Today it’s back to Mandie who is sharing her thoughts on book one in the Robert Finlay series by Matt Johnson, Wicked Game. I listened to the audiobook of this a couple of years ago and loved the series, and was completely moved by the story behind its creation as well to be fair. If you’d like to see my thoughts on the book, you can find my review right here. But what does Mandie think and what is the book all about? Well read on to find out.
About the Book
2001. Age is catching up with Robert Finlay, a police officer on the Royalty Protection team based in London. He’s looking forward to returning to uniform policing and a less stressful life with his new family. But fate has other plans. Finlay’s deeply traumatic, carefully concealed past is about to return to haunt him. A policeman is killed by a bomb blast, and a second is gunned down in his own driveway.Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Hive | Googleplay | Apple Books
Both of the murdered men were former Army colleagues from Finlay’s own SAS regiment, and in a series of explosive events, it becomes clear that he is not the ordinary man that his colleagues, friends and new family think he is. And so begins a game of cat and mouse “a wicked game” in which Finlay is the target, forced to test his long-buried skills in a fight against a determined and unidentified enemy.
Wicked Game is a taut, action-packed, emotive thriller about a man who might be your neighbor, a man who is forced to confront his past in order to face a threat that may wipe out his future, a man who is willing to do anything to protect the people he loves. But is it too late?
Wicked Game is the first book in the Robert Finlay series and it certainly makes quite an impact from the start with a car bombing. Who the victims are is known from the start, the why and the connection to the main character takes a lot longer to discover. This is probably not a book I would normally pick up but having listened to part of it on audio when travelling with my sister and hearing the author talk about it and his experiences in the force it was one I knew that I wanted to read.
Robert Finlay has made the transition from Army Officer to Police Officer and after several years in the Royal Protection Service he has decided to go back to normal policing for the sake of his family and hopefully a less stressful life. Unfortunately for him things just don’t quite go to plan and his life ends up getting more complicated and the family he holds so dear end up in danger.
The book takes readers from Robert Finlay’s early career in the Army and the troubles in Northern Ireland, and the Iranian Embassy Hostage situation to his current role in the Police and we start to learn what makes him tick. When several police officers are killed in what looks like a fresh spate of IRA attacks he soon finds himself one of those targets and thrust back into the kind of life he had thought he had left well and truly in the past. With past colleagues and enemies coming out of the woodwork Finlay is not sure who he can trust or even what he should do for the best especially when it may mean he has to go against everything he now stands for and could at best end up out of a career and, at worst, dead. There is a question he poses to his superior that really sums up the book quite well “If it was your family what would you do?”
The author really does take us on an interesting ride with so many different possibilities of who is behind all the attacks and what their motivation is. Just when you think you know what is going on you are taken down a completely different track. The one thing that did make me smile was that throughout the book Finlay had really been dreading having to tell his wife the truth about his service history, yet her reaction to the real threat to their family had me thinking I would be more concerned about upsetting her in general.
Wicked Game is Matt Johnsons first book but you would never know it, and the benefit to getting to it so late is that I can now go full steam ahead on the rest of the series without the wait. I am looking forward to finding out what situation Finlay finds himself in next.
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.
Books by Matt Johnson