and his hair, cut short at the sides, was greyer than she remembered. And it had only been a matter of weeks.

He handed her a wedge of papers and accompanied her to the interview room. Constance sat down without removing her coat, and her eyes skimmed over them, the words ‘murder’ and ‘robbery’ shouting out to her from the page, before settling on the name of the victim.

‘They told me burglary,’ she said, knowing, as she spoke that her complaint was meaningless.

So what if she’d expected some trumped-up petty theft, which would occupy her for half an hour? She was here now and she would have taken the murder charge anyway; she always did.

Dawson shrugged and she noticed him wincing at the involuntary movement; the tiniest twitch of one corner of his mouth giving him away.

‘What’s the connection? Between my client and the victim?’ Constance asked.

‘That’s what I’m hoping he’s going to tell us.’

‘I mean, what evidence have you got?’

Dawson sat back and his eyes found hers. ‘We’ve got fingerprints, his prints in her apartment.’

‘Anything else?’

‘We’ll have the post-mortem results shortly.’

‘What makes you think she was murdered? Two days ago, you thought it was natural causes. I saw the headline. Eminent psychiatrist slips away in her sleep.’

‘You noticed it was her.’ Dawson’s tone was conciliatory.

‘Elizabeth Sullivan. There can’t be two of them, both dying on the same day, on the same street. I do keep up.’

Dawson smiled. ‘That’s why we have post-mortems, isn’t it?’ he said.

‘And the burglary?’

‘Her handbag was stolen. There may be other items too. We’ve yet to locate any family who can verify what’s missing.’

‘You’ve found the bag since?’

‘Not yet.’

‘All right. And my client – Jaden Dodds?’

‘We picked him up this afternoon. Like I said, his prints match. He’s a neighbour.’

‘Cause of death?’

‘We don’t know yet.’

‘But no signs of violence.’

‘I can’t say.’

‘Was the news report wrong then?’ Constance suddenly felt tired and hungry and conscious that her need for sleep and food were unlikely to be satisfied for some time.

‘I can’t disclose anything. But I’ll let you know what I can, when I can.’ Dawson stood up.

Constance tutted. This was useless.

‘Can I see Jaden now, please?’ she said.

‘Sure. I’ll have him brought in.’

quotes

‘It is Abi Silver's imaginative touches as well as her thorough legal knowledge that make her courtroom thrillers stand out’

Jake Kerridge

‘Rumpole of the Bailey, Kavanagh QC, Perry Mason – now joining their ranks is Judith Burton’

Jewish Chronicle

reviews

‘Superb, clever, contemporary, utterly gripping’

Patricia Carswell, WI Life

‘A few chapters in I became addicted. A courtroom thriller / mystery that I truly recommend as it’s very accessible with some lovely twists to keep you guessing’

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

‘Is the gaming industry addictive enough to lead someone to murder? Yet again Abi Silver has crafted an intriguing and thought-provoking read, taking a topical, technological subject and creating a realistic legal thriller around it. This is another consuming read from Silver: a great addition to the series’

A Knight’s Reads

‘An insightful, hard-hitting read. It will undoubtedly raise concerns in the minds of some readers, but it never feels preachy and is instead an honest appraisal of some important contemporary topics within the framework of a gripping, intelligent thriller’

Hair Past a Freckle

‘Another engaging case and courtroom drama. I loved returning to the sharp minds of this legal duo’

Bookmark on the Wall

‘Once again the brilliant exploration of a controversial topic told through a gripping courtroom drama that I have come to expect from this author. It did not disappoint’

A Girl and a Book 85

‘I absolutely flew through this. There are a lot of red herrings thrown out and I had fun wondering until the last second who had committed the murder. It’s a nice change of pace to have a book remain interesting but not be gory in its killing’

A Lazy Egg Reviews

‘An intriguing courtroom thriller that gives us an idea of how bad the gaming industry can be. A thought-provoking read at every turn’

Beyond the Books

‘A fast-paced, well-written story showing the impact online gaming can have on people’s lives. If you like legal dramas, then grab a copy of this solid five-star read’

Jackie’s Reading Corner

‘Once again Abi Silver writes an enjoyable and believable courtroom mystery which kept me guessing till the end, with some brilliantly thought out twists and red herrings. Problem gaming is an important topic but Silver makes it very readable, as she incorporates her research into an easy-to-follow and engaging novel. I was gripped from the start’

Babbage and Sweetcorn

‘I really enjoy how Abi Silver picks a topic you haven’t fully explored, or even thought about, and changes your perspective on it. There are lots of red herrings but you keep invested throughout. I couldn’t put it down until I knew who actually did commit the murder’

Laughter and Thunderstorms

‘Abi Silver does it again and delivers another fab courtroom thriller! I seriously cannot get enough of this series’

Bookworm 1346

extras

Is gaming ‘spiritual opium’ for teenagers? The Daily Telegraph marks the launch of The Midas Game by exploring the addictive nature of virtual reality.

Abi Silver shares her personal motivation for writing a whodunnit about the addictive dangers of online gaming with writing.ie.

In Shots magazine, Abi explains why Olympic presenters Clare Balding and Alex Scott are dead ringers for Burton and Lamb.

From Harper Lee to John Grisham… Abi picks her five favourite courtroom dramas for The Big Issue.

ABOUT

Abi Silver

Abi Silver was born in Leeds and is a lawyer by profession. Her first courtroom drama featuring the legal duo Judith Burton and Constance Lamb, The Pinocchio Brief, was published by Lightning Books in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award. Since then she has published four more in the acclaimed series – The Aladdin Trial, The Cinderella Plan, The Rapunzel Act and The Midas Game – and counting.

She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and three sons.

Read more about Abi and her work at www.abisilver.co.uk.

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