Overview Three men--served together in Desert Storm. Their job was to create propaganda leaflets that stripped the enemy of his will to resist. Now, fifteen years later, the enemy is out to return the favor. He's playing head games with them...and won't stop until their worlds are turned completely upside down.
Publishers Description Cale Caldwell was a man who had everything: a devoted wife, a loving daughter, and a stellar career. Suddenly, a tragic sequence of seemingly random events threatens to take away everything Cale loves - everything he lives for. But are the tragedies really random, or is there a method behind the madness? Cale Caldwell has always been a master of persuasion. As a creative director in a top ad agency, he knows how to influence the public's will. Fifteen years ago, his words helped take down a fascist regime. But now a mysterious stranger lurks in the shadows. Though Cale has never met him, the man is determined to see Cale dead. He, too, is a master of persuasion. He has learned Cale's strengths, his weaknesses, his darkest fears, and he plans to use them to orchestrate Cale's death - without firing a single shot. Including a unique graphic-novel introduction illustrated by the author himself, Head Game is a psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end.
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Studio: Thomas Nelson
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.5" Width: 6.44" Height: 1.05" Weight: 1.16 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2007
Publisher Thomas Nelson
ISBN 1595540237 ISBN13 9781595540232
Availability 0 units.
More About Tim Downs
TIM DOWNS is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University in Graphic Design. After graduation in 1976 he created a comic strip, Downstown, which was syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate. His cartooning has appeared in more than a hundred newspapers worldwide. In 1979 he joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ, where he founded and directed the Communication Center, a communication training facility. He continues to serve as a speaker and writer. He and his wife, Joy, have spoken at FamilyLife Marriage and Parenting Conferences since 1985. He is author of First the Dead, Less Than Dead, Chop Shop, Head Game, Plague Maker, Shoo Fly Pie, and Finding Common Ground, which was awarded the Gold Medallion Award in 2000. He is also co-author of Fight Fair and The Seven Conflicts: Resolving the Most Common Disagreements in Marriage along with his wife Joy. Tim lives in Cary, North Carolina, with his wife and three children.
Tim Downs currently resides in the state of North Carolina.
Reviews - What do customers think about Head Game?
Excellent, Exciting, and Easy to get to the End Aug 25, 2008
I loved the book as a whole. Some parts of it made me mad though, b/c I hate when characters willfully act stupid. It's like a jigsaw puzzle, sometimes it's infuriating how much of a mess is in the middle, but in the end, things snap together nicely. This is probably one of the closest Tim Downs has come to a "happily ever after" ending, and even that definitely has unexpected twists and turns.
Having the first chapter drawn as a comic book was an interesting and fitting move. There are a few moments you think the characters are dialoguing for the reader benefit, but Downs does dialogue so well you can forgive the unsubtle move.
Cale's a great character. No Nick Polchak, but you want to sympathize with him. His daughter's a fairly static character, but you can picture her well in your mind's eye: a 13-year-old who's in a world of hurt from losing her mother.
Downs is always a worthwhile read, go for it. This book is probably one of those even worth buying and keeping for a second read through.
Entertaining Feb 13, 2008
I once got a chance to go to a military expo and one of the displays was for psy ops. I think Tim did a very good job with that and added enough plot twists and creativity to make what could have been a very stock story very entertaining. Be sure to read the after word about Tim's art-he is a multi-talented guy!
If you couldn't handle the bugs try this book Jan 12, 2008
Tim comes up with another winner. For the first 100 pages the story is a bit depressing and Cale, the main character, goes through just about all a person can handle. Knowing things would get better I pressed on and was rewarded with a very good, uplifting story. The story took quite a few turns and a few of them were a complete surprise. The tension built smoothly and adding a child to the terror made it all the more stressful. It was hard to put it down. The last chapter wraps up the story very nicely which this reader is always thankful for. Although listed as Christian fiction it's really not, even though there's no foul language or liberal philosophies. In fact much of the theology that's skimmed over in the story is not scriptural but because no one really claims to be a Christian it's excusable. I'm looking forward to the next installment of the bugman series.
1 Star = I've been robbed! 2 Stars = Why'd I finish it? 3 Stars = Good 4 Stars = Excellent 5 Stars = Life changing
Readers won't want to miss this one. Jun 5, 2007
In his absorbing thriller, HEAD GAME, the talented Tim Downs explores the power of psychological warfare, with excellent results.
Downs (PLAGUEMAKER) sets up his best novel to date by giving us a window into the Gulf War and three men who form a tightly-knit PsyOps unit. Cale Caldwell is an advertising executive whose fresh talents are put to work writing leaflets encouraging Iraqi soldiers to surrender. "The product the Army was selling was simply life: survival; continued existence; the chance to see your loved ones again; the chance to get your first decent meal in weeks...." "King" Kirby (born Alderson Dumfries) is an aspiring comic book illustrator whose talents are put to work in the PsyOps unit. Captain "Pug" Moseley is the wise Intelligence Officer who also does "market research" and is "the old warhorse" of the group.
Downs excels at intriguing the reader with his detailed account of how the trio puts together leaflets that will best appeal to Iraqi soldiers and cause them to surrender. His descriptions of the nuances of language and how a word used or deleted can affect the reader will capture fans from the opening pages. (For example, The Army changes a leaflet message from "Surrender" to "Surrender with honor" with significant results.)
But all of this is background to the story that unfolds in present-day Charlotte, North Carolina, where Caldwell, a recent widower, and his teenage daughter Hannah are caught in a downward spiral of unfortunate events. Caldwell is told that his former PsyOps buddy Kirby has committed suicide. Caldwell's dead wife's past may not be as squeaky clean as he imagined, and the mild-mannered and beloved family dog, Molly, has seemingly attacked an innocent passerby. Then Hannah, angry and bitter about her mother's death and her father's long absences, takes up with a hardened girl at school and plots revenge against what she sees as her father's misdeeds. But are these misfortunes really random events? Or the work of a brilliant enemy bent on revenge?
Fans who have followed Downs from his debut novel, SHOOFLY PIE, will be delighted to see that he isn't afraid to explore new genres (most previous novels have had a tie-in to forensics or biological warfare). However, they'll also wonder what happened to Downs's delightful sense of humor, which is part of what made his earlier novels (CHOP SHOP) so appealing. It's not in evidence much here. The death of Hannah by a drunk driver is also a stock plot element overly used in faith fiction. One publishing snafu: A discount sticker that the reader is supposed to peel away for instructions on redemption turned out to be a bust --- the instructions were illegible.
However, the success of this suspense novel lies in Downs's fresh approach to what could have been a tired plot in another author's hands (old enemy seeks revenge). One of the most interesting portions of the book is the opening chapter, which is done as a graphic novel illustration of suicide, penned by the author. It's wonderful to see some experimentation in faith fiction --- WestBow is to be commended for taking some chances here --- as should Downs for executing this well. One of Downs's stunning plot twists keeps the reader glued to the story until the last page is turned.
Downs is one of the most talented suspense novelists in the faith fiction genre, and keeps improving with each new book. Readers won't want to miss this one.
--- Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Downs is Up Apr 25, 2007
If I could put together a batting line-up for the best in suspense, I'd be sure to include some of my newest favorites: Harlan Coben, Joseph Finder, Robert Liparulo, and Daniel Silva. There is no doubt, though, that Tim Downs would belong on that list. From his quirky Bug Man series, to his international thriller "Plague Maker," to this newest head-to-head mind game between two Gulf War survivors, Downs continues to impress.
"Head Game" follows Cale Caldwell, a man trained in pyschological operations. He used his skills to convince thousands of Iraqi soldiers to surrender in the Gulf War, but now he's settled into more routine employment while trying to raise a teenage daughter and recover from the death of his beloved wife. Adding to the pressure, he finds out that a fellow vet has committed suicide by throwing himself off a bridge.
Cale and his old war buddy, Pug, find themselves pitted against an Iraqi with a view for revenge. There are no-holds barred in this man's twisted game, and Cale will be stretched to his limits as he discovers things about himself, his marriage, and his daughter. The book speeds along at a great pace, while never forgetting to care about its characters. Downs also makes a subtle, but very effective, comparison between the psychological warfare waged against one man and the spiritual warfare we all face--against depression, loneliness, and doubt.
Once again, Tim Downs hits one out of the park. If someone asks me who I want at bat on this team of suspense, I'll tell them, "Downs is up!"