The Players by Darren O’Sullivan #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the latest book by Darren O’Sullivan, The Players.

The Players: ‘Saw meets I See You’ in the gripping, must-read serial killer thriller in summer 2021 by [Darren O’Sullivan]


A stranger has you cornered.
They call themselves The Host.
You are forced to play their game.
In it one person can live and the other must die.

You are the next player.
You have a choice to make.

This is a game where nobody wins…


Darren O’Sullivan hits the ground running with his new novel, The Players, and the tension doesn’t let up.  It’s actually the first book I have read by Darren, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get round to reading one of his novels. This is a really twisty, dark crime thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat right the way through. I definitely need to catch up now on what he has written before.

The criminal in this book is a sick and twisted individual. They call themselves ‘The Host.’ They don’t care who it is who they target. Anyone can be a victim; no one is safe. The horrifying thing is that The Host doesn’t reveal themselves. They give their instructions to the individuals playing the game, and someone always must die. He also reveals when the next game will be, and it really becomes a race against time for the police to stop him before he carries another one out.

The premise of this book is really terrifying. Darren O’Sullivan creates the feeling that no one is safe and that the killer is always one step ahead of the police. I really liked Detective Inspector Karen Holt. When we are first introduced to her, we know that something has happened in her past and Darren O’Sullivan gradually reveals what went wrong and why she isn’t currently working. I loved the friendship she had with her colleague, who is always fighting her corner. She is such a strong lead. I am hoping that Darren is going to return to her character in future books.

There is tension on every single page in this book. I was rooting for the police to uncover who ‘The Host,’ was. I wanted to know who could be behind the twisted games they were playing. I wanted to understand the killer’s motivation behind this. It seems as though they are on a mission to prove something to the public and the police. What I thought was really interesting as well, was that Darren O’Sullivan explored the public’s perception of the case through social media. We can see how people battle against each other as they try to put their thoughts and feelings across. Especially when it comes to who is to blame for the killings, the Host, or the people who carried them out.

Karen is absolutely determined to stop ‘The Host’ from killing again. Even though this is difficult for her as she shouldn’t be involved in the investigation. By getting herself involved, she is putting her career at further risk. But this is what I really admired about her. She doesn’t care about what happens to herself; she cares about seeing justice prevail.

The Players is a top crime thriller, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It gets a very easy five stars from me.

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 13th May 2021

Print length: 448 pages

The Players by Darren O’Sullivan is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones