Sunday 15 February 2015

Motive Games 2: Death Down Under

Motive Games 2: Death Down Under by LD Taylor (Rhiza Press)
PB RRP $16.99
ISBN 978-1-925139-18-1 
Reviewed by Peta Biggin

In Canada, Phil Roland is a hero. He saved his dad’s company, Motive Games; solved his dad’s murder; and exposed a Mafia ring.  However, he soon finds things spinning out of control while attending the E3 East gaming show in Auckland.  It was supposed to be the big break for Motive Games.  Instead he is the focus of unwanted media attention, hackers and threats of ruination from Australian mega-distributor PFG.  It’s when a PFG executive turns up dead that Phil finds himself in the middle of a mystery that may mean the end of Motive Games and all his dreams

Motive Games 2: Death Down Under is the stand-alone sequel to Motive Games from Canadian author LD Taylor.  Having not read the first book, I was concerned that I would feel at a disadvantage.  This was certainly not the case.  There are enough references to the events of the first book to ensure that the reader feels like they are reading a self-contained story.

This is an action-packed, murder-mystery set within the world of computer gaming.  There is a good pace maintained throughout without too much violence.  There is only the barest hint of romance; certainly a book geared towards teenaged boys rather than girls.  There are also plenty of references to servers, hackers and online games for those technology or gaming inclined readers.

The lead character, Phil, can probably best be described as a whiz-kid.  He is also a teen that, by virtue of his experiences in the first book, has had to grow up fast.  He is loyal, intelligent and resourceful.  He is aided by his best friend Oliver and a quirky, ex-detective called Turpin.  Together they are a determined team that will not rest until the truth is uncovered.  They are not modern James Bond figures though – indestructible and all-conquering.  They are afflicted by their own fears, physical ailments and emotional baggage; and they work to overcome these as they endeavour to protect their friends and the future of Motive Games.

Above all, I enjoyed the minor characters.  There is a wide range of personalities and eccentricities that not only provide variety to the story but also help to bring out the humour, emotion and tension throughout the book.

Overall, I found this easy to read and very enjoyable.  It reminded me somewhat of the Conspiracy 365 books, but for an older reader, and would suit any teen who enjoys that style of storytelling.

LD Taylor began her career as a marketing writer for the 3D graphics and animation software industry.  Before her family’s immigration to New Zealand, she decided to spearhead a family project that would combine her teenage sons’ interests in video games with her own in mystery novels.  The result was Motive Games which won her the Caleb Prize in the Young Adult category. Motive Games 2: Death Down Under is her second book.  She can be found online at:

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