Book Title: Deadly Game
Author: Matt Johnson
Reviewed By: Chelsea
Series: Robert Finlay #2
Genres: Crime Fiction, Suspense, Thriller, Mystery
Date Read: 03/21/17
Pub Date: 02/20/17
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 going to keep this review very brief; I think to overly discuss the plot and it’s many facets would do the future reader a huge injustice and I don’t want to be responsible for taking away from another person’s experience. That being said… Wow! What a story! I’m new to the Finlay series and picked up Deadly Game to participate in the blog tour for Orenda, so I wasn’t sure what to expect and if I’d need to do some digging first to fill in the gaps I might be missing. The good news is that, if you should decide to pick this up as a standalone, you’re in luck as it’s easy to fall right in. You have the luxury of being filled in of the goings on in the previous book which means I didn’t miss a beat in enjoying such a thrilling story! The only slight downside I can see in this is that you won’t truly be able to go back and read the first book with the same expectations as if you’d read it first, as we are made aware of the twisty ending and such by picking up book #2.
The story was layered and blossomed over the course of the read; we of course have the main investigation that is central to this particular entry in the series, but there are some residual storylines tying in from what I imagine was a strong focus in the first book. The atmosphere in this book was tense and fierce; I was amazed at how suspenseful things felt even during the times of little to no action. The pacing was speedy and the chapters were brief snippets; my favorite type! It is clear, even if you have no previous background on the author, that he is well versed and knowledgable in the subject matter at hand and the occupations he writes about. I’ve had the pleasure of reading his guest posts provided by other bloggers in the past couple of weeks and am amazed at the real life experiences and stories he has to tell. If you enjoy a dark, tense thriller with sub genre focus on military and government conspiracy, this is the book for you. I’m under the impression that this is to be a trilogy featuring Robert Finlay and am very excited to see how he chooses to finish out the series.
*Many thanks to Karen Sullivan and the author for providing my copy; it was a delight to participate in the blog tour!
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.