By Ekta R. Garg
January 8, 2014
Rated: Bookmark it!
Bonus: Read the Q & A with the author here.
A young man thinks he’s evaded the alternative reality game that dominated his life for several months. When he meets a mysterious woman in the Middle East and is later framed for her murder, however, he decides to start investigating her and her possible connection to the game—bringing him even closer to the conspiracy he worked so hard to escape. Swedish author Anders de la Motte brings readers an exciting sequel in Buzz to his earlier success, Game, in this second book in the “Game Trilogy” series.
Henrik “HP” Pettersson has spent several weeks on the run. After blowing up the physical nerve center of the Game, he gets out of Sweden with a multitude of fake passports and enough money to fund a comfortable lifestyle for years to come. Although he does feel twinges of regret at leaving his sister behind, he knows breaking off all contact with her will only keep both her and him safe.
Using the funds he stole from the Game gives him a small amount of satisfaction. After all the Game Master nearly had HP taken out. But even after the near-death experience, HP can’t help feeling restless. Life on the run seems more glamorous in the movies and on TV. In real life it involves too much moving around and not enough action of any other kind.
As HP ponders what to do next with his life, he embarks on a journey to the Middle East. There he meets a mysterious woman who does wonders in the short-term for his morale—until she ends up dead and everyone starts looking at him as the main suspect for her murder. How, he wonders, could he possibly kill someone else when he’s just managing to avoid the same fate himself?
Events bring him back to his native Sweden where HP decides to investigate the woman by applying for a job in the IT company she founded. While the employment brings with it a whole new series of perks—a steady paycheck, compliments from coworkers on his excellent performance, and the strong possibility of a steady girlfriend—quickly HP catches on to the idea that not everyone makes sense. Do the happenings at the company have anything to do with the woman from the Middle East? And could all of these things somehow be related to the Game? While he hasn’t received any direct communication from the Game Master, HP can’t shake the strong hunch that everything goes back to that dangerous enterprise.
Author Anders de la Motte gives readers a strong sequel to Game in Buzz, not easing back on the tension at all but instead teasing it out in different methods. If Game raced to the end on the sheer force of its plot and character conflicts, Buzz helps readers and those characters take some time to contemplate the far-reaching effects of events. HP spent all of Game trying to figure out just how the Game changed his life. In Buzz he comes to the intelligent conclusion that it isn’t, in fact, all about him but also that he may be the only one to do something about it.
Once again de la Motte peppers HP’s thoughts and speech with a fair amount of profanity, but his character profile seems to demand it. And a ménage a trois may seem excessive to some readers, but de la Motte places it at a crucial moment in the plot. He may have arrived at the same place in the story without it, but fortunately he doesn’t linger too long on the explicit details and spends (rightly so) more time on the consequences of the interaction.
Readers who enjoyed Game will surely find that Buzz builds the story and anticipation for Bubble, the last book in the series. Once again I recommend this book for those who enjoy crime thrillers, especially those of a techie nature.