Never Seen Again by Paul Finch

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on the brand new thriller from Paul Finch, Never Seen Again and wishing the author a very happy publication day. I am definitely a fan of the author’s work and couldn’t wait to get stuck into the new book. My thanks to publisher Orion for the advance copy for review. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Netgalley
Release Date: 17 March 2022
Publisher: Orion

About the Book

A message no one was supposed to hear.

Jodie Martindale‘s disappearance remains a mystery, unsolved to this day.

A message that will change everything.

David Kelman covered the story. But he made a huge mistake, which cost someone their life.

A message from the missing.

Now, he has evidence he shouldn’t have. It’s a message from Jodie – who has been missing for six years – but sent just two weeks ago…

My Thoughts

I do love a Paul Finch book. Always guaranteed to entertain and be packed with mystery, tension and unforgettable characters. Never Seen Again did not disappoint, ticking all of those boxes and more. The book centres around journalist David Kelman, a man who had a pretty dramatic fall from grace when his unethical approach to getting a scoop led to a very tragic escalation of an already tense situation. Mistakes were made, and the consequences were deadly. Six years on and David gets the chance to right that wrong, even if it is too late for some, and solve the one mystery that has plagued his career and his conscience – was this really a kidnapping gone wrong and what really happened to Jodie Martindale … ?

From the very beginning of this book you get a sense of where this book is leading. It may feel pedestrian, especially in those first few pages, but knowing this is a Paul Finch story, it’s almost impossible to settle or feel at ease. I was drawn in straight away, if only because I wanted to know what the catch was going to be. It’s crime fiction – there is always going to be a catch. And boy was there. Poor Freddie Martindale. Who’d have thought playing gooseberry on your sister’s date night would take such a drastic turn. I love how the author manages to turn that quiet opening completely on its head by the end of the chapter, with pulse pounding tension and a real undercurrent of fear permeating each page. It races to a shocking conclusion, really leaving you on the edge of your seat. And that’s just the prologue …

David Kelman is a pretty complex character. I couldn’t help liking him, even though there are many aspects of his character that are less than desirable. In many ways he is the worst of the tabloid ghouls, and certainly his most recent career is based on scandal and gossip, ruining the lives of others in order to earn a crust. Yet there is something about him that draws you in. That feeling that, in spite of all he’s done, he really does have a conscience and wants to do the right thing by the Martindale family, even if it is a touch too little too late. But he’s also a determined reporter who has gotten the whiff of an unbelievable story, and is going to follow the lead no matter how dangerous it proves to be. And believe me it gets hairy.

Alongside David you have his former colleagues, Nushka and Norm, their careers both impacted by what David did all those years ago and yet finding themselves drawn into his world once again. They act as a kind of moral compass and sanity check to David’s more impetuous and impulsive nature, even if they don’t always manage to keep him under control. The three of them make a brilliant team, with a brilliant blend of banter and journalistic instinct filling each scene they are in. In spite of themselves, David manages to relay a story so packed with intrigue that they cannot resist getting involved, Nushka perhaps a little more readily than Norm …

The story is paced perfectly, the underlying mystery so carefully threaded throughout the book that it kept me completely engrossed in the story. It’s one of those one more chapter kinds of reads that just keeps you powering onward, the tension slowly building up again after that break neck speed ending to the prologue. There are times when we dip back into the past, get shown David’s fall from grace and how he managed to derail his and his colleagues careers, but it is the here and now that really captures the inquiring mind. There is a constant sense of threat, as well as a real point of conflict between David and, not only the Martindale family, but the police as well. Brokering scandal was not David’s only legacy as a journalist, and he has many enemies in many places, some more obvious than others.

As this is a Paul Finch novel, you are safe to expect some quite intense moments, scenes where the threat is high and the action full on. This is most definitely the case this time around, and from just beyond the halfway point the pace, the tension, and the action, really picks up. It can get quite intense, and with few allies, its set to get pretty hairy for David and his friends. It’s violent, but not gratuitously so, but if you’ve read any of the author’s other work then you know not to expect the bad guys to simply hold their hands out and say ‘it’s a fair cop, Gov’. These are the scenes where the characters may surprise you, and the ones that had me smiling the most. The reasons I love reading books by this author.

Fast paced, full of mystery, action and brilliantly plotted intensity, it’s another winner for me. Definitely recommended.

About the Author

Paul Finch is an award-winning Sunday Times bestseller. He studied History at Goldsmiths before becoming a cop in the North-West of England and then followed a career in journalism, and screenwriting. He lives in Lancashire, UK, with his wife Cathy and their two four-legged companions, Buck and Buddy.

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