All The Wicked Games by Lauren North

If your best friend was in danger, you’d try to save her…wouldn’t you?

Are you ready to play?

Best friends Cleo and Rachel spend their evenings pretending to be people they’re not, inventing elaborate stories to escape the monotony of their real lives. It’s all harmless fun – until they play the game on the wrong person…

It’s your move now.

Five years later, Cleo is still struggling to come to terms with the night that destroyed her friendship with Rachel and almost cost them their lives. And then she receives a text: Rachel is missing. Have you seen her?

There’s only one person to blame.

Wracked with guilt for failing Rachel the last time they were in danger, Cleo races to find her friend. But could the past be repeating itself? Only this time, they’re caught up in a far darker game.

The rules don’t matter when the goal is revenge.

I am a big fan of Lauren North and she’s on my “buy without blurb” list where I automatically preorder her next book without even knowing what it’s about! All The Wicked Games was a much anticipated read for 2022 (as is her next book The Ugly Truth which is out in 2023-there were a few much listed after proofs at Harrogate Crime Festival this year and early reviews are saying it’s AMAZING!) and as usual Lauren North hit it out of the park!

Besties Cleo and Rachel have drifted apart since an horrific event changed their friendship forever. Cleo has moved out of the digs they used to share and is now working on the cruise ships. But Rachel (and the night where everything fell apart) is never far from her thoughts and when Beth, Rachel’s sister, contacts her to say that Rachel has gone missing she decides to put off embarking on her latest ship to go back and investigate what has happened to her friend…

All The Wicked Games is a shocking psychological thriller that kept me on my toes throughout! Full of unexpected twists and unsavoury characters, I could not put it down! I was so full of questions that I needed answers to NOW such as what happened THAT NIGHT?! Where was Rachel? And what did it have to do with what happened THAT NIGHT?!! Yes everything seems to point back to the night that Cleo and Rachel played their game and it took them in a direction that has affected both of them (in different ways) ever since.

Both girls use their POV to explain what happened THAT NIGHT and how it has led to Rachel’s disappearance 5 years later. We get flashbacks to their early friendship and how it is the game that starts a crack that only seems to grow, creating a canyon that neither of them can cross to get back to the way things were. I remember when a similar game was happening and was very popular especially among teenagers and it worried me sick imagining the sickos taking advantage of the young and the lonely. And there were certainly lots of unsavoury characters hanging around just waiting pounce but could any of them be responsible for what has happened to Rachel?

This is a compelling story about culpability and it’s affect on relationships. Cleo feels guilty about everything that has happened to Rachel and struggles to overcome those feelings even when faced with the truth about the situation she now finds herself in. But why is the past repeating itself and can anyone stop it before it’s too late? It’s game on but this may be one game where the winner DOESN’T take it all!

I loved All The Wicked Games and found it a compelling page turner, full of all the shocks we have all come to love and expect in our psychological thrillers nowadays. Toxicity flows from Lauren Norths words and I loved mopping it up! Highly recommended by me!

All The Wicked Games is published by Penguin on 1st September 2022.

LAUREN NORTH writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and from her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.

Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside. Readers can follow Lauren on Twitter @Lauren_C_North and Facebook @LaurenNorthAuthor


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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

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