by Matt Johnson
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. 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 SAS regiment, and a series of explosive events makes it clear that he is not the ordinary man that his colleagues and new family think he is. And so begins a game of cat and mouse in which Finlay is forced to test his long-buried skills in a fight against a determined, unidentified enemy.
The adage ‘write what you know’ can’t always apply to crime writers. A darkness, often left to an author’s imagination, is rarely called up from first-hand experience. In the case of author Matt Johnson, there’s an authenticity at play, one that comes from his memory bank. The plot may be complex and fictitious but there’s a believability that makes this a superior thriller. (see Johnson’s short biog at the bottom of this page).
With its ninety-six snappy chapters we get the James Pattersonesque hooks that keep those pages turning in this game of cat and mouse.
Protagonist Robert Finlay is an ex-SAS officer, now a family man after having previously only been devoted to his career. His colourful history comes back to haunt him after two incidents where policemen are killed. Perhaps the IRA is responsible? Random cops are being targeted but what if the killings aren’t random?
Finlay, an officer supposed to be protecting the Royals, is forced to seek the truth when he realises the murdered men were former Army colleagues of his, from his SAS days. Finlay may be dogged and determined but he’s not as young as he used to be and now has a family to protect, one that are unaware of his past.
There are leaks, and secrets are lifted, compromising more people’s safety. Finlay doesn’t know who to trust and he’s plenty to lose. Especially so, when his family’s safety is compromised. His wife does her own investigating and soon confronts her husband, demanding answers. Finlay will do anything to protect her and their daughter he needs to know where the danger is coming from.
About Matt Johnson:
Matt served as a soldier and police officer for 25 years. Blown off his feet at the London Baltic Exchange in ’92, and one of the first officers on the scene of the ’82 Regent’s Park bombing, Matt was also the Libyan People’s Bureau shooting in ’84 where he escorted his mortally friend and colleague, Yvonne Fletcher, to hospital.
Whilst being treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder he wrote Wicked game. The sequel, Deadly Game, is being written.