Bart Minnock, founder of the computer gaming giant U-Play, enters his private room, and eagerly can’t wait to lose himself in an imaginary world, to take on the role of a sword-wielding warrior king, in his company’s latest top-secret project, Fantastical.
The next morning, he is found in the same locked room, in a pool of blood, his head separated from his body. It is the most puzzling case Lieutenant Eve Dallas has ever faced, and it is not a game. . . .
She is having as much trouble figuring out how Bart Minnock was murdered as determining who did the murdering. The victim’s girlfriend seems sincerely grief-stricken, and his quirky but brilliant partners at U-Play appear shocked as well. No one seems to have had a problem with the enthusiastic, high-spirited millionaire.
Of course, success can attract jealousy, and gaming, like any business, has its fierce rivalries and dirty tricks — as Eve’s husband, Roarke, one of U-Play’s competitors, knows well. But Minnock was not naive, and he knew how to fight back in the real world as well as the virtual one.
Eve and her team are about to enter the next level of police work, in a world where fantasy is the ultimate seduction — and the price of defeat is death.