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Royalty Protection Team officer Robert Finlay is looking forward to a quieter life, when two police officers are killed and their links to his own past becomes clear … putting everyone’s lives in danger. A startlingly authentic debut … first in a page-turning, searing new series. **NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER** **Shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger** **LoveRead Royalty Protection Team officer Robert Finlay is looking forward to a quieter life, when two police officers are killed and their links to his own past becomes clear … putting everyone’s lives in danger. A startlingly authentic debut … first in a page-turning, searing new series. **NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER** **Shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger** **LoveReading Debut of the Month** ‘Terse, tense and vivid writing. Matt Johnson is a brilliant new name in the world of thrillers. And he’s going to be a big name’ Peter James ‘From the first page to the last, an authentic, magnetic and completely absorbing read’ Sir Ranulph Fiennes ____________________ 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. 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 neighbour, 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? ____________________ ‘Utterly compelling and dripping with authenticity. This summer’s must-read thriller’ J S Law ‘Out of terrible personal circumstances, Matt Johnson has written a barnstormer of a thriller. Nothing is clear-cut in a gripping labyrinthine plot, which – despite thrills and spills aplenty – never falls short of believable’ David Young ‘Wicked Game has the authenticity I look for in a thriller. While the plot kept me turning pages, the characters made me care. Matt writes like a man who has lived it’ Kevin Maurer ‘Johnson litters his tale with the plotting equivalent of incendiaries: cops we don’t quite trust, a career that came abruptly to an end, a secret needing to be kept … Gripping stuff’  New Welsh Review


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Royalty Protection Team officer Robert Finlay is looking forward to a quieter life, when two police officers are killed and their links to his own past becomes clear … putting everyone’s lives in danger. A startlingly authentic debut … first in a page-turning, searing new series. **NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER** **Shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger** **LoveRead Royalty Protection Team officer Robert Finlay is looking forward to a quieter life, when two police officers are killed and their links to his own past becomes clear … putting everyone’s lives in danger. A startlingly authentic debut … first in a page-turning, searing new series. **NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER** **Shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger** **LoveReading Debut of the Month** ‘Terse, tense and vivid writing. Matt Johnson is a brilliant new name in the world of thrillers. And he’s going to be a big name’ Peter James ‘From the first page to the last, an authentic, magnetic and completely absorbing read’ Sir Ranulph Fiennes ____________________ 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. 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 neighbour, 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? ____________________ ‘Utterly compelling and dripping with authenticity. This summer’s must-read thriller’ J S Law ‘Out of terrible personal circumstances, Matt Johnson has written a barnstormer of a thriller. Nothing is clear-cut in a gripping labyrinthine plot, which – despite thrills and spills aplenty – never falls short of believable’ David Young ‘Wicked Game has the authenticity I look for in a thriller. While the plot kept me turning pages, the characters made me care. Matt writes like a man who has lived it’ Kevin Maurer ‘Johnson litters his tale with the plotting equivalent of incendiaries: cops we don’t quite trust, a career that came abruptly to an end, a secret needing to be kept … Gripping stuff’  New Welsh Review

30 review for Wicked Game

  1. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I’ve always been a fan of thrillers, with the build up of tension, the action packed heroics and insane bravery. Wicked Game is a stonkingly accessible British thriller, with its roots firmly set in recent UK history and a strong sense of authenticity running through it. Although it takes a while to get going, it soon holds your attention to the max. The story introduces us to Robert Finlay, a police inspector in his forties. Finlay has an interesting and intriguing back story. He is former SAS h I’ve always been a fan of thrillers, with the build up of tension, the action packed heroics and insane bravery. Wicked Game is a stonkingly accessible British thriller, with its roots firmly set in recent UK history and a strong sense of authenticity running through it. Although it takes a while to get going, it soon holds your attention to the max. The story introduces us to Robert Finlay, a police inspector in his forties. Finlay has an interesting and intriguing back story. He is former SAS having worked in Northern Ireland, during the Troubles and was involved in the Iranian Siege of 1980. Who doesn’t remember the vivid images of that on the TV news? He also worked protecting members of the Royal Family. Finlay is now happily married to Jenny, with a daughter and has moved to Stoke Newington. He has a very unglamorous role, in uniform. Ex-SAS servicemen, who have become serving police officers, are being hunted down and cold-bloodedly murdered. Soon it becomes apparent that Finlay is a target and is in mortal danger. Why is someone seeking revenge on ex-SAS? And who can Finlay trust? Wicked Game promises a real look into the world of the SAS and what it is like to live with those kind of memories. The scenes of Finlay getting up to all kinds of SAS antics and the camaraderie between the servicemen fascinated me. He has skills. Exciting stuff! It really is not a world that we hear about much. It all is increasingly relevant today with the escalating paranoia and climate of fear. Terrorism is very current in our minds. If you enjoy action thrillers, get your hands on Wicked Game. And check out some of the images of the Iranian Siege out there, to give you a taste of what Robert Finlay got up to. Recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Wicked Game is an incredible thriller. In fact I'm not even sure I like to call it a thriller (even though it thrills) because that often brings to mind banging action with very little depth elsewhere (nothing wrong with that, books are for all seasons) but Wicked Game is full of depth and feeling. Chock full of it. Plus thrills as well. You can't go wrong really. Robert Finlay is also an incredible character. Keeping the reader hooked into a story is often the job of the main protagonist and in Wicked Game is an incredible thriller. In fact I'm not even sure I like to call it a thriller (even though it thrills) because that often brings to mind banging action with very little depth elsewhere (nothing wrong with that, books are for all seasons) but Wicked Game is full of depth and feeling. Chock full of it. Plus thrills as well. You can't go wrong really. Robert Finlay is also an incredible character. Keeping the reader hooked into a story is often the job of the main protagonist and in Robert Finlay Matt Johnson has created a perfect storm. Challenged and flawed, the author shows us that which defines him, throws us into his world and then throws all of us off a cliff. Robert lives a much quieter life until a series of events bring his past into sharp focus - suddenly he is having to remember who he was, the man he thought he had left behind and it is an engaging, emotive and yes exciting journey. Excellent character study aside this novel is also genuinely thrilling - you know, that little feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when action is jumping off the page at you - Wicked Game has that in spades and will often get the reading adrenalin going. Taking reality and weaving fiction around it is one of the obvious strengths of this author - nothing in this book is unbelievable, an authenticity that hits hard, unsurprising in some ways considering Matt's background. However knowing it doesnt mean you can necessarily write it and make people understand the terror and the horror and the kind of inner strength it takes to deal with such unimaginable situations - this author can and does. From first page to last. Wicked Game builds the tension in an intelligent and emotional way, has many layers to both time, place and sense of character and is basically a top notch "thriller" that has a dark heart and an emotional soul. It is not a book that will be read and then forgotton - this one will stay with you. As such it gets the highly recommended tag from me and in my "most anticipated" stakes the follow up to Wicked Game is somewhere high up my list. Excellent, thought provoking, clever and beautifully written.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    Having seen some amazing book blogger ratings about the second book in this series (Deadly Game), I decided to give this one a go first, as Dee-logic dictates to always start at the beginning of a series. Which in this case isn’t so bad. In other cases when there are already five or more books, it’s a bit more problematic. But I digress. Robert Finlay, a former SAS Member, is giving up his job on the Royal Protection team. He’s happily married, has a beautiful daughter and wants to lead a less st Having seen some amazing book blogger ratings about the second book in this series (Deadly Game), I decided to give this one a go first, as Dee-logic dictates to always start at the beginning of a series. Which in this case isn’t so bad. In other cases when there are already five or more books, it’s a bit more problematic. But I digress. Robert Finlay, a former SAS Member, is giving up his job on the Royal Protection team. He’s happily married, has a beautiful daughter and wants to lead a less stressful life. But his past is about to catch up with him when his former SAS colleagues start dying all over the place. Someone is playing a wicked game. (Get it?) Who can Robert trust? Admittedly, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I didn’t even really know what the book was about as I try to read as little of a description as I possibly can since a lot of them contain way too many spoilers for my liking. But I have faith in my book blogger friends and I soon realised my trust in them was not misplaced. I quickly became completely engrossed as I tried to fit the pieces of the puzzle together and ended up suspecting pretty much everyone in this cat-and-mouse game. This is one cleverly constructed plot, with some nail biting moments. At the end of the book, I felt utterly exhausted, like I’d gone through the entire thing myself. That’s all down to Matt Johnson’s amazing writing. Quite obviously, he knows what he’s talking about and it adds that extra level of authenticity to the reading experience. This would make an excellent movie or tv series. (Preferably with Richard Armitage in it. Just saying'.) I could see scenes play out right before my eyes. Such a thrilling ride. Wicked Game is tense and dramatic. Highly intelligent and adrenaline fuelled, with some fabulous plot twists. I doubt I’ll be waiting long to read the next one in the series.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Travis

    It's official, I'm hopelessly hooked on this series!!!! It's official, I'm hopelessly hooked on this series!!!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan Hampson

    Well don't you just.love it when you start reading a book like this and you know, you just know that this author has seen more than his fair share of action! It is on another level not just the technical stuff but that raw gut feeling, the adrenaline rush of how it would make you feel in that situation. Well this is it. Matt Johnson delivers characters that feel pain, emotion and fear. Robert Finlay is a pretty cool character. Married with a child his family know nothing about his secret past, th Well don't you just.love it when you start reading a book like this and you know, you just know that this author has seen more than his fair share of action! It is on another level not just the technical stuff but that raw gut feeling, the adrenaline rush of how it would make you feel in that situation. Well this is it. Matt Johnson delivers characters that feel pain, emotion and fear. Robert Finlay is a pretty cool character. Married with a child his family know nothing about his secret past, that is until the past comes searching for him as old S.A.S. colleagues begin to meet untimely ends. There is a lot story and plenty of action as Finlay has to decide if he waits for his past to catch up with him or does he hunt it down himself. He needs answers but who do you trust when the numbers are diminishing? There are some pretty sit on the edge of your seat moments because you know certain events are unstoppable and you can't avoid what will happen. A cracking book right to the end. Jenny was mint!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Bradley

    I absolutely blew through this book. I couldn’t put it down. I was immersed in the life of Robert (Bob) Finlay and all that happened to him. The authenticity that Matt Johnson’s own life has brought to the novel is obvious from the outset and with the book reading in first person PoV you do feel as though you are living someone’s life. What I particularly liked about this, and I don’t really read many thrillers of this type, is how Finlay is an older male who is settled down with a wife and child I absolutely blew through this book. I couldn’t put it down. I was immersed in the life of Robert (Bob) Finlay and all that happened to him. The authenticity that Matt Johnson’s own life has brought to the novel is obvious from the outset and with the book reading in first person PoV you do feel as though you are living someone’s life. What I particularly liked about this, and I don’t really read many thrillers of this type, is how Finlay is an older male who is settled down with a wife and child and is feeling his age a little. He’s not some fit, handsome superhero. He’s an ordinary man, who has made career choices that have put him in extraordinary situations, which in turn have led him down a path where he has to face difficult decisions. It’s this normality about Finlay that appealed to me and kept me reading. The believability of the story. The authenticity. Even if you don’t normally read this kind of book, I’d really recommend you give it a try. You won’t be disappointed. With thanks to the author and publisher, Karen at Orenda, for my copy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Managed to get my Goodreads profile set up, and the book attributed to me. I found a helpful admin within the organisation who soon had it sorted. Now bear with me while I get other part of the profile set up. I'm just settling down having been tweeted by the one and only Peter James today. One for the diary! Managed to get my Goodreads profile set up, and the book attributed to me. I found a helpful admin within the organisation who soon had it sorted. Now bear with me while I get other part of the profile set up. I'm just settling down having been tweeted by the one and only Peter James today. One for the diary!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sam (Clues and Reviews)

    In preparation for the Deadly Game blog tour, I decided to read Wicked Game by Matt Johnson. Mind you neither of these books are something I am normally drawn into reading, however, when Orenda asks you to read one of their publications, you trust in Karen and fall in line. So, that’s what I did. Robert Finley, an ex-Army operative, is living a simple, monotonous life with his wife and daughter. He likes it that way. However, when a man connected to Robert’s past is killed, he finds himself thro In preparation for the Deadly Game blog tour, I decided to read Wicked Game by Matt Johnson. Mind you neither of these books are something I am normally drawn into reading, however, when Orenda asks you to read one of their publications, you trust in Karen and fall in line. So, that’s what I did. Robert Finley, an ex-Army operative, is living a simple, monotonous life with his wife and daughter. He likes it that way. However, when a man connected to Robert’s past is killed, he finds himself thrown back into the past, into a life he has tried to leave behind. What results is an encapsulating whirlwind thriller that kept me engaged and flipping the pages. This one reminded me of novels like I Am Pilgrim (which I read for my book club) and the Jack Reacher series; character heavy, plot heavy and absolutely engaging. This is not a book to peruse casually; once you have entered Robert’s world, expect to be sucked in. The novel opens with some seemingly random events and, to be truthful, I was initially quite confused with all the characters being introduced. However, once the story began to come together, I was impressed. What seems like random breadcrumbs, in fact, becomes a complete puzzle as Johnson weaves and binds all bits of the plot together. Johnson creates a stellar character in Robert Finley. When the novel opens, he is just your everyday guy, but then once his past is revealed, he becomes so much more complex! He is sort of an anti-hero type and as his past and present actions are revealed, I found myself rooting for him. After reading this book, I cannot wait for Deadly Game and am expecting some big things…no pressure or anything. I rated this one a 4/5 stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    It may be strange – especially as I've often bemoaned those that don’t read outside of or exclude genres from their reading – but the home-grown, UK-based thrillers have never been something that have appealed to me. Perhaps it’s my own mundane interaction with the local constabulary or TV shows likes The Bill or Motorway Traffic Cops (or whatever it’s called) but I’d not really seen the potential for a gripping read there in comparison to – say – an alcoholic Norwegian detective hunting murdere It may be strange – especially as I've often bemoaned those that don’t read outside of or exclude genres from their reading – but the home-grown, UK-based thrillers have never been something that have appealed to me. Perhaps it’s my own mundane interaction with the local constabulary or TV shows likes The Bill or Motorway Traffic Cops (or whatever it’s called) but I’d not really seen the potential for a gripping read there in comparison to – say – an alcoholic Norwegian detective hunting murderers in the snow or – say (again) – one-man armies called Jack chasing justice in other far-flung places…. But…. then there’s Wicked Game by Matt Johnson. And it changes that preconception I’d held and it’s a wonderful thing when a book can do that. Wicked Game finds Robert Finlay as he leaves the Royal Protection team and heads back to uniformed Police work in his search for a quiet, normal, life with his wife and their young daughter. Let’s be honest; no character in a book or film that’s looking for such a thing gets it – we all know how many detectives get pulled into stopping Armageddon just days before retirement and are all too well aware that Sergeant Murtaugh is “too old for this shit”. We know from the off, then, that trouble is coming down the track for Robert, especially after the explosive start to the novel, and Wicked Game doesn't disappoint when it comes to the drama. Finlay is far from the standard ex-army turned police officer he’s lead others to believe – he’s an ex-SAS officer with a troubled past that’s now kicking down the door to his longed-for quiet life and demanding his attention. Police officers are being killed. Police officers from his own SAS regiment. Secretive meetings with MI5 follow, luring him in – then there’s an attempt on his own life and it quickly becomes clear that these murders won’t stop until either Finlay or the killer are stopped…. but what’s the motive behind the murders? Why is Finlay a target and who can be trusted? Far from a standard game of cat and mouse, Wicked Game is a surprisingly complex mystery and one that reaches back in time to bring the old enemies of the past into the terrifying now with an array of action sequences, cliff-hangers and surprises that make for a great read. The narrative split between first and third person works well (Finlay’s voice is a convincing narration and lends plenty of emotional ballast to the story too) as well as very effective in keeping the reader gripped – especially as the tension grows and those third-person characters such as Grahamslaw are in possession of information Finlay isn't at crucial, life-threatening points. They say write what you know and it’s clear that Matt Johnson is writing from experience (having served as a soldier and with the Met for 25 years). When it comes to detailing the action and police-side sequences, as it were, Johnson’s knowledge and insight give the novel a real sense of authenticity. He does a great job of delivering some very real and genuine sequences populated by characters underscored by a convincing authority and precision that can only come from actually knowing those people such characters are likely composites of. But there’s more than just that insider knowledge and attention to details at play here and it’s that which makes Wicked Game well worth a read – Matt Johnson has a very real talent and gift for thriller writing. Wicked Game cracks along at a great pace with plenty of gripping and original plot twists and turns with a finale that wouldn't be out of place in a book with a protagonist called Reacher. With Wicked Game Matt Johnson skilfully weaves together these two facets to create a compellingly gritty and convincingly real thriller.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I'll start by saying that when I read the blurb for Wicked Game, I was unsure as to whether this book would be for me. I'm not the target market, and whilst I enjoy thrillers, I've never been compelled to read the SAS / Army type novels that are very popular. However, Wicked Game is published by Orenda Books, a small publisher that I trust, so I hedged my bets, and took a gamble. That gamble paid out - I won, the book won, Matt Johnson won and Orenda won! Wicked Game took me completely by surpri I'll start by saying that when I read the blurb for Wicked Game, I was unsure as to whether this book would be for me. I'm not the target market, and whilst I enjoy thrillers, I've never been compelled to read the SAS / Army type novels that are very popular. However, Wicked Game is published by Orenda Books, a small publisher that I trust, so I hedged my bets, and took a gamble. That gamble paid out - I won, the book won, Matt Johnson won and Orenda won! Wicked Game took me completely by surprise, it's a compelling, page-turning, heart quickening read and I enjoyed every moment of it. Robert Finley is returning to uniform policing after years as a Royal Protection officer, it's been a tough job, always on-call, fraught with danger and stressful. Not that Robert can't cope with that, for he served for many years in the SAS and was heavily involved with fighting the IRA, and the siege at the Iranian Embassy. But he's older, he's now married with a small daughter, and it's time to take things a little easier. Ah, the best laid plans, and all that .... Suddenly, policemen are being killed. Car bombs, drive-by shootings, even an suicide bomber in India. At first it seems like these are random attacks, but it isn't long before Finlay starts to make a connection - these guys were all his former SAS colleagues, and somebody is after him next. What follows is a complex and tense story involving the Government, high-ranking Police and Army officers and a bunch of terrorists who are determined to get their man. Whilst the story is very complicated, Matt Johnson is a very skilful author and is able to tell the tale very eloquently. His descriptive prose and his very accessible terminology enables the reader to follow the story very well. Matt Johnson's voice is authoritative, he has obviously drawn much of this story from his own life, and this adds an authentic voice to what is a gripping and quite frantic story of espionage, misplaced loyalties, revenge, retribution and double-crossing. With twists and turns, and red herrings at every corner, Wicked Game is an impressive debut, and I am delighted to hear that the author is planning more for Robert Finlay, let's hope it's soon! http://randomthingsthroughmyletterbox...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Thebooktrail

    Visit the locations in the novel: the booktrail of Wicked Game When I was first given a copy of this book to review, I did wonder if it would be my kind of read . What do I know about the IRA and the SAS and would I be able to understand it all? Well kudos to you Matt Johnson and I feel more than part of the team. Talk about a kick ass novel. From the very first page, I was shocked into holding my breath. It reads like an action movie but with all the bubbling tension in-between, some of it so qui Visit the locations in the novel: the booktrail of Wicked Game When I was first given a copy of this book to review, I did wonder if it would be my kind of read . What do I know about the IRA and the SAS and would I be able to understand it all? Well kudos to you Matt Johnson and I feel more than part of the team. Talk about a kick ass novel. From the very first page, I was shocked into holding my breath. It reads like an action movie but with all the bubbling tension in-between, some of it so quite and subtle that Matt lulls you into a sense of false security and then BANG! he thumps you, shocks you, jolts you into submission before doing it all again. This was a world I had heard about on the news and from friends working in embassies etc but never have I read such accounts from the men and women working in the police, services or even the side of the terrorists. How their minds work, how they think justice is being done and what motives them? Tell you something, it makes you think. I realise now that this is the book I’ve been missing – one that shows how government, big brother, call it what you will works, how one force works with another, how terrorists work and how authorities must work together to to and trap such a threat. The bond between the soldiers was particularly nicely done – the funeral scene choked me up! The whole plot and pace were brilliantly done and if Hollywood action thrillers were half as meaty as this, I’d be at the front of the queue. Bloody brilliant. Can I use that word in a review? It’s a book about the SAS so I think it needs a hard hitting punchy opinion to end on.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    I must confess that I have a bit of a soft spot for a good, fast-paced action thriller. Matt Johnson’s Wicked Game delivers on all counts. The book has an unshakeable feeling of authenticity which is woven deep into the fabric of the story, due to the author's first-hand experience as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer. The prose is taut and to the point, especially when we’re dealing with Finlay and his investigation into the killings and entirely in fitting with the character. The dealin I must confess that I have a bit of a soft spot for a good, fast-paced action thriller. Matt Johnson’s Wicked Game delivers on all counts. The book has an unshakeable feeling of authenticity which is woven deep into the fabric of the story, due to the author's first-hand experience as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer. The prose is taut and to the point, especially when we’re dealing with Finlay and his investigation into the killings and entirely in fitting with the character. The dealings that Finlay has with the various departments looking into the killings feels authentic, and there’s a race against time to see who will get to the bad guys first. What I particularly liked, and what puts the story into a different class for me is that Finlay is no longer the youthful SAS officer he once was and his expertise in planning, which in another thriller would have him disposing of his opponent easily, here is more believably slightly rusty. Things go wrong, and he’s forced to adapt on the hoof, quite literally in some cases! I also liked the way Matt Johnson manages to get you into the mindset of the terrorists. No cardboard cut-out baddies here – these are fully realised and well thought-out with solid, clear, if disturbing, rationales for what they’re doing. I really enjoyed Wicked Game. It’s a fresh, fast-paced and authentic thriller and I’m delighted to hear that Matt is working on a second book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Enjoyed this. Tense and chilling thriller written by an author who clearly knows what he's writing about. Enjoyed this. Tense and chilling thriller written by an author who clearly knows what he's writing about.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ken Kirkberry

    Fast paced thriller with excellent characterisation. The references to the Troubles adds a realness feel to it and an historic authenticity.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Now, I have always loved me a good thriller, a bit of the cat and mouse chase and perhaps a touch of espionage or covert mission/secret service action style plotting. I used to read loads as a teenager, with a particularly soft spot for Tom Clancy novels and good old Jack Ryan. I also loved me a good police procedural. Now I can find plenty of the latter which really float my boat reading wise and I have been a very happy reader of late. I also found Rachel Amphlett’s Dan Taylor series which has Now, I have always loved me a good thriller, a bit of the cat and mouse chase and perhaps a touch of espionage or covert mission/secret service action style plotting. I used to read loads as a teenager, with a particularly soft spot for Tom Clancy novels and good old Jack Ryan. I also loved me a good police procedural. Now I can find plenty of the latter which really float my boat reading wise and I have been a very happy reader of late. I also found Rachel Amphlett’s Dan Taylor series which has more than satisfied my craving for the the old action and intrigue. (Coincidentally you can catch a brilliant interview between Rachel and Matt over at Rachel’s blog page http://www.rachelamphlett.com/blog.) Imagine my absolute joy when I started reading (or more acurately listening to) Wicked Game and got a little bit of everything; policemen, terrorism covert operations and absolute edge of the seat action. One very happy camper right here, I can tell you. So. This book really opens with a bang. Not quite literally, although there is an explosion in the first few pages which really sets up the expectation for the rest of the book. I kind of thought maybe the pair we first meet were important. That these were characters we were going to follow. And we did. For a few yards out of the confines of the airport before they were toast. Now I know this sounds awful but that surprise factor really did make me smile. It soon became clear just who was really going to be key to this whole story, but not yet why. And as Matt Johnson introduces us to the novel’s central protagonist, Robert Finlay, you start to get a real flavour of what this book is about. The book is written from two perspectives. The first is the omniscient narrator, with whom we take the journey of all of the secondary characters in the book. The other character, written in first person, is Finlay. Now we spend a lot of time with Finlay as he navigates his changes in job from Royal Protection to Inspector at Stoke Newington Police Station, and also as he sets the scene for some of the key events which shape the present day. We travel back in time with Finlay to a period in the history of Northern Ireland when terrorism was still rife and Finlay was serving in the SAS. The story also takes us to the Iranian Embassy siege and references the death in service of WPC Yvonne Fletcher, all highly emotive events, and amongst those which shaped the authors own life. It is this understanding, this authenticity, which rings through the narrative with such emotional clarity that you do not need graphic detail to understand the impacts of these events upon the people who experienced them. The story moves seamlessly between past and present, but it is in the present day that we see the most action, and the biggest impact upon Finlay. Now I won’t go too far into plot as this book deserves to be read for itself to be fully appreciated. Finlay is a complex character, one shaped by his past but focused on his future, one which now includes extra responsibilities; a wife and daughter. As he and his police colleagues start to be targeted and killed in terrorist style attacks, you are left wondering which, if any, of the events above could be at the root of the deaths. There is no warning, no mercy, and the killers appear to be unperturbed by collateral damage, particularly among serving officers, as long as their targets are hit. I could understand and appreciate Finlay’s reluctance to get drawn into the search for the killers, his need to protect his family, especially as they had no idea of the full extent of his past in the Armed Forces. But there was also an inevitability about his involvement. It was more a matter of how long he could hold out for. In spite of all his training, Finlay isn’t your typical action hero. A former Officer, he does not appear to have the deadly compulsion or conviction of his colleagues and with this softer edge, and at 48 years old his now softer physical edges, isn’t quite as ready for the action as he may have been in his younger years. But this only serves to make him even more appealing, to make me root for him even more. It is his intellect, planning and core training as much as his physical strength which will be needed in this particular battle. There is a cheeky quality to him, one which is really brought to the fore in his interactions with his wife, and the tender moments with his daughter are beautifully written. This is a guy who has been damaged by his past, who suffers from crippling nightmares, and yet he has it all to fight for and you know damned well he will. The tension in this book was palpable. The energy with which the action hit was like a fist in the gut at times. I really must stop listening to thrillers like this while I’m driving as I’m certain one day I’m either going to get a speeding ticket when my heart and mind try to keep up with the pace, or end up like ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ as I slow to concentrate on what I am listening to. There were some chucklesome moments when the descriptions used brought a genuine smile to my face, but also those moments when I wanted to channel out all that was going on around me to focus only on the story. Not ideal when in heavy traffic on the M6. Oops There are so many elements of misdirection in this book, false leads which take you up the garden path and back again, that anything you think you know will most likely be wrong. In a story built around secrets, where people are skilled in the art of lying and evasion, can you really trust anything or anyone? Probably not. But you will still care. Very much so. About Finlay. About his family. About his colleague Jones. You will want them to come good. You will want them to win. That is the emotion you will feel with the way in which this book is written. A wonderful blend of action and emotion; a plot which is as gripping and measured as it is explosive. I needed to know how it would end and I now need to read book two. Bring it on. An explosive and emotive 5 stars from me.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Collins

    Wicked Game is Matt Johnson’s debut. I’ve had Wicked Game on my TBR pile for a while and when I heard that the second novel in the series was coming out it went straight to the top. Wicked Game introduces Robert Finlay who, at the age of forty eight, is retiring from serving the Royal Family and is returning to uniform policing. He now has is wife and young daughter to think about and wants to spend more time with them. Matt kept me on the edge of my seat and the tension didn’t stop until I had t Wicked Game is Matt Johnson’s debut. I’ve had Wicked Game on my TBR pile for a while and when I heard that the second novel in the series was coming out it went straight to the top. Wicked Game introduces Robert Finlay who, at the age of forty eight, is retiring from serving the Royal Family and is returning to uniform policing. He now has is wife and young daughter to think about and wants to spend more time with them. Matt kept me on the edge of my seat and the tension didn’t stop until I had turned the final page. The story opens with a shocking beginning, with a car explosion in India which is only the start of events which are to follow. After the prologue, for me I did take some time getting back into the story. But when Finlay joins his new team in London, the pace really picks up. Matt pulls some shocking twists out of the bag in this one and leaves plenty of red herrings. Matt is an author who has a very good knowledge of the police force. He makes you care about his characters and leaves you wanting to find out more about them. Wicked Game is a real page turner. This is a very strong debut; I’m looking forward to seeing what Matt does next with Robert.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Law

    Wicked Game, by Matt Johnson, is a fast moving thriller containing all the elements which make this genre so compelling whilst avoiding any hint of a formulaic approach. Its protagonist is an ex soldier who served in the SAS before leaving to join the metropolitan police. Despite this background he is not presented as an all action hero. The author has made him accomplished but believable. The story opens in 2001 with a suicide bombing in India. We are then introduced to the protagonist, Robert F Wicked Game, by Matt Johnson, is a fast moving thriller containing all the elements which make this genre so compelling whilst avoiding any hint of a formulaic approach. Its protagonist is an ex soldier who served in the SAS before leaving to join the metropolitan police. Despite this background he is not presented as an all action hero. The author has made him accomplished but believable. The story opens in 2001 with a suicide bombing in India. We are then introduced to the protagonist, Robert Finlay, who takes us back to 1980 and an incident in Northern Ireland. This and his subsequent role in the Iranian Embassy siege in London were key moments in his military career. Returning to what is the story’s present day we learn that Finlay is leaving his role as a Royal Protection officer to return to everyday police work. With a wife and young child to consider his priorities have changed. Within days of his return two police officers have been being targeted by a killer. Investigations suggest that these attacks are not random acts of terror. Finlay’s life is in danger and it is unclear from whom or why. The past he has hidden for his own safety comes back to haunt him, threatening his family and their stability. The author is himself an ex soldier and policeman which adds to the sense of authenticity with which this tale is imbued. What makes the book so readable though is the skill with which the plot is developed and written. Threads are thrown out and then woven back in, characters are fully rounded, the pace unrelenting. This is edge of your seat storytelling that is difficult to put down. The denouement is permeated with a sense of dread. I had to force myself not to skim over words, so eager was I to find out what happened next. It did not disappoint. An action thriller of the highest order that deserves to be read widely. It is hard to believe such an accomplished work is a debut. My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Orenda Books.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bethene

    Definitely a good read. I started Wicked Game a few days before going on vacation, but didn't get too far due to interruptions for things like work. I found it to be the perfect airplane book. Well defined interesting characters and a snappy pace kept my interest. While it's hard to put down there are a lot of little stopping places so you can come up for air (or get interrupted by flight attendants intent on feeding and watering the passengers)! I found Findlay both likable and believable. As a Definitely a good read. I started Wicked Game a few days before going on vacation, but didn't get too far due to interruptions for things like work. I found it to be the perfect airplane book. Well defined interesting characters and a snappy pace kept my interest. While it's hard to put down there are a lot of little stopping places so you can come up for air (or get interrupted by flight attendants intent on feeding and watering the passengers)! I found Findlay both likable and believable. As a character he reminds me of a more humble, perhaps more realistic, version of Robert B. Parker's Spenser. Matt Johnson's style reminded me a bit of Parker's as well. Similar pacing and glimpses into the character's past plus some surprising plot twists. Mrs. Findlay is a force of nature and provided some much needed comic relief. The part I felt was the best writing of the book was Findlay describing his experiences at the funeral of a friend. As the daughter of a veteran I recognized that familial bond forged under fire. The way vets who haven't seen one another for years start with the handshakes and the jokes then start to tell the stories of the events that bind them together. Passed this on to Dad for the return flight and he also gives it two thumbs up. He finished it before we landed so had to give him my Poldark novel for the domestic leg.... Looking forward to Findlay's next adventure....

  19. 4 out of 5

    Taffy Roberts

    This book has the touch of realism that is needed to distinguish good fiction from bad - and it was a hefty touch. Action books often leave me cold as they bear little resemblance to reality - whereas this book grabbed my attention from the beginning. Clearly the author has "been there and done that" and the his experience comes through in situation and character alike. Bombs go off and the moment is over very quickly- the aftermath is the horror. Finlay is a complex character with deep personal This book has the touch of realism that is needed to distinguish good fiction from bad - and it was a hefty touch. Action books often leave me cold as they bear little resemblance to reality - whereas this book grabbed my attention from the beginning. Clearly the author has "been there and done that" and the his experience comes through in situation and character alike. Bombs go off and the moment is over very quickly- the aftermath is the horror. Finlay is a complex character with deep personal ghosts that continue to haunt him - yet is able to switch from being a benign Police Inspector, trying to live a normal life, to a killing machine in a matter of seconds. Not that the character is cold and calculating - in fact he is well portrayed as a husband and father full of fears, trepidation and doubts like any other normal bloke. The portrayal of the other characters also paid some attention to their personal traits. The plot and action moved quickly and was well developed, the strands of red herrings sufficient to keep me guessing to the end - with some surprising turns and suspense along the way. I am now starting to read The Deadly Game, the sequel to The Wicked Game. I can see the possibility of many "......... Game" books to come.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kate~Bibliophile Book Club

    I’ve had Wicked Game on my Kindle since it came out, and with the news that book two is on its way, I figured now would be a good time to get this one read. It’s been so long since I looked it at that I didn’t remember the blurb which always stands in my favour as I know I have no expectations. However, this is an Orenda Books author, so I knew I was in for a treat and I wasn’t let down! Wicked Game is a debut, and a very assured one at that. Following Robert Finlay as he leaves Royalty Protectio I’ve had Wicked Game on my Kindle since it came out, and with the news that book two is on its way, I figured now would be a good time to get this one read. It’s been so long since I looked it at that I didn’t remember the blurb which always stands in my favour as I know I have no expectations. However, this is an Orenda Books author, so I knew I was in for a treat and I wasn’t let down! Wicked Game is a debut, and a very assured one at that. Following Robert Finlay as he leaves Royalty Protection to move to an Inspector position in a police station, this book is surprisingly fast paced. Police officers are getting murdered, and Finlay starts to make the connection between his previous classified SAS days. What follows is a highly intriguing cat and mouse chase that doesn’t let up until the very end! I won’t go into plot details, as usual, but what I will say is that Matt Johnson has written a very cleverly plotted novel. Full of twists and turns, with some excellent characterisation and a really great descriptive narrative, Wicked Game is without doubt a superb debut. Highly recommended!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Caryl Williams

    I first heard about Matt Johnson's debut Crime Fiction novel when he followed me on Twitter. I followed back and noticed that his book had a lot of positive feedback. Downloaded the book and read it in a few sessions. An absorbing and well written read that had me staying up late to finish the book. Matt's career as a soldier and then later as a police officer for twenty five years gave him valuable insight into the aspects of both services, add that to his ability as a writer who can craft a goo I first heard about Matt Johnson's debut Crime Fiction novel when he followed me on Twitter. I followed back and noticed that his book had a lot of positive feedback. Downloaded the book and read it in a few sessions. An absorbing and well written read that had me staying up late to finish the book. Matt's career as a soldier and then later as a police officer for twenty five years gave him valuable insight into the aspects of both services, add that to his ability as a writer who can craft a good story and it's a winner. He is up there with the top notch crime writers. A real cracker of a book and I have no hesitation to give it five stars. I will look forward to reading more books from this gifted writer

  22. 4 out of 5

    Matt Carrell

    Authors who write about their own past profession are usually treading a difficult line. They are in a perfect position to offer the reader a level of authenticity which would elude the layman. On the other hand they need to keep the story flowing. Matt Johnson has risen to that challenge cery effectively - with a story that makes you want to read "just one more chapter", before you turn in for the night. I read the book in one sitting - and whilst some of the twists were reasonably easy to predi Authors who write about their own past profession are usually treading a difficult line. They are in a perfect position to offer the reader a level of authenticity which would elude the layman. On the other hand they need to keep the story flowing. Matt Johnson has risen to that challenge cery effectively - with a story that makes you want to read "just one more chapter", before you turn in for the night. I read the book in one sitting - and whilst some of the twists were reasonably easy to predict, I was rooting for the main characters. A second book is on the way apparently and I for one will be buying it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michael Wood

    Wicked Game is a tense, dramatic, and absorbing thriller. The writing is as taut as the plot and the pace is nerve-shreddingly fast. Using his former careers as a soldier and Metropolitan police officer Matt Johnson's debut novel oozes with authenticity. An utterly compelling and gripping thriller from the opening page. This is a must-read. Wicked Game is a tense, dramatic, and absorbing thriller. The writing is as taut as the plot and the pace is nerve-shreddingly fast. Using his former careers as a soldier and Metropolitan police officer Matt Johnson's debut novel oozes with authenticity. An utterly compelling and gripping thriller from the opening page. This is a must-read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is a temporary rating based on 19%. If I ever come back and, I may change it. I quit because it felt so much more like an autobiography than a story. so many sentences staying with "I". So little literary interest. I really wonder what all the great reviews are based on. sigh. This is a temporary rating based on 19%. If I ever come back and, I may change it. I quit because it felt so much more like an autobiography than a story. so many sentences staying with "I". So little literary interest. I really wonder what all the great reviews are based on. sigh.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Segnalibro Blog

    It is just over a year to the day that I finished and semi-reviewed Matt Johnson’s self published version of Wicked Game, which inspired me to start reviewing the books I was reading. One year on, I’m a little more experienced in writing book reviews and it seems that I’ve come full circle, as I write this review for the revamped version of Wicked Game, published by the fantastic Orenda Books. I loved the original book, despite it not necessarily being a genre of book that I would normally read, It is just over a year to the day that I finished and semi-reviewed Matt Johnson’s self published version of Wicked Game, which inspired me to start reviewing the books I was reading. One year on, I’m a little more experienced in writing book reviews and it seems that I’ve come full circle, as I write this review for the revamped version of Wicked Game, published by the fantastic Orenda Books. I loved the original book, despite it not necessarily being a genre of book that I would normally read, and I’ve been looking forward to reading this new version of the book for quite some time. Wicked Game tells Robert Finlay’s story, a former SAS officer who has just put in a transfer from Royalty Protection to become a police Inspector at Stoke Newington Police Station. When past events, and past enemies, come back to haunt him, Finlay finds himself using his old skills and contacts to fight for his life to protect his wife, Jenny and his daughter, Becky. Torn between running and facing his fear to protect his family, Finlay is forced to revisit his life before Jenny to fight against enemies who are targeting him and his friends and find out why they are targets. Johnson originally wrote Wicked Game as a therapeutic way of dealing with his own battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and he uses his own experiences to authentically mirror the effects of P.T.S.D., not only in Finlay, but also in other characters too, to some extent. Most of the characters have suffered some kind of traumatic event and Johnson depicts the effects of this terrible disorder so well, particularly in Finlay, as it becomes apparent that it has it’s grip on him, even if he doesn’t realise it. The symptoms are eating away at him, exacerbated by the turn of recent events. Johnson cleverly adds the nuances of P.T.S.D. in the characters in an understated manner, illuminating how the symptoms are barely acknowledged by the characters, as they seem to be in a state of denial about their inner turmoil. This novel is gripping from the first chapter. Johnson has written a great combination of fast-paced action and character exploration to keep the reader equally emotionally attached and invested into the plot. He constructs the elements well, with red herrings and clues along the way so that by the time you get to the end, there is a “Eureka!” moment where it all comes together. What is astonishing is that you could easily imagine such a situation happening in real life. It does not read as being exaggerated or over the top, and at a time when terrorism is in the news on a daily basis, the authenticity of Johnson’s novel gives plenty of food for thought about our own social and political situation. The original novel was quite heavy on the police/soldier jargon, particularly in the first few chapters, which was fine for me, as I am happy to look things up that I’m not sure on. However, this has been toned down in this rewrite, which makes the narrative much slicker and whilst the jargon appeared to add an extra layer of authenticity in the original book when I read it then, having read it now it has been toned down, it is no less authentic without it. In fact, it reads much better and the focus is on the action and the characters, which makes it a much richer narrative. The narrative voice has been altered too, which allows the reader to consider the action from the viewpoint of the other main players, as well as Finlay. I was overjoyed to find that my one of my favourite chapters in the original book had remained and I was, once again, full of admiration for the likeable, feisty Jenny, Finlay’s wife. I’d like to think that I would be like Jenny – a supportive, loving wife who has every confidence in her man to support her and their daughter, whatever it takes, and can think with her head, not just her heart. I’m not sure how much I would live up to that (not necessarily that great at thinking with my head rather than my heart) , but Johnson has written her so well, I’m totally in awe of this literary character. She does not feature that often in the book, but she is referred to continuously and is fundamental to Finlay’s decision-making and she, along with Becky, are Finlay’s reasons for living, and ultimately what he is trying to protect. Wicked Game is a wonderful depiction of the importance of friendship, cameraderie, honour and respect in the face of adversity in unknown quantities. Finlay is not an obvious hero. He plays down his victories and has a rather unremarkable view of himself. He admits to his strengths, but quite modestly. I think that this is one of the reasons why Finlay himself is such a likeable character and why the reader champions him from the outset. Finlay’s struggle with the symptoms of P.T.S.D adds an extra emotional level for the reader, strengthening sympathetic feelings for our unsung hero. Johnson has written a brilliantly multi-layered narrative that has a great plot, engaging characters, and although I knew the story, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it again. The original book was my very first Book of the Month and the new and improved Wicked Game absolutely gets my seal of approval, for what it’s worth. Johnson is an incredibly skilled writer and I cannot wait to read and review the sequel, Deadly Game. Again!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bookaholic

    Not normally a fan of SAS. But this book was fantastic

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    😊 A good book with plenty of action to keep the guesses coming! Read this book in one day in several sittings. Fast paced and a nice twist near the end 😊.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    The sheer dogged determination of Robert Finlay provides one hell of an exhilarating ride, as he dodges bullets, explosives, and the shadows of his past, in this Wicked Game of cat and mouse. Expect nothing less than a thrilling journey, where secrets and revenge are delivered with guts and precision and the stakes are as high as they get – Finlay gives new meaning to the SAS motto of “Who dares, wins“. He’s coordinated the siege on the Iranian Embassy back in 2001, he’s single-handedly stopped IR The sheer dogged determination of Robert Finlay provides one hell of an exhilarating ride, as he dodges bullets, explosives, and the shadows of his past, in this Wicked Game of cat and mouse. Expect nothing less than a thrilling journey, where secrets and revenge are delivered with guts and precision and the stakes are as high as they get – Finlay gives new meaning to the SAS motto of “Who dares, wins“. He’s coordinated the siege on the Iranian Embassy back in 2001, he’s single-handedly stopped IRA terrorists in their tracks on-masse, but at 48 years old he was convinced he’d moved on from his old life in the SAS. Yet, no matter how his career and his life progress he keeps constant vigil over his family as he’s afraid of losing them. When you’ve experienced exactly what people are capable of, you’re aware of dangers all around. Even more so now, as several tragic incidents have occurred involving his old buddies, setting alarms bells off (plus detonations and sporadic gunfire). It feels like too much of a co-incidence, almost like their names are being checked of a list. It’s thought to be impossible, as no one should know who or where they are – not even his colleagues at Stoke Newington Police Station where Finlay has joined as an Inspector. It seems implausible to even consider how anyone could be privy to such sensitive information, since he was assured his and others’ personnel records and their associated high profile deeds were sealed and would never see the light of day. Their identities should remain forever anonymous to protect them, and those they love. After Finlay evades a couple of tragic near misses, where the initial feeling is that random police officers are being target, it’s thought the IRA are responsible. Between clandestine off-the-record meetings with MI5 and evading questions thrown at him from his own superiors, he quickly realises he doesn’t know who to trust anymore, as the evidence is pointing to someone far more dangerous than first thought. He can’t even confide in his wife as she is oblivious to his past. All he can do is fear for her safety and that of his daughter – and he’ll do anything to protect them. Robert Finlay, ex-SAS officer, protector of Royalty, Detective to Scotland Yard, more importantly a husband and father, places all his faith in his semi-rusty skills. He’s been out of the game for a little while and he’s not as young as he used to be. He misjudges situations, he’s allowing his emotions to get the better of him, all the things you shouldn’t be when dealing with an invisible threat. But he must put an end to the terror, even if it’s the end of him. This is very, very personal, and those responsible had better watch out. Finlay won’t rest until he stops them – whoever they are. The threads are pulled in one by one to weave a highly dangerous web and catch a very specific target. I may not have got to grips with the various military acronyms but it truly is a cracking read from start to finish, and puts into perspective what some people have to sacrifice in order to keep others safe. (My thanks to Orenda Books for providing a copy of this books in exchange for on honest review.)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Wicked Game – Stunning Debut Wicked Game is an absolutely stunning debut thriller that will take your breath away at its pace, its writing, like me you will be blown away. To think that this book started out as therapy to help him deal with PTSD after working in both the police and army. This is an absolutely breath taking, compelling that will just blow your mind, this sort of work you expect from an experience writer, not a novice. All I can really say is WOW! Robert Finlay is a police inspector Wicked Game – Stunning Debut Wicked Game is an absolutely stunning debut thriller that will take your breath away at its pace, its writing, like me you will be blown away. To think that this book started out as therapy to help him deal with PTSD after working in both the police and army. This is an absolutely breath taking, compelling that will just blow your mind, this sort of work you expect from an experience writer, not a novice. All I can really say is WOW! Robert Finlay is a police inspector with the Royalty Protection team and he is starting to feel his age and with a young family and it is time for him to move on. One thing that he does have is a secret past that neither his employers the Metropolitan Police or his family know anything about. That past is known only to a very select few, he is a former officer of the SAS, was at the Iranian Embassy in 1980 and had served out in Northern Ireland. A police inspector is blown up while on duty and another is shot while cleaning his car outside his house, both former colleagues of Finlay’s from the regiment. Finlay starts to see a pattern, one which his former commanding officer in the regiment tends to support. When Finlay becomes the target he knows the truth will have to be told if he is make sure his family are safe. So begins a game of cat and mouse as Finlay and another police officer also former SAS comrade know they need to find out who wants them dead. With the help of their former CO they track down IRA operatives but cannot do too much. They are trying to avoid their colleagues in the Anti- Terrorist Branch, while trying to stay alive, while they work out who their unidentified enemy is, while being hunted by the police and terrorists alike. Wicked Game is one of the most compelling thrillers that will be read this year, Matt Johnson’s experience as a police officer and soldier brings the authenticity that other thrillers lack. Just like in real life nothing is clear cut, this is an intricate well planned thriller that packs a real punch. It is even harder when the smoke and mirrors tends to put Finlay in further tougher spots. From the first page through to the last the reader is completely hooked and drawn in by the writing and the descriptions, this is such an absorbing and thrilling read. The authenticity of the writing, and the knowledge of what happens in particular situations raises this above other thrillers. This is really a case of the writer having been there, done that, got the t-shirt, his experience searing through the pages. Experience and knowledge always trumps research, because one has been there and the other can only talk about it. Wicked Game really does give you, flash, bang, wallop and like bullets no words are wasted but hit the target every time. Matt Johnson is a new name in thriller writing and with his brilliant writing we have a new star writer.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Carr-Harding

    Always love to open the pages of a new book, by an author I have never read before, like taking the first steps of a journey into the unknown. From the moment I started reading, I was hooked. This was a journey I wanted to make, Every twist made me want to read more, to discover how and why the protagonist was going to reach the end to each situation. I believed in him, and wanted so much, throughout the book, for him to move forward and solve the issues plaguing him. I like a book that keeps me Always love to open the pages of a new book, by an author I have never read before, like taking the first steps of a journey into the unknown. From the moment I started reading, I was hooked. This was a journey I wanted to make, Every twist made me want to read more, to discover how and why the protagonist was going to reach the end to each situation. I believed in him, and wanted so much, throughout the book, for him to move forward and solve the issues plaguing him. I like a book that keeps me guessing, where I cannot solve it myself in the first chapters, where I have to turn the next page to find out what is going to come next. I read the book in only 2 days, because I just couldn't put it down. I wanted to know, wanted to share and wanted to see that this hero reached his goal. I was not at all disappointed with regard to the story, and I look forward to reading more, to Robert Finlay becoming someone I can't wait to read about again. I believe that the sign of a great author is when reading a book seems more like looking at a picture, the authors words painting images I can see in my minds eye, and I can feel myself there, an onlooker, rather than a detached reader. To this end I believe that Matt Johnson truly is an artist, and I cannot wait to lose myself in Robert Finlay's next adventure... Thank you so much Matt, for sharing your imagination, painting a picture, and giving me a journey through the life of Robert Finlay.

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