- Expected 9 Jan 2020
'Smart, propulsive and gripping' Harlan Coben, #1 Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author
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Charlie and his friends have entered the God Game.
Tasks are delivered through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them. Charlie's money problems could be over. Vanhi can erase the one bad grade on her college application. It's all harmless fun at first.
Then the threatening messages start.
Worship me. Obey me.
Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them.
Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?
As Charlie looks for a way out, he finds God is always watching - only He will say when the game is done.
And if you die in the game, you die for real.
This grim sophomore novel from Tobey (The Faculty Club) mixes the teen horror and cyber thriller genres for a glimpse of the cruelty that anonymity and the internet make possible. Charlie Lake is one of the founders of the Vindicators, a group of senior geeks at an Austin, Tex., high school who gather in the tech lab and play the occasional harmless prank. Charlie's nihilistic friend, Peter Quine, introduces them to the G.O.D. game, which supposedly amounts to "the sum total of human conceptions about the divine come alive, able to express itself and answer questions and spout new proverbs and instructions." Charlie, Peter, and the three other members of the group each have pressures and secrets in their lives that leave them open to the game's demands. These begin fairly innocuously, but rapidly move to mysterious missions, violent pranks, and betrayals of each other, culminating with the "bargain" of a death for freedom from the game. The heartlessness on display may put off some readers, but fans of AI run amok should relish this one.