It is my absolute pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for the latest book in the DS Mark Heckenberg series from author Paul Finch, Kiss of Death. Not only have I had the pleasure of an early read so will be imparting my thoughts on the book upon you all, but I have an exclusive extract to share too (which does contain some bad language – just so you know). Here is what the book is all about.
About the Book
Could this be the end for Heck?
The Sunday Times bestseller returns with an unforgettable crime thriller. Fans of MJ Arlidge and Stuart MacBride won’t be able to put this down.
Don’t let them catch you…
A Deadly Hunt
DS ‘Heck’ Heckenburg has been tasked with retrieving one of the UK’s most wanted men. But the trail runs cold when Heck discovers a video tape showing the fugitive in a fight for his life. A fight he has no chance of winning.
A Dangerous Game
Heck realises that there’s another player in this game of cat and mouse, and this time, they’ve not just caught the prize: they’ve made sure no one else ever does.
A Man Who Plays With Fire
How far will Heck and his team go to protect some of the UK’s most brutal killers? And what price is he willing to pay?
Kiss of Death
by Paul Finch
‘You don’t have to say anything,’ Reed intoned, watching the fleeing trio as, one by one, they were overpowered, unmasked and clapped into handcuffs, ‘but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something you may later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.’
‘You’re also under arrest for being a sacrilegious little fuck,’ the big Welsh cop whispered, leaning into Wolf as he fastened his hands behind his back.
‘We don’t fear your god,’ Wolf hissed in an agonised voice.
‘You shouldn’t.’ The Welsh cop yanked the fractured mask off the lean, sweaty features underneath. ‘My God’s merciful. Problem you’ve got, boyo, is . . . there’s a long, hard road before you get to Him.’
Beside the vestry door, the cop in blue snapped a pair of cuffs onto Goat, who, without his mask, was gaunt and pale, his carroty red hair hanging in lank strands as he cowered there.
‘Get up,’ the cop said, standing. His accent was Northwest England.
‘Shit . . . think you . . .’ Goat’s voice became whiny, frantic. ‘Think you broke my arm.’
‘No, I didn’t . . . just whacked you on a nerve cluster.’ The cop kicked him. ‘Get up.’
‘Can’t feel anything under my elbow.’
‘You’re facing three murder charges.’ The cop grabbed him by an armpit and hauled him to his feet. ‘A dicky elbow’s the least of your problems.’
‘Christ!’ Goat screamed. ‘My arm’s broke . . . God-Christ!’
‘Thought you boys didn’t believe in Christ?’
‘It’s killing me, mate . . . for fuck’s sake!’
‘Sucks when you’ve come to hurt someone and found it’s the other way round, eh? Who are you, anyway?’
‘Sh . . . Sherwin . . .’ the prisoner stammered.
‘That’s my first name. Last name’s Lightfoot . . . Oh shiiit, my fucking arm!’
‘Sherwin Lightfoot? For real?’
‘Yeah . . . oh, sweet Jeeesus . . .’
‘Fair enough. You’re also getting locked up for having a stupid name.’
‘Everything all right, Heck?’ Reed called.
‘Heck?’ Lightfoot said. ‘Look who’s bloody talking . . .’
‘Shut up,’ the cop called Heck retorted. ‘Everything’s smashing, sir. Why wouldn’t it be?’
‘Easy, Sarge.’ Reed ran a finger round the inside of his clerical collar but made such a dog’s breakfast of loosening it that its button popped off. ‘I was only asking.’
‘I have done this before, you know.’
And that was only the beginning. Wait until you read the ending …
Gah. How on earth do I start? If you even remotely a fan of the Heck series, then you are absolutely going to love this book. And, if you are like me, you are going to bloody well curse author Paul Finch for how he sets us up and leaves us hanging, as without a doubt he does just that. If you like your cases wrapped up all nice and neat with a clear line over the end of the book, this is going to bug the hell out of you and no mistake as it ends on an almighty cliffhanger – just putting it out there.
But enough about the end, what about the story? Well this time around Heck is thrown somewhat of a curveball. After the thrill of the capture outlined in the extract, the team are given what appears to be a much more sedate assignment – tracking down some of the worst criminals on the UK’s unofficial ‘most wanted’ list. Chasing down cold cases was not what you’d expect Heck and co to be doing but, as with any of this fabulous series, nothing is ever quite as straight forward as it seems. Chasing down his own particular felon launches Heck into the middle of a case which is much darker than he could have imagined and one which puts his life in grave danger.
So far, so Heck. Would you want it any other way?
I think what really makes this series is the way in which Paul Finch has created such likeable, if somewhat maverick characters. You root for them all the time, even those you may not yet have a strong feeling for, such as newcomer to the team, Gail Honeyford. She has a history with Heck which makes their partnership a little awkward, at least for him, but I liked her straight away. No nonsense, yet not quite straight enough to stop Heck at his most maverick, she is a fighter and someone I’m looking forward to seeing more of. There is also another new face, DI Jack Reed, who has Heck all of a bluster, mainly because of jealousy over his close relationship with Gemma Piper. It really is quite amusing to see the mighty Heck reduced to almost school boy levels of sulking and petulance whenever he sees the pair of them.
But it is Heck who is really and truly the star of the show and he excels himself in this story. Never one to shy away from danger he is right in the thick of it with many high action, high drama and high tension scenes. You can really feel Paul Finch’s skill in screenwriting being transferred to the page with scenes that have you completely hooked, perched on the edge of your chair and even holding your breath. The pacing in these chapters is spot on and the way in which the writing gets your heart pumping is excellent, giving me everything I want in an action based story. And Heck was at the centre of it all. Funny, determined and, for once, completely open and honest, he provided the thrills and some more heart warming moments as well.
Now this book actually pulls together a few separate stories which seem unconnected at the start. Bear with it as, when you start to make your way through the book, all will become clear and you can start to see a very distinct and unexpected picture forming. Paul Finch has done a brilliant job of hiding the wood amongst the trees but as you carve your way through you will understand how things really appear. But you will still have that one nagging, unresolved question. One you may not be certain you want the answer to …
Argh. .. There is so much I want to say about this book but I really can’t. I was gripped from the start and I tore through the book in no time, even though I didn’t want it to end. But end it did. The author said he wanted it to be explosive – well he managed that and then some. Just when you think things are going one way, he throws in a ruddy great big grenade and blows it all up. I was absolutely floored by it. Gobsmacked. And I cannot believe I have to wait for the next book as I need it right now. My only regret in all of this is that I came so late to this series. What was I thinking?
Dagnabbit. It has been a while since a book as left me as happily frustrated as this one. Well done, Sir. Nice job.
If you would like a copy of Kiss of Death for yourself (you honestly do) then it is available at the following retailers:
About the Author
Paul Finch is a former cop and journalist, now turned full-time writer. He cut his literary teeth penning episodes of the British TV crime drama, The Bill, and has written extensively in the field of children’s animation and for Dr Who.
However, he is probably best known for his work in thrillers, crime and horror. His best known work to date is the five-novel DS Heckenburg crime series, the first three titles of which all attained official ‘best seller’ status.
Paul lives in Lancashire, UK, with his wife Cathy and his children, Eleanor and Harry.
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