I post book reviews as often as possible but at least once a week every Wednesday! I hope they help you to find some new books that you'll love as much as I did!
Today is my stop on the blog tour for End Game by Matt Johnson and I've got a guest post from the man himself! Thanks to Anne for organising the tour and don't forget to check out the other stops!
Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settled into his new career as a detective. But when the girlfriend of his former SAS colleague and close friend Kevin Jones is murdered, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over. Jones is arrested for the killing, but soon escapes from jail, and Finlay is held responsible for the breakout. Suspended from duty and sure he’s being framed too, our hero teams up with MI5 agent Toni Fellowes to find out who’s behind the conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals a plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services. End Game, the final part in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay trilogy, sees our hero in an intricately plotted and terrifyingly fast-paced race to uncover the truth and escape those who’d sooner have him dead than be exposed.
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My Three Favourite Reads - Matt Johnson
I wasn’t an avid reader during my Army and Policing service. I used to find time to enjoy a few research works and some interesting biographies, but the time to relax and enjoy a novel tended to be restricted to holidays.
As a result, I tend to be quite picky, and I’m also inclined to be careful before I commit to a particular book or author. That said, there are a few books I’ve read over the years that have appealed to me and which I see very little reference to as a favoured choice of writers.
My first selection is The Stranger by Albert Camus.
Camus was a senior member of the French Resistance in WWII and, at that time, edited the underground newspaper ‘Combat’. Originally entitled L’Etranger, it was the English translation that I read. It’s not a long book, easily read in a weekend, and the story itself is rather simple. But the glimpses into the thoughts, intellect and feelings of the protagonist bring a magical quality to the writing. It’s a novel that taught me much about effective story telling.
My second choice is The Choirboys by Joseph Wambaugh.
In terms of style and genre, this might be as far distant from my first choice as you can go, except that we stay with the crime theme. I was a serving cop when I read this novel, something that certainly added to my enjoyment of it. The Choirboys is the story of a group of night-shift LA cops who spend their post-shift, pre-dawn hours in MacArthur Park enjoying ‘choir practice’ a past-time that involves a lot of alcohol and risk-taking. There is a very dark reality to this story where the group handle not only the dangers of their job, but also the fall out from their chosen style of relaxation. It is chillingly authentic and, again, was very influential on me when I started to write.
My final choice is a tough one as I’ve enjoyed many books by the likes of Peter James, Lee Child and James Patterson. Recently I’ve loved Amanda Jennings psychological thrillers, But I’ve been asked to pick three that are not, perhaps, in receipt of the kind of modern-day recognition that they deserve. I think of the many books that have influenced me, not the least of which was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, but all that came to mind are both well-known and praised.
So, in seeking a lesser-known work, I have chosen -
Harry’s Game by Gerald Seymour.
This tough and gritty portrayal of undercover anti-terrorist work in Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles set, to my mind, a new direction and standard for this kind of thriller. As with The Choirboys, the content of this story was the subject of my personal ‘authenticity’ test and it passed with flying colours. Although I read it years ago, I still have it near my desk and, from time to time, I dip into it for a few moments of quality distraction.
About the Author
Matt Johnson served as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer for twenty- five years. Blown off his feet at the London Baltic Exchange bombing in 1993, and one of the first police officers on the scene of the 1982 Regent’s Park bombing, Matt was also at the Libyan People’s Bureau shooting in 1984 where he escorted his mortally wounded friend and colleague, Yvonne Fletcher, to hospital. Hidden wounds took their toll. In 1999, Matt was discharged from the police with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While undergoing treatment, he was encouraged by his counsellor to write about his career and his experience of murders, shootings and terrorism. One evening, Matt sat at his computer and started to weave these notes into a work of fiction that he described as having a tremendously cathartic effect on his own condition. His bestselling thriller, Wicked Game, which was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger, was the result. Deadly Game and now End Game, the final book in the Robert Finaly series, once again draws on Matt’s experiences and drips with the same raw authenticity of its predecessor.
When terrorists use a drone to bring down a plane on one of London’s busiest shopping centres, it ignites a chain of events that will draw in the innocent and the guilty alike.
DC Max Wolfe of West End Central finds himself caught in the crossfire between a tech-savvy terrorist cell and a revenge-seeking, Bible-quoting murderer called Bad Moses.
And when Max’s ex-wife suddenly reappears to reclaim custody of his beloved daughter Scout, he finds himself fighting the greatest battle of all ...
Girl on Fire is the fifth book in the DC Max Wolfe series but it's the first I've read. It works perfectly well as a standalone, although when it comes to Max and his personal life, I think reading some of the previous books in the series might've enhanced my experience even more and given me a better understanding of Max. Even without reading the previous books though, Max is a really well developed character with a voice that feels authentic and genuine.
The first chapter had me completely engrossed with its powerful opening line and it instantly transported me right to the scene of the plane crash. The rest of the book continued to grip me in this way with its extremely topical themes and intelligent and perceptive exploration of the impact of these themes on each and every part of society. The thing that most stood out to me is how well-researched and realistic it felt.
The ending was heart-breaking but fitting and really made this book memorable.
Overall, I'm giving Girl on Fire 4 out of 5. It's gritty, powerful and engrossing. I really enjoyed it.
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This book was provided for free in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
TONY PARSONS left school at sixteen and his first job in journalism was at the New Musical Express. His first journalism after leaving the NME was when he was embedded with the Vice Squad at 27 Savile Row, West End Central. The roots of the DC Max Wolfe series started here.
Since then he has become an award-winning journalist and bestselling novelist whose books have been translated into more than forty languages. The Murder Bag, the first novel in the DC Max Wolfe series, went to number one on first publication in the UK. All of the DC Max Wolfe novels have been Sunday Times top five bestsellers.
Tony lives in London with his wife, his daughter and their dog, Stan.
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