Stratagem
A High-Stakes Simulation Adventure Leaves Grayson Thibodeaux the Prime Suspect. . .for Murder   Deep in the gritty underbelly of New Orleans, psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux loses everything when his wife leaves him to climb her company’s corporate ladder. He buries himself in his job of creating mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. When his ex-wife’s company hires Grayson’s to create an elaborate game, he doesn’t see how things can get worse. Until she dies during the course of the game he created…making him the prime suspect for murder.  

Stratagem Details

TitleStratagem
Author
ReleaseNov 1st, 2018
PublisherShiloh Run Press
ISBN-139781683227304
Rating
GenreFiction, Suspense, Mystery, Christian Fiction

Stratagem Review

  • Sheryl
    January 1, 1970
    Grayson Thibodeaux, a psychologist along with his longtime sociologist friend, Colton York, has built a business called "Game's On You" where they create these elaborate custom games for corporations to use to if they are considering promoting someone within and there are several viable candidates or for any number of reasons. Between the two of them, they have made this a lucrative business.The latest game that Grayson designs just happens to be for the PR Firm his ex-wife, Anna-Belle works for Grayson Thibodeaux, a psychologist along with his longtime sociologist friend, Colton York, has built a business called "Game's On You" where they create these elaborate custom games for corporations to use to if they are considering promoting someone within and there are several viable candidates or for any number of reasons. Between the two of them, they have made this a lucrative business.The latest game that Grayson designs just happens to be for the PR Firm his ex-wife, Anna-Belle works for, they're looking for the best candidate to fill this position, and she's among a group of several people. Grayson is against taking this job, but his business partner finally convinces him that it's like any other game they have designed and it's not a big deal. Famous last words Right?Anna-Belle is ambitious to a fault, and she's still not happy with her divorce settlement from Grayson. She has a showdown with him regarding their settlement in the reception area of his office right before she's supposed to start this "game." The only people who know this is a game are the CEO of her firm and their board of directors and the staff of "Game's on you." So the last time Grayson sees Anna-Belle things couldn't get any worse. He goes out of town and returns home to find a duo of homicide detectives who have been trying to hunt him down over the long weekend but unfortunately for Grayson; he lost his phone while out of town.Ms. Caroll has done a great job with this mystery; I love the New Orleans setting plus it being a faith-based novel was a bonus. I look forward to reading more from her. I think this would be a great start of series; she had me right up to end on who murdered Anna-Belle.Disclosure: I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing an e-galley in exchange for honest review. The opinions I expressed above are my own.
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  • Karen R
    January 1, 1970
    Fans of police dramas will enjoy this one set in New Orleans. A company who creates elaborate live game challenges with escape rooms has a surprise feature: a murder. Things get complicated as the victim is the ex-wife of the game creator. This story was an interesting one, with a complex plot gradually building the suspense and drama through police interviews, some flashbacks, and eventually an action filled climax. There were so many people who could be the murderer that it surprised me when f Fans of police dramas will enjoy this one set in New Orleans. A company who creates elaborate live game challenges with escape rooms has a surprise feature: a murder. Things get complicated as the victim is the ex-wife of the game creator. This story was an interesting one, with a complex plot gradually building the suspense and drama through police interviews, some flashbacks, and eventually an action filled climax. There were so many people who could be the murderer that it surprised me when finally revealed. It was well written, creating a lot of character depth with meaningful dialogue and some heavy topics, with added faith. Grayson is a man who struggles with forgiveness understandably, and shows a lot of grace to others though the circumstances are difficult. Loved the conversation he had with Monique, as he wrestles with the "what-ifs" of his failed relationship; I found a lot of wisdom and encouragement in that. Others who care to "speak the truth in love" to him, like his colorful assistant Pam, were sources of inspiration too. Ultimately knowing that God can create something good out of our mistakes is a comforting thought.Recommend to readers who enjoy crime mysteries with some action and faith elements. No romance here though the topics of marital problems and divorce are discussed. 4.5 stars(An e-book was was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.)
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  • Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
    January 1, 1970
    Stratagem is exactly the type of suspense/thriller novel that I like to read – a plot that plays at your mind even as it plays with the minds of the characters, characters by the way that you aren’t entirely sure you can trust. The whole lot of them. Just when you think you can relax around this character or the other, another layer of their lives or the plot is revealed and you just don’t know anymore. I love it! It keeps me guessing, keeps me invested in the outcome, and lets me play detective Stratagem is exactly the type of suspense/thriller novel that I like to read – a plot that plays at your mind even as it plays with the minds of the characters, characters by the way that you aren’t entirely sure you can trust. The whole lot of them. Just when you think you can relax around this character or the other, another layer of their lives or the plot is revealed and you just don’t know anymore. I love it! It keeps me guessing, keeps me invested in the outcome, and lets me play detective right along with the actual (fictional) detectives.Grayson Thibodeaux is in a very complicated situation, one which continues to get more complicated as the book progresses. Not only does he have a career which is at once horrifying and fascinating (he creates ‘escape room’ type games with psychological twists based on the participants’ history and medical records, etc.) but he is also the number one suspect in the death of his ex-wife, who died during a game he had created. The lead detectives make the situation even more complicated – one is a good friend who is considered biased toward Grayson’s innocence and the other is bitter at Grayson having not called her sister back after a blind date. So, you know which side she falls on in terms of whether he’s guilty or not, and her opinion really keeps her laser-focused on Grayson and unwilling to consider other possibilities.Now… brace yourselves, y’all… there’s no romance in this book and I STILL LOVED IT. It’s pretty much a straight suspense novel with a very moving subthread on forgiveness. Particularly a scene at the end that really touched my heart. While my mind was whirring with romantical possibilities throughout the book, I really didn’t miss that sort of tension because there was plenty of other tension to be had as the suspense plot continued to unfold.Bottom Line: Gritty but touching. Complex but easy to read. Intriguing but… nope, no opposite here… intriguing and riveting. Stratagem by Robin Caroll is the perfect choice to read on blustery, cold fall/winter nights when you’re snuggled up under a warm blanket. It’s impossible to put down once you start reading, so don’t plan to sleep until you’ve finished it. Skillfully plotted suspense, layered characters, and a vivid setting all make this a must-read. Loved the nod to Darkwater Inn, from another of Caroll’s current reads.(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)first seen at Reading Is My SuperPower
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  • Lisa Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Title: StratagemAuthor: Robin CarrollPages: 320Year: 2018Publisher: Shiloh Press RunMy rating: 5 out of 5 stars.The setting of the story is in New Orleans where a company creates games for people to live out sometimes without them knowing they are living out a game. Games on You is hired by a Deets PR to help them establish the best person for a promotion within the company. The designer of the game is psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux who has a real gift for understanding how people will react to Title: StratagemAuthor: Robin CarrollPages: 320Year: 2018Publisher: Shiloh Press RunMy rating: 5 out of 5 stars.The setting of the story is in New Orleans where a company creates games for people to live out sometimes without them knowing they are living out a game. Games on You is hired by a Deets PR to help them establish the best person for a promotion within the company. The designer of the game is psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux who has a real gift for understanding how people will react to stimuli revealing their strengths, weaknesses and fears.After getting information on each person in the game, a place is chosen, and the involved planning begins. Grayson’s assistant, Pam, is a really smart woman who knows computers and loves to bet with Grayson on who will or won’t succeed. Life is already complex when Grayson’s wife Anna Belle is unfaithful to him and leaves him because she wants to be free to climb the corporate ladder. When her company hired Grayson’s and Conner’s company, the conflict of interest is about to be the worst of Grayson’s problems.When Anna Belle is found unresponsive in her room and later dies, the police of course focus on Grayson. From that point, the plot thickens along with many twists and turns. The author writes a fantastic suspense filled thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. I thought the ending was surprising and very tense.Plan on being up a little late when you begin reading the adventure that awaits in this excellent tale!Note: I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book. The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspo.... Also follow me on [email protected], Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson...
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  • Kara
    January 1, 1970
    This isn't my usual read, but it was really good and kept me guessing the WHOLE TIME. Anna Belle was very easy to dislike and yet she didn't deserve to be murdered, the whole story is Grayson, her ex-husband, finding the strength in God to forgive her while trying to keep his cool while being investigated as the prime murder suspect. I knew he was innocent from the start, but proving that innocence was deeply challenging.Loved Detective Brandon, couldn't stand his partner, Danielle. I even suspe This isn't my usual read, but it was really good and kept me guessing the WHOLE TIME. Anna Belle was very easy to dislike and yet she didn't deserve to be murdered, the whole story is Grayson, her ex-husband, finding the strength in God to forgive her while trying to keep his cool while being investigated as the prime murder suspect. I knew he was innocent from the start, but proving that innocence was deeply challenging.Loved Detective Brandon, couldn't stand his partner, Danielle. I even suspected her at one point because of her attitude towards Grayson. Really enjoyed the scenes when both detectives are questioning everyone who was present when Anna Belle died. My favorite scenes are when both detectives learn new information at certain interviews that no one else mentions, how they just are in disbelief at the mistakes made during this investigation.I truly felt that the strategies used during the "game" were questionable and inappropriate. I seriously don't understand why the four players didn't leave after they were challenged with certain fears. I don't think any job promotion is worth that. Beyond the shock and mystery of Anna Belle's death, the whole situation was messed up. Other than that, this story was really fascinating from the start and as Grayson and his assistant race to find answers as the same time those detectives are investigating, I had no idea who the culprit was and Anna Belle was just a horrible person who ended up being a victim. I was very satisfied with the ending and how Monique stayed around for Grayson. Really loved the title of this book!I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All comments are my own.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Stratagem is the first book I have read by Robin Caroll. I read a lot of mysteries and found myself craving a suspenseful read. I found this story to have an original plot, making use of a “game” like one might find in a reality show or escape room scenario as the setting for a murder. The author is an expert at pacing as details surrounding the murder are slowly revealed. The story is told from three different points of view- Grayson, Brandon and Anna Belle. Grayson as the ex-husband is the pri Stratagem is the first book I have read by Robin Caroll. I read a lot of mysteries and found myself craving a suspenseful read. I found this story to have an original plot, making use of a “game” like one might find in a reality show or escape room scenario as the setting for a murder. The author is an expert at pacing as details surrounding the murder are slowly revealed. The story is told from three different points of view- Grayson, Brandon and Anna Belle. Grayson as the ex-husband is the prime suspect. Brandon is one of the detectives on the case. Anna Belle is the victim. The author reveals characters with great depth as she handles heavy topics such as infidelity with care. There is a spiritual thread of forgiveness that is woven into the story. While I eventually figured out the identity of the killer, the motive eluded me until the exciting conclusion. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Jessica Baker (A Baker's Perspective)
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, this book was a page turner! I love suspense books, typically because I enjoy figuring everything out. But this book? It was so much more than that. Yes, it was fun to figure out the whodunit. The author masterfully crafted a string of clues that make you think you're going in one direction, only to bring up something new and make you second guess your answer. There was a point where I just kind of shook my head and decided to read for enjoyment rather then reading for sleuthing. And that i Wow, this book was a page turner! I love suspense books, typically because I enjoy figuring everything out. But this book? It was so much more than that. Yes, it was fun to figure out the whodunit. The author masterfully crafted a string of clues that make you think you're going in one direction, only to bring up something new and make you second guess your answer. There was a point where I just kind of shook my head and decided to read for enjoyment rather then reading for sleuthing. And that is when I started connecting with the characters more. Caroll writes well rounded characters. You get to know each and every character as you read, and although you are trying to solve the case, you can almost sympathize with all of them, which in turn makes it difficult to point your finger at them. Caroll's descriptive writing also brings you right into the story. I felt the slap that Grayson received. I felt the shock of finding out about his ex-wife. I was surprised as details of the day of the "murder" came to light. This is the best thing about reading, feeling as if you are a part of the story, not the reader of the story. Caroll managed to hook me from page one, and from there I just dove deeper and deeper into the story line. When it came to an end, I was almost sad. Sad to leave these wonderful characters, but mostly sad to read Caroll's writing. I cannot wait to read more book from her!I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 
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  • Susan Snodgrass
    January 1, 1970
    'How could someone go so totally out of character?'Grayson Thibodeaux is a psychologist who creates mind-bending games for companies to evaluate their employees. He creates a game for the company who employees his ex-wife, Anna Belle, and she turns up dead. And he turns up as the most likely suspect. But as much as he was hurt by his ex-wife during the course of their marriage, he most definitely did not want to see her dead. But it's up to him to prove himself innocent as one certain police det 'How could someone go so totally out of character?'Grayson Thibodeaux is a psychologist who creates mind-bending games for companies to evaluate their employees. He creates a game for the company who employees his ex-wife, Anna Belle, and she turns up dead. And he turns up as the most likely suspect. But as much as he was hurt by his ex-wife during the course of their marriage, he most definitely did not want to see her dead. But it's up to him to prove himself innocent as one certain police detective is determined to look at only Grayson and no one else.Robin Caroll has always been a good suspense writer, but this time she ratchets up the suspense, layering intricate details with every chapter, totally keeping the reader guessing. The police detective interviews with those in attendance and on the suspect list are amazing and completely fascinating! I never did guess the culprit. And this was one book that had me crazy trying to figure out whodunit. Highly recommended !*My thanks to the publisher and author for a copy of this book. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
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  • Dana Michael
    January 1, 1970
    This is a different kind of book than I normally read. I usually read romantic suspense thrillers or anything with a bit of a romance. This book is totally mystery with no romance. But, with that said, I'm a big fan of this author..So I thought I'd check it out. This book reminded me of cop movies or tv shows with a cast of characters and you get to guess who done it. That was fun because I really didn't guess until it was revealed. If you are a huge fan of murder mysteries, you will enjoy this This is a different kind of book than I normally read. I usually read romantic suspense thrillers or anything with a bit of a romance. This book is totally mystery with no romance. But, with that said, I'm a big fan of this author..So I thought I'd check it out. This book reminded me of cop movies or tv shows with a cast of characters and you get to guess who done it. That was fun because I really didn't guess until it was revealed. If you are a huge fan of murder mysteries, you will enjoy this book. 3 and a half stars.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    I love a good mystery and this one was great. Set in the historical city of New Orleans, the story was very atmospheric and the pacing was brisk.The story focused on a murder that occurred during a team building simulation adventure in a creepy mansion. There are many characters (suspects) and as the crime is unfolded through police interrogations, there are more questions than answers. The story reminded me several times of the movie “Clue” as there were many characters and the setting was dark I love a good mystery and this one was great. Set in the historical city of New Orleans, the story was very atmospheric and the pacing was brisk.The story focused on a murder that occurred during a team building simulation adventure in a creepy mansion. There are many characters (suspects) and as the crime is unfolded through police interrogations, there are more questions than answers. The story reminded me several times of the movie “Clue” as there were many characters and the setting was dark and creepy.I found the story to be original and fun and although I guessed the culprit ahead of time, I was guessing throughout the story.Overall, this was a very fun mystery that I highly recommend!I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Maureen Timerman
    January 1, 1970
    A book that will keep your attention from beginning to end, and when the answers start to come you will be shaking your head and wondering how you didn’t come to this conclusion.I was quickly page turning to find the answers here, and find out who committed the murder and why. The author was great a keeping me guessing and it wasn’t until about three fourths of the book was finished that I thought I had the answer, but did I?I recommend this book for a clean, interesting murder mystery that will A book that will keep your attention from beginning to end, and when the answers start to come you will be shaking your head and wondering how you didn’t come to this conclusion.I was quickly page turning to find the answers here, and find out who committed the murder and why. The author was great a keeping me guessing and it wasn’t until about three fourths of the book was finished that I thought I had the answer, but did I?I recommend this book for a clean, interesting murder mystery that will keep you guessing, shaking your head and changing your mind. I received this book through Celebrate Lit, and was not required to give a positive review.
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  • Nicki
    January 1, 1970
    Oh this book is fabulous with all the twists and turns. Yes, the guilty one is not hard to figure out but the why and how is amazing. The whole twisted idea of the games is fascinating. and I thought the team building I have been part of was bad..just imagine being put into the game. Pam was an amazing character with her sass and in your face ways. Anna Belle was a stinker, Tim was a whim and then there is Grayson. Never in a minute did I think he was involved. But he sure does some crazy things Oh this book is fabulous with all the twists and turns. Yes, the guilty one is not hard to figure out but the why and how is amazing. The whole twisted idea of the games is fascinating. and I thought the team building I have been part of was bad..just imagine being put into the game. Pam was an amazing character with her sass and in your face ways. Anna Belle was a stinker, Tim was a whim and then there is Grayson. Never in a minute did I think he was involved. But he sure does some crazy things. Okay, got a little wrapped up in the story and characters. This book was an attention grabber. If I could give it more than 5 stars I sure would!Thanks for letting me read this one!
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  • Margaret Kazmierczak
    January 1, 1970
    My Penny’s WorthI believe the author did a great of job of creating Anna Belle, who I disliked and liked at the same time. A driven lady who was going to overcome and win using any means possible. That meant she had strength, propelled by a desire to rise above her humble beginnings. Sadly, Anna Belle used her own strength to hurt others, yes even those who loved her dearly. Therefore, I disliked the manner in which Anna Belle used to climb the ladder but liked the author’s skill to make me at o My Penny’s WorthI believe the author did a great of job of creating Anna Belle, who I disliked and liked at the same time. A driven lady who was going to overcome and win using any means possible. That meant she had strength, propelled by a desire to rise above her humble beginnings. Sadly, Anna Belle used her own strength to hurt others, yes even those who loved her dearly. Therefore, I disliked the manner in which Anna Belle used to climb the ladder but liked the author’s skill to make me at odds with this character.A game of who-dun-itThe book as a whole felt more of a holiday who-dun-it as it was a quick read. I enjoyed Grayson’s character but wondered if there are many men who would have acted as he did. One police officer’s determination to only focus on him as the main suspect called into question the “presumed innocent until proved guilty” theory. This is a dangerous game to play.“The man’s faith wasn’t just a card he carried – it was the life he lived.”The same goes for Anna Belle’s mother. She is lovely and deep.“If God, the perfect Father, has disobedient children, why are we mere humans so arrogant to think that our children ought to believe as they should?”Did I enjoy Stratagem?I enjoyed this mystery book, the pace was even, and there were enough suspects to keep you interested. However, the repetitive bringing out the notebook did niggle me a little. I get it the police use notebooks to write things down. To counteract that there are gems like this in the pages:“She’d been wearing stress and strain on her like a favourite sweater.”Who would like this book?If you appreciate mysteries in the modern day world, then you may like this book. It’s a good book on a train journey to work. It also offers questions at the back of the book to ponder on.A heads up…There is mention of adultery and abortion in this book.What am I happy about?I am happy that I don’t have to do a psychological game to further my job prospects – it appears too dangerous!I would like to give Stratagem 3.75 *** Why? Because I guessed who did it.Thank you, Robin Caroll, for writing Stratagem.*I received this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*
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  • Vickie Sarmina
    January 1, 1970
    Deets PR hired an outside agency to help them with a project so that they could choose the next Senior Account Rep for their company. This involved selecting the final four individuals, and informing them that they would spending a weekend at a house, completing various projects. This would enable the company to see how they operated, both as individuals and as a team. It would also give the company enough information to make the correct choice for the promotion of Senior Account Rep. Little did Deets PR hired an outside agency to help them with a project so that they could choose the next Senior Account Rep for their company. This involved selecting the final four individuals, and informing them that they would spending a weekend at a house, completing various projects. This would enable the company to see how they operated, both as individuals and as a team. It would also give the company enough information to make the correct choice for the promotion of Senior Account Rep. Little did the group know that they were actually going to be playing a game. The four individuals were to complete packets of information pertaining to their medical and financial histories. All of this information would be utilized to complete all of the parameters of the game. However, Grayson, Colton’s partner of Game’s On You, is the brains behind the actual setup and customization of the game. There’s just one problem. Grayson’s ex-wife, Anna Belle, works for Deets PR. During one of the rest periods between the game, Anna Belle is found dead, on the floor, in her room. She died due to anaphylactic-shock. Apparently, there was cherry juice in her energy drink. There are so many hidden secrets with everyone of the people involved in the game. Of course, since Grayson is the ex-husband, he’s on the top of the list of suspects. Did Grayson murder her? Who murdered Anna Belle? Where were all of her EpiPens? Grayson knew that she was a fanatic about her EpiPens, and she never went anywhere without them. Who knew about her cherry allergy? Why would anyone want to murder her? Did the game have anything to do with her death? The plot was very detailed and keeps the reader constantly guessing who the murderer is. Just when the reader thinks they know who murdered Anna Belle, another suspect seems to be on the horizon. The character development was great. The mystery and intrigue keeps the reader on their toes until the very end of the book. I also loved the location, which was in New Orleans. I really enjoyed this book. The only issue I had was that the formatting was really horrible and it detracted from the actual flow of the book. I had to read sentences over again on quite a few occasions. I realize that this was a review copy, but the formatting was a huge issue for me. This should be corrected for further books reviews.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Game On Starting this year, I have been avoiding looking at the summary of most of the books that I read, including those I review, to make reading a more exciting experience and to steer clear of figuring out the plot too early. “Stratagem” was featured on many Christian book blogs prior to its release, so when the chance came to read and review it, I jumped on it. Going in, I thought that it was going to be a techno-thriller, so I was actually very pleasantly surprised when I realized that it Game On Starting this year, I have been avoiding looking at the summary of most of the books that I read, including those I review, to make reading a more exciting experience and to steer clear of figuring out the plot too early. “Stratagem” was featured on many Christian book blogs prior to its release, so when the chance came to read and review it, I jumped on it. Going in, I thought that it was going to be a techno-thriller, so I was actually very pleasantly surprised when I realized that it was about a (fictional) murder investigation. Mysteries and thrillers, including crime thrillers, are among my favorite genres, and it is an added bonus when it happens to be Christian fiction as well because despite the subject matter, I can be assured that the language and details will not be too coarse or gritty. “Stratagem” deals with many contemporary issues and a believable cast of characters. There is the murder early on in the story, and as the backstories of the characters unfold, it becomes evident that they are true-to-life in all its virtues and vices. There are no saints, and even the protagonist, Grayson Thibodeaux, has a painful past; he is still coming to terms with prior betrayals when he is plunged into even bigger problems. Some of the topics broached in the novel are divorce, abortion, infidelity, and phobias, among others. The concept of Game’s On You was simultaneously intriguing and disturbing, especially with the real advent of escape rooms as entertainment. Virtual reality takes flak for its potential ill effects on players, and I shudder to think of something like Game’s On You coming into play in society as well. Nevertheless, its use in the novel certainly stokes the reader’s adrenaline, and that, combined with the progression of the narrative, make this an un-put-downable thriller. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I decided to read a book that is a little bit different than what I normally read which almost always has to include romance. However, Stratagem is a suspense book about the murder of an ex-wife. While not my usual read, I have read author Robin Caroll’s books before and the book premise sounded intriguing.First off, Grayson Thibodeaux has such a unique job. It is one in which he creates a life game for businesses. Unfortunately his latest game design ends with the death of his ex-wife Anna Bell I decided to read a book that is a little bit different than what I normally read which almost always has to include romance. However, Stratagem is a suspense book about the murder of an ex-wife. While not my usual read, I have read author Robin Caroll’s books before and the book premise sounded intriguing.First off, Grayson Thibodeaux has such a unique job. It is one in which he creates a life game for businesses. Unfortunately his latest game design ends with the death of his ex-wife Anna Belle. Grayson of course was considered the prime suspect and the homicide detectives investigating both knew him personally. Brandon is his friend and he is on less friendlier terms with Danielle who certainly held a grudge against him.I really enjoyed getting the details of how the game worked. We also get to sit in on the police interviews of all the suspects and others involved. It really made a complete picture and I enjoyed that aspect immensely. And the author gave us a little bit of Anna Belle’s point of view before she died which really made the picture so much clearer.Besides being suspense and a murder mystery, this book definitely takes a look at the failing of a marriage and divorce and the effects it has on the partners. It also took a hard look at forgiveness and what that may look like when is all is said and done and the secrets have been all uncovered. I felt for Grayson and this book was sad in some ways as we begin to get the picture of the dissolution of his marriage. At times the book could be heavy, but it was a good read.I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.https://pausefortales.blogspot.com/20...
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    "Stratagem"by Robin Caroll is a book that is a good read. The plot is a A High-Stakes Simulation Adventure game that turns to murder. The story is written partly as a murder investigation with the characters telling of what part they played leading up to the murder. It was a very easy read and flowed along nicely. It was hard not to think all the characters were guilty of the crime, in fact I was thinking the whole time I read the book that it was all part of the game and the murdered victim was "Stratagem"by Robin Caroll is a book that is a good read. The plot is a A High-Stakes Simulation Adventure game that turns to murder. The story is written partly as a murder investigation with the characters telling of what part they played leading up to the murder. It was a very easy read and flowed along nicely. It was hard not to think all the characters were guilty of the crime, in fact I was thinking the whole time I read the book that it was all part of the game and the murdered victim wasn't really murdered, but I was wrong. I am never good at figured out the guilty person in books I read or movies that I watch, maybe that is a good thing because it keeps me reading and watching. I really liked this book and was wrong about every assumption I made about every character. I am glad I was wrong because all these characters are people that I wanted to like and I ended up liking them all except the real killer.I haven't watch movies like The Hunger Games and etc, but this book made me think I might want to. But, "Stratagem" had a little faith factor in the story, by this statement, I mean the character of Grayson Thibodeaux is known to others as a Christian and lives by his faith, not that any preaching is included in the book. This story is a story of trusting in someone even when the evidence shows trust is not deserved and forgiving even when it is hard.The story is about adultery and abortion is talked about briefly.I was given a complimentary copy by the author and Celebrate Lit. These opinions are my own.
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    This was my first Robin Caroll book but it won’t be my last. I can see why all the hoopla surrounding her stories. The psychological twists and turns in Stratagem are mind-blowing. The way businesses use these freaky games to encourage team work and/or choose which employee is worthy of promotion is kind of sick and twisted yet absolutely fascinating at the same time. For reasons I cannot explain, by the third chapter I knew who the killer was. The frustrating part about that was there was not a This was my first Robin Caroll book but it won’t be my last. I can see why all the hoopla surrounding her stories. The psychological twists and turns in Stratagem are mind-blowing. The way businesses use these freaky games to encourage team work and/or choose which employee is worthy of promotion is kind of sick and twisted yet absolutely fascinating at the same time. For reasons I cannot explain, by the third chapter I knew who the killer was. The frustrating part about that was there was not a single clue to point me in the right direction. It was just a gut instinct. By chapter 10, I did what I never do…I looked at the last chapter, just enough to confirm my suspicion. At first, I was disappointed (in myself) but then the game became to see how the author was going to bring out all the players fears and secrets, and show me why the bad guy was the bad guy. I was not disappointed! I was completely drawn into this story to the point of having a little chat with one of the detectives. I didn’t like all the characters but that’s just a mark of a well-written book. If you like a thriller mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat and turning pages as fast as you can, you will want to read Stratagem. Not only does it have an interesting plot but the faith theme is deeply moving. There is an incredibly sad element in this story that isn’t glossed over but it is tempered by showing God’s love and forgiveness that leads to freedom.I was provided a copy of the book from the publisher. No review was required. No compensation received.
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  • Kelly Bridgewater
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars A romantic suspense or suspense novel for that matter should have the characters running for their life and trying to solve the crime that has occurred near the beginning of the novel. Robin Caroll's Stratagem is a hunt against the clock to solve the murder that occurred in the first chapter to Grayson's wife, Anna Belle. The murder happens, and then the rest of the novel is interview after interview after interview. After completing the whole novel, I would have liked to see the actua 3.5 stars A romantic suspense or suspense novel for that matter should have the characters running for their life and trying to solve the crime that has occurred near the beginning of the novel. Robin Caroll's Stratagem is a hunt against the clock to solve the murder that occurred in the first chapter to Grayson's wife, Anna Belle. The murder happens, and then the rest of the novel is interview after interview after interview. After completing the whole novel, I would have liked to see the actual action leading up to the murder instead of hearing it second hand from the characters. This novel would have been more enticing to me if it was laid out like the movie from the eighties Clue. I see the guest arrive, then we see the action leading up to the interview, then we end up with the aftermath. It felt like I was getting everything second hand, and it didn't satisfy my suspense loving mind. The ending with the layout of what happened was the most interesting part of the novel. I enjoyed seeing who murdered Anna Belle and why. No I didn't figure it out early enough. The person who I thought did it, didn't do it. Overall, Stratagem by Robin Caroll didn't hit out of the park for me. I wish I could have seen the actual murder instead of learning the story from interview after interview.I received a complimentary copy of Stratagem by Robin Caroll from Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.
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  • Ibjoy1953 Hannabass
    January 1, 1970
    MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOKI will have to say, I’ve never heard of mind-bending adventure games. So this was a new adventure for me. Grayson Thibodeaux ended up in the middle of his ex-wife’s murder, being the prime suspect. All leads ended up with Grayson. Or was someone else trying to throw the blame on Grayson and get off scott free?The investigation was interesting, I am always amazed at how investigators end up with so many leads, and figure out the person they need. And this one seemed like MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOKI will have to say, I’ve never heard of mind-bending adventure games. So this was a new adventure for me. Grayson Thibodeaux ended up in the middle of his ex-wife’s murder, being the prime suspect. All leads ended up with Grayson. Or was someone else trying to throw the blame on Grayson and get off scott free?The investigation was interesting, I am always amazed at how investigators end up with so many leads, and figure out the person they need. And this one seemed like a cut and dry case, but the more I read the more holes came up in the investigation. I like Grayson. He was just all around a good guy, and loving Anna Belle wasn’t an easy job! But Anna Belle’s mom was a different thing. I love her, her character was well created and she was just the sweetest lady. It warmed my heart that their relationship started and would continueI feel like I’m jumping around with this review, but there’s a lot going on in this story. A lot of interesting issues, and some not so fun. If you enjoy a good suspense/thriller, I highly recommend Stratagem by author Robin Caroll! I have read many of Ms. Carrol’s books and love them all! I encourage you to check out her other books when you check this one out!A copy of this book was provided by Celebration Lit Tours for me to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.
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  • Becky Lewis
    January 1, 1970
    Usually movies are inspired by books, but the note in the back of the book says Stratagem was hatched after the author watched Michael Douglas and Sean Penn in The Game. Having not watched the movie, it appears the book borrows the basic premise of the movie (a living game), inserts its own characters and adds an additional twist, with themes of forgiveness and acceptance. Grayson Thibodeaux and his partner, Colton York, design living games to build team spirit and test the mettle of a person. W Usually movies are inspired by books, but the note in the back of the book says Stratagem was hatched after the author watched Michael Douglas and Sean Penn in The Game. Having not watched the movie, it appears the book borrows the basic premise of the movie (a living game), inserts its own characters and adds an additional twist, with themes of forgiveness and acceptance. Grayson Thibodeaux and his partner, Colton York, design living games to build team spirit and test the mettle of a person. When their game is used to determine a promotion in Thibodeaux’s ex-wife’s firm, she ends up dead and Thibodeaux finds himself the main suspect. Stratagem is a very fast-paced book with the urgent rhythm of a police force out to solve a murder ASAP. The fact that the characters are in a live game ups the tension and stress for both characters and readers. I thought maybe this time I figured out who-dun-nit. But no, the author, Robin Caroll, had a better idea, and my heart was beating triple time by the book’s end.I have one issue with the book. That would be that Caroll couldn’t convince me that Danielle Witz’s attitude fit her otherwise mature personality. I could see the villain’s thinking being this skewed, but not Detective Witz’s, not even in just this one area. It just doesn’t ring true for me.Having said all that, the action and thrills gave me enough satisfaction to rate this book a five star. I received s complimentary copy of the book from the author and the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to leave a positive review, and all opinions are my responsibility.Quotable about addictions: “It’s never about the debts or consequences, only about being able to feed the high.”
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  • Susan F
    January 1, 1970
    This is a very interesting read. Grayson Thibodeaux is a psychologically challenging game creator who finds himself in one continuous mess when it is discovered that a woman has died during his latest corporate offering. The game supports teambuilding while employees observe potential candidates for an important job in a corporation. To make matters more difficult, the woman who dies is his ex-wife. Even though she dies at the beginning of the story Anna Belle is a strong character throughout th This is a very interesting read. Grayson Thibodeaux is a psychologically challenging game creator who finds himself in one continuous mess when it is discovered that a woman has died during his latest corporate offering. The game supports teambuilding while employees observe potential candidates for an important job in a corporation. To make matters more difficult, the woman who dies is his ex-wife. Even though she dies at the beginning of the story Anna Belle is a strong character throughout the book. The story really focuses on how one person can influence and improve or devastate another person's life. It is also a story of forgiving the unforgivable.This is a good murder mystery as evidence builds against Grayson. I did figure out 'who done it' early in the book but the author brought in some twists that caused me to question my reasoning. That's what makes a good mystery. If you happen to enjoy the mental challenges of a clean murder mystery without a romance I recommend this new book by Robin Caroll. There are some real world conflicts and challenges in the Christian story. Thanks Netgalley and Barbour Publishing for my ARC of the book. I'd like.to see a.series.with these characters including the police officers, Brandon and Danielle.
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  • Suzie
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 StarsIf you are a fan of psychological twists in your entertainment, then Stratagem is for you!Robin Caroll gives readers a book filled with twist, turns, several suspects, and a game that is based on your weaknesses and fears. But what an entertaining ride it is!I had an inkling of who the murder was at the beginning but my mind was changed several times throughout this story.Grayson Thibodeaux is an intelligent character I sympathized with—especially as more about his life and his wife are 4.5 StarsIf you are a fan of psychological twists in your entertainment, then Stratagem is for you!Robin Caroll gives readers a book filled with twist, turns, several suspects, and a game that is based on your weaknesses and fears. But what an entertaining ride it is!I had an inkling of who the murder was at the beginning but my mind was changed several times throughout this story.Grayson Thibodeaux is an intelligent character I sympathized with—especially as more about his life and his wife are revealed. The man was beaten down by his ex-wife in his marriage (and even after), but not once did I believe he was the murderer.The addition of Brandon’s point of view as he and his partner are given the investigation from the legal side of things, and Stratagem is a well-rounded, complete read that will have me looking at escape room games differently the next time I go! Disclosure statement:I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    Stratagem, by Robin Caroll, is a Christian Suspense novel that is full of adventure and suspense. A great “who done it” story with a great message.Grayson is part owner in Game’s On You, which develops games for companies to use with their employees to pick the best candidate for a job. Grayson uses his psychology skills to develop the best game possible. Going against his better judgment, he allows his company to develop a game for his ex-wife’s employer. He goes on vacation, after helping set Stratagem, by Robin Caroll, is a Christian Suspense novel that is full of adventure and suspense. A great “who done it” story with a great message.Grayson is part owner in Game’s On You, which develops games for companies to use with their employees to pick the best candidate for a job. Grayson uses his psychology skills to develop the best game possible. Going against his better judgment, he allows his company to develop a game for his ex-wife’s employer. He goes on vacation, after helping set up the game, and when he comes home he finds out his ex-wife was killed while participating in the game and he is the prime suspect.I really enjoyed reading this story. The story is very well written with well defined characters and scenes. It is easy to imagine watching the story unfold. With that being said, the story has several areas that just are not realistic and the crime scene is explained many times during the story, but it is still a very good story.I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.320 pagesISBN: 9781683227304My rating 4.3 star
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Robin Caroll never disappoints and her newest suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. Caroll plunges the reader into the world of adventure games, increasing the stakes with a murder. I was drawn into the story immediately and hard-pressed to set the novel aside as the intrigue increased with each chapter. Caroll deftly moves between the current challenge of solving the murder and the events of the previous days, keeping me guessing and breathless. I really thought I had figured out the culprit Robin Caroll never disappoints and her newest suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. Caroll plunges the reader into the world of adventure games, increasing the stakes with a murder. I was drawn into the story immediately and hard-pressed to set the novel aside as the intrigue increased with each chapter. Caroll deftly moves between the current challenge of solving the murder and the events of the previous days, keeping me guessing and breathless. I really thought I had figured out the culprit but I should know better than to think I have outsmarted this gifted author. Caroll seamlessy weaves a powerful message of forgiveness into this captivating tale. Add this heart-pounding novel to your reading list!Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    Stratagem is a very well laid out murder mystery that Robin Carroll will keep you guessing as to who the real murderer is. This story will keep your attention and keep you wanting to read until you find out who is at fault. I thought all the characters were very well developed and fit together perfectly. Very well done by Robin Carroll for sure!Grayson is part owner of the company Game's On You. This company devises games for other companies to encourage team building among its employees. When t Stratagem is a very well laid out murder mystery that Robin Carroll will keep you guessing as to who the real murderer is. This story will keep your attention and keep you wanting to read until you find out who is at fault. I thought all the characters were very well developed and fit together perfectly. Very well done by Robin Carroll for sure!Grayson is part owner of the company Game's On You. This company devises games for other companies to encourage team building among its employees. When they get a contract for his now ex-wife's company, Grayson questions it all at first. Colton, Grayson's business partner assures him it will all be ok and they should go ahead with the contract. What Grayson wasn't expecting was for Anna Belle, his ex-wife, to come up murdered while she was at the game house. Who are the police going to point fingers at from the get go on this one? You got it, Grayson, even though he was out of town when it all happened. Woven into this story is the life lesson of learning to forgive someone for what they have done to you, preferably before it is too late. You also learn how some people can keep things from you that you would never guess they would. I love how Robin Carroll keeps us guessing with the clues she throws at us as to who really murdered Anna Belle. This is a good Christian mystery that all adults can appreciate.
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  • Phyllis Whitaker
    January 1, 1970
    Grayson design games for companies that allows their employees to be tested to see their strength and weaknesses. However, they don’t know that it is a game. You design a game for the company that your ex wife works for; and she plays the game with three other employees to determine who gets promoted. But something goes horribly wrong and your ex wife is murdered, and you are the number one suspect. A homicide detective likes you for the murder, and is trying to fit the crime to you. What do you Grayson design games for companies that allows their employees to be tested to see their strength and weaknesses. However, they don’t know that it is a game. You design a game for the company that your ex wife works for; and she plays the game with three other employees to determine who gets promoted. But something goes horribly wrong and your ex wife is murdered, and you are the number one suspect. A homicide detective likes you for the murder, and is trying to fit the crime to you. What do you do. You decide to solve the crime. So you, along with your assistant, decide to backtrack and see what went wrong, who had a motive for murder, and who would want your ex wife dead. This book is full of action, twists and turns, false leads and rabbit trails, and betrayal of the worse kind. Highly recommend. Going on my keeper shelf.
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  • MJSH
    January 1, 1970
    A well-written mystery/suspense novel with a great plot! I am a fan of Robin Caroll’s books and Stratagem definitely lives up to the standards I expect from the author. The plot is full of twists and turns, red flags and red herrings, and well laid-out details that I couldn’t be sure who was the perpetrator until near the end. Grayson is a great character, full of compassion, tenderness, and intelligence. From page one, Grayson pulls the reader into his world of pain, grief, and regret. Brandon A well-written mystery/suspense novel with a great plot! I am a fan of Robin Caroll’s books and Stratagem definitely lives up to the standards I expect from the author. The plot is full of twists and turns, red flags and red herrings, and well laid-out details that I couldn’t be sure who was the perpetrator until near the end. Grayson is a great character, full of compassion, tenderness, and intelligence. From page one, Grayson pulls the reader into his world of pain, grief, and regret. Brandon and Danielle, the two detectives from New Orleans Police Department investigating Grayson’s ex-wife’s death, have a nice professional partnership and bring a voice of reason to order all the clues in a sequential manner. The theme of forgiveness is prominent in the story and Grayson’s sincere desire to forgive those who wronged him in the name of Christ endears him even more. If you enjoy well-written suspense, you will absolutely enjoy this book. I was given a copy of this book from Barbour Publishing via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
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  • Irene S
    January 1, 1970
    After returning home, Grayson is surprised to find that his ex-wife, Anna Belle, has been murdered. Her death from an anaphylactic shock reaction surprises Grayson since he knew Anna Belle was extremely careful. Due to being the ex and the creator of the corporate game where his ex-wife died, Grayson is assumed to be the prime suspect by the lead detective. His friend and assistant Pam will help him unravel the mystery. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Netgallery. T After returning home, Grayson is surprised to find that his ex-wife, Anna Belle, has been murdered. Her death from an anaphylactic shock reaction surprises Grayson since he knew Anna Belle was extremely careful. Due to being the ex and the creator of the corporate game where his ex-wife died, Grayson is assumed to be the prime suspect by the lead detective. His friend and assistant Pam will help him unravel the mystery. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Netgallery. This was an intriguing mystery as the clues are slowly unraveled. I personally would not want to be a participant in a game designed by Grayson. Throughout the book, Grayson struggles with trying to forgive his ex-wife. I enjoyed reading this Christian mystery, I would like to see the police detectives solve another mystery with Grayson's and Pam's help.
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  • Teresa
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Stars Psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux is co owner of a very unique company that creates mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. His ex-wife's company hires them even though he feels it is a huge mistake. His business partner is very persuavsive so he agrees to help create the games and then turn it over to him and leaves town during the weekend long games. What could go wrong? Anna Belle dies during the game and Grayson finds himself as the main suspect. I 4.5 Stars Psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux is co owner of a very unique company that creates mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. His ex-wife's company hires them even though he feels it is a huge mistake. His business partner is very persuavsive so he agrees to help create the games and then turn it over to him and leaves town during the weekend long games. What could go wrong? Anna Belle dies during the game and Grayson finds himself as the main suspect. I can't say enough good things about Stratagem by Robin Caroll. It was definitely action packed with all kinds of twists and turns. I was hooked from the first page and literally had a hard time putting it down and when I had to, it was foremost on my mind. I received a copy from the publishers via NetGalley. This is my honest opinion and views of Stratagem.
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