Today Mandie shares her thoughts on The Hunting Ground by Will Shindler, book three in the Alex Finn series. I shared my thoughts earlier in the year as part of the blog tour, and you can read my review here. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
THE THIRD NOVEL FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE BURNING MEN AND THE KILLING CHOICE, FEATURING DI ALEX FIN AND DCI MATTIE PAULSEN
Sadie Nicholls has been found dead, brutally and strangely murdered, in her South East London flat. Her little boy is missing.
DI Alex Finn and DC Mattie Paulsen know that, in the case of a missing child, it’s the first 24 hours that count. They don’t have many left to find out where Sadie’s son might be and the identity of her killer. Why would anyone want a struggling single mother, loved by many, dead?
But when they realise a similar crime was committed at the same house nearly 20 years ago, a question is on everyone’s lips: is this more than just a coincidence?
This is third in Will Shindler’s Finn and Paulsen series – a British detective series that ranks with Mark Billingham, M.J. Arlidge and Stuart MacBride.
The Hunting Ground is the third book in the DI Alex Finn series, and it seems to be getting better with each book. After leaving an event that she was working at Sadie Nicholls is brutally murdered in her own home and her young son goes missing. Not only do Alex and DC Mattie Paulson have to try and work out what led to her murder, but they have a race against time to find the child and time is running out if they hope to find him alive. As they dig into her life and the community she lived in they discover that a similar crime happened in the exact same property 20 years ago. What they have to work out is if this is a coincidence or something much worse.
Finn and Paulson definitely have their work cut out this time and neither one of them seems on top of their game. Alex is still suffering from the loss of his wife and after meeting some of the residents where Sadie lived Mattie finds she has something in common with them and it is pushing her family’s health worries to the forefront of her mind and making her face up to what lies ahead.
You can really sense the frustration of Finn and the team as they struggle to find a motive for the murder of Sadie Nicholls. There is more than one suspect but each of them somehow manages to have an alibi for the time of the murder and they just can’t shake the fact that the old case has something to do with it, but with the killer in that case in prison they are coming up against brick walls.
The pacing of this book never wavers, and you are sent down many different paths before the killer and the motive is revealed and it is definitely not what you are expecting. With characters hiding secrets that may or may not have a bearing on the investigation you are drawn into the story and the lives of everyone affected. We are really starting to get to know Finn and Paulson now and what makes them tick as their personal lives are revealed further. They are very different from each other, yet it is those differences that bring out the best in them and make them a good team.
Even though this is a series you can easily pick up and read the books as standalones. I am looking forward to what comes next for them and cant wait to see if they have managed to come to terms with their own issues.
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 Bred, The Bill and 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. He is the writer of The Burning Men and The Killing Choice.