Book Review: Lovegame by Tracy Wolff

This was one of those books that started out slow, but once I found the story’s rhythm, I was hooked until the end.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
One-Sentence Synopsis
A writer doing a story on an actress doesn’t tell her his true intentions, which makes it more complicated when he falls for her. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
Undercover Writer
Ian writes true crime novels and has been asked to do a feature story for a magazine on Veronica, a Hollywood starlet from a well-known acting family. What he doesn’t tell her is that he’s actually trying to get information for his current novel, which is about a serial killer who’s connected to Veronica.
Ice Queen Starlet
Veronica has made a lifestyle out of keeping control and not letting anyone get close to her. When Ian starts breaking through that wall, she fights as long as she can before she finally lets him get to her.  Their relationship is very dom/sub when it comes to sex. For someone who doesn’t like to give up control, Veronica finds herself submitting to Ian and actually enjoying it, even though he pushes her away after a few of their encounters for personal reasons of his own.
Possible Insanity
Unfortunately, Veronica’s lack of control with Ian is the least of her worries. Strange things are happening, and all the evidence points to them having been done by Veronica, even though she has no memory of doing them. It doesn’t help that a few months prior she’d taken on the role of a serial killer from one of Ian’s books-turned-movie, and she’s still dealing with that psychological bruise. Now she can’t determine if someone is messing with her or if she’s really going nuts. It doesn’t help that she’s having to deal with a really immature mother who’s about as deep as mud puddle.
The story is told from first-person switching viewpoints, but unlike a lot of books that tell you each chapter who the narrator is, this one didn’t. However, it was easy to tell based on context. Because of all the secrets the two kept from each other, the switching POVs kept me engaged without being too in the dark. However, it was still a nice slow mystery with a strange twist that seemed a little nutty, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it.
Cast of Characters
I loved the development of both characters. They both start out cold. Ian is interviewing Veronica and he’s pushy with his questions, pressing past any discomfort he notices in her, even though he has a pretty good idea of why his questions make her uncomfortable. Veronica is purposely cold. She’s built up her demeanor for years because she refuses to let anyone in. So it was interesting to watch them thaw together and realize just how well they’re matched.
Both Veronica and Ian have secrets in their past, things they don’t want anyone to know about and things that have shaped who they’ve become. Though not overly detailed, there are some triggering events when Veronica talks about what happened to her (child molestation and rape).
The Romance Factor
I loved the emotion between Ian and Veronica when the floodgates opened. There was a lot of angst with Veronica trying to fight her feelings and Ian dealing with the knowledge that he’s not being fully truthful with her, which then led to a ton of emotion. At the same time, I felt that it was also kind of a slow burn and well-developed. They have a passionate relationship without any unbelievable insta-love. 4/5
The Steam Factor
Hot. So hot. The sex scenes in this book definitely put off some heat, made hotter by the whole sub/dom factor which seemed to be handled well in light of Veronica’s childhood trauma. 5/5
Final Thoughts
Sex, suspense, interesting characters, and a few crazy side characters were a great mix for good read. Though the themes and overall tone were dark and a bit disturbing, it was entertaining and kept me guessing as to what was going on.