Cover Image: The Long Game

The Long Game

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Member Reviews

THE LONG GAME introduces us to Zoe Mayer, Detective Sergeant with the Victoria Police who has just come back to work after several months of enforced leave.

Her first case back, a murder, seems quite straight forward once the investigative work begins. Enquires are made, witnesses interviewed, evidence is gathered and it all points to one person who is adamant they are innocent. And yet, Zoe feels something is not quite right . . . it’s a bit too down pat for her to be satisfied.

I thought the plot was great. Although thwarted in the end, the ‘bad guys’ did a good job planning the crimes.

There were two key aspects that didn’t quite work for me. First, for the first three quarters of the book nothing much happens. Second, many of the characters, especially Zoe’s colleagues, are predictable cookie-cutter types that offer little depth to the story.

The final quarter of the book is the best. The pacing increases significantly and there’s finally a sense of urgency to catch the killer(s) before they strike again. This last part also offers more twist, turns and revelations that moved the story along until its conclusion.

I liked this book enough to want to read the next Zoe Mayer book that is coming out in 2023.

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This is the first book by Simon Rowell that I have read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The story is a fast paced investigation into a series of murders, that at first seem totally unrelated. Well written and told is short chapters, this is a riveting read, that draws you to its conclusion.

The main character of DS Zoe Mayer, is well drawn, likeable character who has an interesting backstory, other characters, including the suspects, are also well drawn and fleshed out. The setting in Victoria's beachside and Yarra ranges is very well described and realistic.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more by this author.

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I really enjoyed this debut crime. I like the lead female detective and think the book moved at a really good pace, and was full of plausible plot twists that kept you guesssing.

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This was my first experience reading a novel by Simon Rowell and I don’t think it will be my last.
I enjoyed reading this crime/thriller featuring Detective Zoe Mayer, I am hoping there will be more books featuring her as she really piqued my interest.
The story was well crafted and kept my interest right until the end.
A big thank you to Text Publishing and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

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This is Aussie crime fiction from Simon Rowell, set in Melbourne, it features a PTSD suffering DS Zoe Mayer, a homicide detective, experiencing troubling flashbacks, who now has a therapy dog, a golden retriever called Harry. Mayer has returned to work after months off work after a trauma which we slowly learn more about through the story. She, along with her partner, senior DC Charlie Shaw, are at a murder scene, the victim, 39 year old Ray Carlson in the process of getting divorced from his wife, Donna, his body is discovered by his best friend from childhood, Dwayne Harley. As Mayer and other officers sift through the suspects with possible motives, they get a phone call that leads them to evidence that points clearly to one person.

However, Mayer doesn't buy it, she has doubts, she thinks its too easy, but her colleagues, including Charlie, think that she is overthinking things, and that perhaps it will take some time for her to settle back into work, and that her trauma is affecting her judgement. Mayer hasn't just gone out on a limb for no reason, she meets investigative journalist, Sarah Westbrook, who runs a popular podcast, Sarah has concerns about 2 other cases that share similarities with the Carlson murder, where the men charged were, Sarah believes, innocent and set up. With the invaluable help of a colleague, Anjali Arya, a tactical intelligence officer, Mayer finds herself on an dangerous investigation in her search for the truth and justice.

I'm afraid that for much of the narrative, I was not really engaged with either the characters, the plot or the story. That all changed in the last quarter of the novel when I finally became involved and began to enjoy the book, and why I eventually came to award it 3 stars. There are many other readers who liked this far more than me, which is why I would urge you to read other reviews before making the decision to read this. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.

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Detective Zoe has a gutsy demeanour determined to follow through using her instincts and clues, while Harry the service dog has a calming effect on Zoe making for a perfect team for tracking down a serial killer.
Most readers will have a fair idea concerning the culprit involved only the procedures and plans that follow is policing in the 21st century using hi-tech to catch an extremely clever suspect that's always one step ahead.
The Long Game is a great Australian crime book I hope there is more Zoe and Harry in the future from Simon Rowell
An independent review NetGally.

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Wow, Simon Rowell's The Long Game may well be my favourite read of 2021 so far. I'm not sure whether it's the various familiar locations around Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula, the strong and determined Zoe or the adorable Harry, or the twists, turns and tangles of mystery unravelling, perhaps its the combination that creates an addictive and irresistible page turner. It grabs you on the first page and hooks you in, you'll need to know what happens in the next chapter, and the next!

Fabulous characters, brilliant storyline and skilful writing, this brilliant Australian detective thriller has it all. Highly recommended! I cannot wait for more of Detective Mayer and Harry.

Thanks to NetGalley, Simon Rowell and Text Publishing for a digital ARC for review.

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I've been getting into mysteries lately and enjoying them. I don't like too much of the blood and guts stuff so this one appealed to me and it wasn't too long either so I knew I shouldn't get bored.

I was drawn in by Detective Sergeant Zoe Mayer and her never give up attitude. And her dog Harry is a great side-kick. This book draws you in, keeps you in suspense and has you wondering throughout.

This is a well written book that flows well making it easy to read and follow. I also love a good book that is set in Australia as you can really picture the scenes and places. It is fairly fast passed so it keeps you reading, it is thrilling and exciting so you don't want to put it down and it isn't too long and drawn out (which I find makes me loose concentration and become bored).

I fully recommend this book and look forward to reading more books by Simon Rowell.

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After racing through The Long Game, I’m hoping it is the start of a new crime fiction series from South Australian author Simon Rowell.

The first homicide Detective Sergeant Zoe Mayer is assigned on her return to work seems to be open and shut with the evidence clearly pointing towards Dwayne Harley stabbing his best friend, Ray Carlson, after discovering he was sleeping with his wife. Zoe’s partner, Charlie, is happy with the easy solve but something doesn’t sit right with Zoe. With her colleagues wary of her instincts given her recent extended absence, she has no choice but to investigate with only her service dog, Harry as back up.

I found myself totally invested in the fast paced, suspenseful plot of The Long Game. The motivation for the crimes are believable, and their execution is clever and original. I could easily believe that the murderer could have got away with it if Zoe hadn’t been so observant, and determined. I appreciated the procedural details that leant the police investigation authenticity, and enjoyed the action of confrontations and near misses.

The mystery behind Zoe’s extended leave adds further interest to the story. It’s obvious that she experienced something traumatic, and she’s still vulnerable to particular triggers, which is where Harry, a golden retriever, comes in. As a service dog, Harry provides support when Zoe experiences vivid flashbacks that cause her to lose awareness, but his emotional intuition also proves to be a useful investigative tool.

Zoe seems to be a determined investigator, with great instincts. I like that she is willing to back herself, though I’m not overly fond of protagonists that go it alone, I understood her need to prove herself. I thought Zoe’s partner, Charlie, was a little bland, but I liked the analyst, Anjali. Zoe has a romantic relationship with a lawyer, which seems to be fairly stable but there a sense of underlying tension which may be explored if there is a sequel.

The Long Game played just right for me with its smart plot, appealing characters and compelling pace.

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This is my first book by Simon Rowell and I am a fan of his writing! Detective Sergeant Zoe Mayer is a courageous, quick-thinking, intelligent woman who trusts her instincts and is very good at her job and investigating the truth. I liked the way her mind worked when solving crimes and dealing with people (co-workers, witnesses, and possible suspects alike). I would love to see another book with her as the main character!

Thank you to NetGalley and Text Publishing for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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A fast paced thriller introducing Detective Sergeant Zoe Mayer and her therapy dog Harry. This book contains all the things I look for in a good book. A troubled hero/heroine, a dog, and a mystery that keeps me guessing.
I hope this is the beginning of an ongoing series.
Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this book for review.

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A fascinating murder investigation led by gutsy Detective Sergeant Zoe Mayer. Zoe is returning to the force after a four-month medical leave that resulted from an on-duty injury. Along with Zoe is her therapy dog Harry. A man is murdered and it isn’t long before Zoe and her partner Charlie have a possible suspect. When evidence is found after an anonymous witness calls the police, Zoe wonders if the timing was just a bit too convenient. When two previous and similar cases come to her attention, Zoe has to go against her partner and other detectives to continue the investigation. She knows that even her partner is wondering if maybe she came back to work too soon. The author expertly weaves the story as evidence may provide an entirely different ending to the case. Will Zoe be able to wrap up all three cases before innocent men are sent to prison? I hope there will be a second book for Zoe and Harry. I received an advance review copy at no cost and without obligation for an honest review. (by paytonpuppy)

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Three years after his first book, Australian author Simon Rowell’s The Long Game has been released. Zoe Mayer is a Homicide Detective with a golden retriever service dog named Harry. Upon her return from an extended layoff, a local surfer is found stabbed to death in Portsea. After an investigation and help from telephone tips, an arrest is made, yet Zoe’s intuition tells her it’s too obvious a slam dunk. So begins a classic police procedural with memorable characters and dogged examination of a possible stich up. An enthralling read with a gripping finale and four-star rating. Hopefully, there will be more Zoe Mayer adventures. With much thanks to Text Publishing and the author for an uncorrected proof copy for review purposes.

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An interesting and enjoyable book which I hope will be the start to a series.

The Long Game is set in a suburb of Melbourne and features Detective Sergeant Zoe Mayer who we are informed has just returned to work after a long period of sick leave. She has a Service Dog with her and there are hints that she is a hero of some kind. The reader has to wait quite a while to discover the whole story. Meanwhile Zoe is applying her extensive talents to discovering and capturing a serial killer.

The book hinges on its main character and she is definitely a woman who stands up for herself in a job where she is surrounded by men. She also out performs them and refuses to accept any less than the best in her investigations or her relationships.

The story is well told and easy to follow and I guessed what was going to happen as soon as a certain character was introduced. Zoe was not easily fooled either. Maybe she reads as many mysteries as I do!

All very enjoyable and as I said at the start I hope there are more Zoe Mayer books to follow!

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The Long Game by Simon Rowell is an page turning story about Detective Sergeant Zoe Mayer and her service dog, Harry, who was assigned to her after a particularly traumatic experience and is there to support her return to work in Homicide. Her first case is a murder of Ray Carlson in his home near the Portsea back beach. The case looks open and shut until an investigative reporter suggests there may be other similar cases. Despite evidence that the case is closed, Zoe, using her instincts pursues further leading to further complications and unexpected twist and turns!

A complex mystery that is an absolute thriller! Great character development and an intriguing story makes this a highly recommended read.

Thank you to Netgalley and Text Publishing for a copy to read and review.

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The Long Game is a solid police procedural featuring a much likeable detective protagonist and her clever service dog, Harry. On Detective Zoe Mayer's first day back to work, she caught a homicide case which appear to be an open and shut case but a tip and her instinct led her to believe that there is much more to this case than what's obvious. This, in turn, made her unpopular with her colleagues and a target.

Many crime novels these days feature protagonists who are broken and most have either broken or in fracturing domestic situations. While Zoe has her own issues to work through, I liked that her own personal life isn't. It isn't perfect but then no one's is. She's got Harry to assist her in her daily struggles but she appears to be doing all the right things and is recovering well. She's a terrifically strong character, intelligent and determined, and confident. And lovable Harry - everyone loves him and being a dog lover myself, I loved having him actively participate in this novel. 

The mystery behind Zoe's PTSD was just as intriguing as the murder mystery she was investigating. As Zoe goes investigating the murder, readers also get glimpses of the incident that led to her PTSD. I must say that twists & conclusions to both mysteries are very satisfying.

I am not at all sure whether this is meant to be a stand alone or a series. At the end of the book, I did think this feels like a first book in a series but yet, it's possible that it's a stand alone but with author/publisher leaving enough of a vague notion for a possibility for a series, if sales are good. I do hope that there will be more books as I have really enjoyed this time spent in company with Zoe & Harry.

My thanks to Text Publishing for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

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Brilliant, superbly written and definitely a ‘series in waiting’, fabulous work Simon Rowell!
The storyline, characters and twists and turns kept me wanting to know more! Zoe is a very capable person and detective, her service dog Harry is just what she needs,
I found everything from the murder of Ray, his friends and enemies and the investigations all rolled into an awesome book! Zoe faces her demons and doubters without missing a beat, a must read!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thank you so much to Text Publishing, NetGalley and the wonderfully talented author for the opportunity to read this book.

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The Long Game is a nice easy weekend read. The characters were believable and very engaging. I especially liked Zoe and her service dog, Harry. They make a great team. This is a fast paced whodunnit thriller with a great plot. Some surprising twists precede the big reveal. I would very much like to read more of Zoe and Harry's adventures.

Thank you to NetGalley and Text Publishing for an ARC to read and review.

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Detective Sergeant Zoe Mayer and her service dog, golden labrador Harry, were called to the site of a murder on a Sunday afternoon. Zoe had just returned from leave after a particularly traumatic experience and her case worker had deemed her ready for work. Surfer Ray Carlson had been stabbed in his home not far from the Portsea beach. During the investigation, her partner Charlie was keen to make a quick arrest. But Zoe’s intuition said it was too easy, too open and shut. And when Zoe did some leg work on her own – with Harry – she came across some anomalies which could be tied to previous cases.

With another murder seemingly linked to the last, Zoe’s instincts were leading her in a different direction to the other detectives, who were ridiculing her methods. But Zoe was determined. And when an attempt was made on her life, her boss sided with her, encouraging her to keep going. But would Zoe find the answers?

The Long Game by Aussie author Simon Rowell was brilliant! I really hope it’s the start of a series – Zoe Mayer is a great character and her dogged determination, alongside Harry’s smarts, would make a wonderful series. Set in Melbourne, this fast paced, gritty and thrilling novel is one I have no hesitation in recommending highly.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

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🗡🔍Excellent whodunit with a strong female lead🚔

This Australia-set murder mystery was a total pleasure to read. It had all of the elements I look for in a really captivating police procedural murder mystery.

Plenty of twists for Victoria Police Detective Zoe Mayer to sift through to cuff the culprit. The mystery deepens and broadens the longer she digs, with red herrings and extra criminal activity that influences the case and disgruntled colleagues who aren't exactly pleased she's back on the job and questioning their own competence. The writing was concise, the investigation fast-paced, and Zoe's PTSD from a previous incident rates her a lovely, loyal service dog named Henry to spot her bouts of residual panic and anxiety. Zoe's personal life otherwise is just a side note; I actually prefer stories like this one that focus on the case rather than the after-hours life of the characters.

Author Simon Rowell adds an extra degree of mystery and tension by taking his time and only revealing the full scope of Zoe's PTSD instigator towards the story's end. It worked for me! Hopefully Rowell will follow this up with more about savvy, strong Zoe Mayer and her team.

Thanks to Text Publishing and NetGalley for sharing a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest opinion.

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