The Burning Men by Will Shindler

Today I hand over to Mandie who is sharing her thoughts on book on in the DI Alex Finn series by Will Shindler, The Burning Men. I shared my thoughts on the book when it was first released and you can find me review right here. Here’s what it’s about:

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 06 February 2020
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

About the Book

When a development in South London catches fire mid-construction, a close-knit team of fire fighters runs in to save a man spotted at the window.

They come out without a body. They quit the service. They plan never to speak to each other again.

Five years later one of them is set alight at his own wedding. Soon after, a second is found, nothing but a smoking corpse. It appears that someone knows what they did that night. What they chose over their duty. And there are still three men left to burn . . .

DI Alex Finn and his new partner DC Mattie Paulsen are an unlikely pairing, but they need to discover who is behind these killings before the next man faces the fire.

This is first in Will Shindler’s Finn and Paulsen series – a British detective series that ranks with Mark Billingham, M.J. Arlidge, Stuart MacBride.

Mandie’s Thoughts

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a proof copy of The Burning Men when I attended Harrogate Crime Festival a couple of years ago. Due to other commitments, it has taken me until now (and an eBook and physical book purchase) to find the time to read it and part of me is kicking myself for taking so long. 

The opening chapter starts with a fire crew attending a burning building where there is a man trapped inside. Whilst we do not know the outcome of this call it forms the basis for what follows. Five years later one of the firemen from that call is burned to death at his own wedding and DI Alex Finn and newly transferred DC Mattie Paulsen are called in to investigate. When another member of the same crew meets a similar fate what they are left to work out is who is behind these killings and why before any more of the team are killed. 

This is a book that is full of twists and turns as you try to work out who is behind all the murders. As the book progresses you get to understand the why and your faith in those we trust to protect us is challenged. That being said I am not sure that even they deserved the fate that awaited them. The who does take longer to work out as there are several suspects that could easily have motive and when the killer is revealed it was not who I was expecting. 

DI Finn and DC Paulsen do not always see eye to eye as they are both dealing with issues in their personal life that at times can cloud their judgement and hamper the investigation. DI Finn has only just buried his wife, but feels he needs the routine and distraction of a case to help him get through the day. DC Paulsen is hiding the reason why she has transferred from her old station and is not quick to trust anyone or open up to them which can make her seem aloof. Despite all this they do seem to make it work and by the end of the investigation there is definitely signs of a working respect for each other. 

Whilst the murders are in themselves quite gruesome we are treated more to the aftermath than any suffering that the victim may have endured. With a whole bunch of flawed characters many of whom did the wrong thing for what they believed were the right reasons, The Burning Men is a book that will keep you hooked and for me is both a great start to a series and one heck of a debut for its author.

About the Author

Will Shindler has been a Broadcast Journalist for the BBC for over twenty-five years, spending a decade working in television drama as a scriptwriter on Born and BredThe Billand Doctors. His time on these leading prime time dramas has given him a rich grounding in authentic police procedure, powerful character development and gripping narratives. He currently combines reading the news on BBC Radio London with writing crime novels and has previously worked as a television presenter for HTV, a sports reporter for BBC Radio Five Live, and one of the stadium presenters at the London Olympics. The Burning Men is his first novel.

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