Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Action Thriller
Reeling from the attempts on his life and that of his family, Police Inspector Robert Finlay returns to work to discover that any hope of a peaceful existence has been dashed. Assigned to investigate the Eastern European sex-slave industry just as a key witness is murdered. Finlay, along with his new partner Nina Brasov, finds himself facing a ruthless criminal gang, determined to keep control of the traffic of people into the UK. On the home front, Finlay’s efforts to protect his wife and child may have been in vain, as an MI5 protection officer uncovers a covert secret service operation that threatens them all… Picking up where the bestselling Wicked Game left off, Deadly Game sees Matt Johnson’s damaged hero fighting on two fronts. Aided by new allies, he must not only protect his family but save a colleague from an unseen enemy … and a shocking fate.
I’m so pleased to be a stop on the blog tour for Deadly Game.
This is the second book in a series following Robert Finlay and though I didn’t have the time to read the first book in the series, it read just fine on it’s own. There was enough relevant background information provided that I felt caught up on what had happened to Finlay in Wicked Game. After an attempt on his life and that of his family’s, Robert is trying to regain some normalcy and balance. They are living in a safe house and though things are less complicated, he’s suffering from night terrors and PTSD. His new job finds him investigating the sex trade industry and partnering up with Nina, who was a character that I really took to.
This book packed quite the punch as it was multifaceted and covered a wide variety of issues. It’s set in the months following 9/11 when tensions are high and there is always a sense of danger lurking in the shadows. There was espionage, sex trafficking, terrorism, political intrigue, conspiracy theories and military operations. I don’t generally read books with this type of subject material, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! Toni is the Finlay families liaison officer, she works for M15 and was very interesting, she kept me on my toes. When you’re reading a book with so many spies it was almost impossible to know who had a hidden agenda or who was trustworthy, completely intriguing.
The pacing was spot on, it was fast with brief chapters that entice you to keep reading for just one more chapter. Johnson’s writing style is tight, sharp and full of authenticity based on his own personal history as a police officer. Finlay as a character was well developed and easily likable to me and the secondary characters were also richly developed adding fantastic depth. The scariest part of the plot, for me, is that the sex trade industry is really happening and the scenes with these poor young woman were heartbreaking, shocking and harrowing.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my review copy.
About the Author:
Matt Johnson served as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer for 25 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 once again draws on Matt’s experiences and drips with the same raw authenticity of its predecessor.