Title: No Pain, No Game Author: Lucie Ataya Genre: Dystopian Thriller Book Blurb: What would it take for you to endorse human torture? What if it were for the greater good? ...Are you sure? In this alternate version of modern-day Britain, sky-high crime rates and a state of economic crisis mean people live in a climate of fear – while yearning for change, hope and justice. To tackle the nation’s prison overcrowding issue, Sean Cravanaugh, a fearsome television magnate, has devised a radical and controversial solution: a live televised show, pitching selected convicted criminals against one another in a series of dangerous and painful challenges, a fight for their lives and a rare chance at freedom. In the world of ‘No Pain, No Game’, Sean Cravanaugh decides who lives or dies. With his razor-sharp instincts for deciphering and manipulating people, he takes us on a journey bound to make us question our own sense of morality. No Pain, No Game follows the intertwined paths and struggles of those who find themselves, willingly or forcefully, entangled in the show. They lead us into a world of pain and trickery, where nothing and no one truly is the way they seem. Can they cope with the nation’s anger and hatred, standing as they do in the eye of the storm? Who will lose everything, and who will come out unscathed? Excerpt: The little girl pulled the curtain aside and watched through the living-room window as police cars rushed down the street, stopping abruptly in front of their house. The cars’ lights sent red and blue rays flashing all around them, bursting through the darkness, illuminating the sleeping street, reminding her of a firework display she had once seen with her father. Men and women in uniform poured out of the vehicles, rushing into the front garden, marching in her direction. The little girl glanced back over her shoulder. Her father was slouched against the doorframe between the entrance hall and the living room, his head in his hands, sobbing. She went to him, her stuffed rabbit hanging from her clenched fist. She knelt down next to him, placing her hand on his shaking shoulder. She did not quite know what to say, so she said nothing. When he looked up at her, his eyes were full of tears. She rubbed his arm gently, cocking her head to one side. He brought one hand to her face and cupped her cheek, with such love and tenderness that she felt maybe everything would be alright after all. He had always protected her. For so long it had been just the two of them against the world, surely this time again he would make it all ok. She gave him a smile, and he looked at her sadly. He kissed the top of her head. It was a gesture he had made so many times before, except this time it felt a bit different. She did not know why. Outside, the pack of strangers was growing louder and more impatient by the second. They stormed up the short walkway to the house and pounded persistently on their front door. Someone was shouting something, though the little girl could not understand exactly what they were saying. She looked at the door, and turned to her father again, unsure what to do. But her daddy was looking only at her, watching her face in silence, tears rolling down his cheeks. That was when she felt scared too, because the look on her father’s face was not the look of one who would make everything ok. He looked afraid, scared like she had never seen him before. She gripped his arm tightly, wishing for some reassurance. She did not understand what was going on. Everything felt different and strange. Before either of them could make another move, the front door burst open with an ear-shattering sound and troops of people carrying guns stormed in, shouting and screaming and stomping their feet. The girl recoiled, curling herself up into a ball against her trembling father, her fingers squeezing his limp hand. The police were all over the house now, zooming in and out of every room, up and down the stairs, gathering eventually in the little kitchen, from where the little girl could hear them talking animatedly. She buried her face in her father’s stained, wet shirt, hoping that when she emerged back the strangers would have left and everything would have gone back to normal. But that did not happen. Two strong arms grabbed hold of her and tried to pull her away from her father. She kicked and screamed and held on tight to her father’s hand. He was squeezing her fingers in his palm now, but two men were on him, pinning him forcefully to the ground, pulling him away from her, forcing both his fists behind his back. The girl called out for him, terrified. Her father was shouting her name and all she wanted was to join him, to hide in his arms until all of this was over. The policemen surrounding her father were beating him with large black sticks, and the little girl screamed for them to stop, as loud as she could, louder than she had ever screamed in her life. A moment later her father stopped calling out her name. In fact, he had stopped moving altogether, and was lying still, facedown on the hardwood floor. The little girl struggled, craning her neck to get a glimpse of her father’s face. His forehead and cheeks were bathed in red. He appeared to be asleep, just like her mummy was, on the kitchen floor. The little girl thought this an odd time for either of them to go to sleep, when so many people were in their home and she felt so alone and scared. Two policemen dragged her father away, and she watched them disappear through the front door. She collapsed on the living room floor, her shaking hands clasped around her stuffed rabbit’s ears. She felt suddenly very tired, exhausted by the effort of trying to understand all these strange things happening around her. The pain and terror were too much for her to comprehend and though she willed herself to stay awake, she could feel her eyelids growing heavier and heavier. The last thing she was somewhat aware of was that she could see people hunched around her mother’s body. She could almost glimpse the dark, velvety crimson liquid surrounding her mother’s head like a halo on the white tiles of the kitchen floor. And then, a moment later, she drifted into nothingness, and everything around her disappeared.
Buy Links (including Goodreads):
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08G8L3L91
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B08G8L3L91
What’s your favorite activity to shake off the winter doldrums?
Long walks with my dog by the river Thames!
Why is your featured book a cure for the winter blues?
No Pain, No Game tackles a lot of themes that are relevant to our modern-day society – it’s a book that will get readers thinking about the lengths to which people will go in the name of justice. It’s the perfect read to get one’s brain going!
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Runs March 1 – 31, 2021.
Drawing will be held on April 1, 2021.
Lucie Ataya grew up in Tours, France where her passion for writing and her love for the English language were born. She studied modern languages, took a random detour through Radford, Virginia in the US and moved to England to complete a Masters' Degree in Sociology at the University of Bristol. She now lives in London with her husband, their Cocker Spaniel Veer and their Burmese cat Leela.
A yogi at heart, Lucie practices yoga as a qualified Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher. For her day job, she works as a Product Manager in an Ad tech company.
When she's not writing, working or practising her Sun Salutations, she can be spotted walking with Veer, trialing independent coffee shops, or indulging in crafty projects.
Her first novel, 'No Pain, No Game', was published in 2020.
Her second novel, 'The Dhawan Brothers' is due to release in 2021.
Lucie is the co-founder of The Indie Writers Collective, an initiative dedicated to promoting Indie Authors and their work (Instagram: @the.indie.writers.collective).
You can learn more about Lucie on her website
And on Instagram: @lucieataya
Social Media Links:
Author Instagram: @lucieataya
Co-founder of @the.indie.writers.collective