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Critical Hit

A novel by


From the author of the critically acclaimed Westside—named one of the most notable books of 2019 by the New York Times—comes a thrilling supernatural mystery novel about the cutthroat world of tabletop roleplaying games, where life and death depend on the whims of a plastic die.

How do you win a game that's trying to kill you?

It’s April, 2003, and Callie Myles is adrift. A 29-year-old games store clerk living in the Appalachian hamlet of Jett Creek, Tennessee, she has nothing to show for a lifetime of rule-following but a mountain of student debt. Life would be unbearable if she didn’t have Winterwind.

A roleplaying game created by Callie’s older brother, LB, Winterwind is more than weekly entertainment. It’s a place where following the rules is the only way to win, where dice and conversation conjure stories out of thin air, where painted miniatures are truly larger than life. It’s the closest thing to magic Callie has ever known. When LB burns to death in a bizarre fire, all of that is destroyed.

Asked by her friends to keep the weekly game alive, Callie searches LB's files for clues about where their adventure was headed. Instead, she discovers a portal into the game itself, where she can live as her beloved character, the marksman Arabeth. In this imaginary world of great heroes and dastardly villains, Callie finds an escape from mourning—until she learns something inside the game killed LB, and one of her fellow players was in on it.

Haunted by grief and pursued by a vengeful magician whose power is like nothing this world has ever seen, Callie Myles must master her brother's game to avenge his death. She will become the greatest GM in history or, like her brother, she will be swallowed by fire.

Genre: Mystery

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