It goes without saying, I am very behind on reading the Lucy Clayburn series by Paul Finch, but hey. The fun is in the catch up. Today I share my thoughts on book two, Shadows, a book I listened to on my morning walks and whilst I was super busy at work … There have to be some advantages to working from home after all. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
As a female cop walking the mean streets of Manchester, life can be tough for PC Lucy Clayburn. But when one of the North West’s toughest gangsters is your father, things can be particularly difficult.
When Lucy’s patch is gripped by a spate of murder-robberies, the police are quick to action. Yet when it transpires that the targets are Manchester’s criminal underworld, attitudes change.
Lucy is soon faced with one of the toughest cases of her life – and one which will prove once and for all whether blood really is thicker than water….
I thought that Lucy Clayburn was given a tough time of things in book one but, blimey. Paul Finch really does not like to make life easy for his protagonists. Weaker people would have given up, walked away while they still could. Maybe it’s her heritage, the combined strength of her parents which has leached into her character by virtue of genetics that keeps her going. Maybe it’s just that the author likes to imbue his characters with traits that make them not only smarter than the average bear (cop), but. also with a strength of character that makes you instantly warm to them Root for them. Makes you want to watch them kick ass. Lucy manages that and a whole heap more in Shadows but not without some real personal pain for her along the way.
This time around we see Lucy making her way towards the Robbery squad with a very brief secondment to the unit following the receipt of some intel from an informant. The case she is working on is quite tense, a street robber who just happens to moved onto the streets of Crowley having kicked up his m.o. from aggravated theft to murder. This case is pretty full on, the apprehension of the perp full of Paul Finch’s trademark tension, action and jeopardy and it certainly earns a few brownie points for Lucy. But it’s a short sharp shock after a tense opening to the novel and perhaps only really a prelude to the main focus of the book.
The main story revolves around the criminal underworld, an organisation that Lucy is sadly all too familiar with courtesy of her father. Someone is robbing some of the crime syndicates top bosses, with quite dramatic results, but you can tell from the way the story plays out that it is not as straightforward as it seems. Old fashioned turf wars or something just a little left of centre? Well, you can read and find out, but it is certainly a story that left me conflicted. I can’t feel a great amount of sympathy for the victims, but the methods of the thieves is more than a little extreme. Not overtly graphic, but certainly packed with violence, these are not books for the sensitive of nature.
I do really like the character of Lucy. Straight talking, focused, committed and really street-smart, she has a clear knack for the job and an innate ability when it comes to catching the bad guys. She has mixed fortunes when it comes to the personal side of life, but then this does kind of ring true given her dedication to her career which had taken a bit of a knock following the events in book one. That sets her up for some additional conflict in terms of a face from her past who works in the robbery squad, as if her father’s choice of career isn’t problematic enough. But she is kind of gung ho, led by action, perhaps a little foolish in walking into situations she may not be able to get out of. Perhaps it’s quite lucky that she has herself a guardian angel – even if she doesn’t know or want it …
Full of fast paced action, tense stand offs and twisted motives, this is a book which kept me hooked and kept me guessing. I mostly listened to the audio book which was perfectly narrated, and can definitely recommend them if you like to listen to rather than read your books. There came a point where I could finally see where the story was going, but I have to admit that it came very late on in the book, all of the clevely spread trail of breadcrumbs leading us to a very unexpected conclusion. The tension was off the charts by the end of the book, the jeopardy for Lucy, and her mother, quite intense. My pulse picked up, my bum moved closer to the edge of the seat and my urge to press on and race to the end absolutely grew. And it didn’t disappoint. I’m off to find book three now and kicking myself for not reading (or listening to) this sooner. Definitely recommended if you like your reads to be. a. full on thrill fest.
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 crime drama, The Bill, and has written extensively in the field of film, audio drama and children’s animation. He is also well known for his work in the thriller and horror fields.
Paul lives in Lancashire, with his wife Catherine and his children, Eleanor and Harry.