Title: End Game
Author: Matt Johnson
Publisher: Orenda Books
Publication Date: 6th February 2018
This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest review
About the book:
Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settled into his new career as a detective. But when the girlfriend of his former SAS colleague and close friend Kevin Jones is murdered, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over. Jones is arrested for the killing, but soon escapes from jail, and Finlay is held responsible for the breakout. Suspended from duty and sure he’s being framed too, our hero teams up with MI5 agent Toni Fellowes to find out who’s behind the conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals a plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services. End Game, the final part in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay trilogy, sees our hero in an intricately plotted and terrifyingly fast-paced race to uncover the truth and escape those who’d sooner have him dead than be exposed.
What I Thought:
End Game is the third and final book in the Robert Finlay trilogy. Things are going well for Robert, settled into his career as a detective and now the father of two little girls he is happy with his life. But when his close friend Kevin Jones confides in him that he has found a listening device hidden in a plug socket in his home things begin to spiral out of control. A complex plot involving the security services and a Government Minister is slowly exposed, throw into the mix an internal affairs officer who is not happy with how events in the past have played out and is holding a grudge against Robert and you’ve certainly got a tense few days for our detective.
So here’s the thing, last year I won a copy of Deadly Game, the second book in the trilogy, I didn’t pick it up straight away as I hadn’t read Wicked Game yet, and then more books appeared in my life and it slipped further and further down my list, I still haven’t read the first two books, I didn’t have the chance to get round to them before I needed to read this one, so I ended up reading End Game as a defacto standalone.
Did I get as much out of the book as I would have done if I had read the previous two books first, undoubtedly not, it was clear that parts of the plot were referring back to events of the past, and I’m sure there were intricacies within the plot that I completely missed because I hadn’t read Wicked Game or Deadly Game; I wouldn’t have noticed a subtle little call back to a previous event or character. However I still absolutely loved this book! While I may not have had all the background there was still more than enough detail within End Game for me to feel completely up to speed with the story.
I was completely drawn in by the plot and invested in the outcome for both Robert and Kevin. The story was so well paced, with never a dull moment, whether the action came from Robert being called upon to put his negotiation training into practice, his interactions with Toni or Kevin’s prison break and the dramatic conclusion I was hooked! I started reading it in the middle of the afternoon and ended up not having dinner until nearly 9pm because I didn’t want to put it down! I think it’s a huge testament to Matt’s writing that even without the history of the first two books I was still completely hooked, everything I needed to know was in the book, as I said I’m sure I missed bits but at no point did I read a sentence and wonder what on earth was going on, I didn’t feel lost or as though I was missing a crucial piece of information I was just hooked and needed to know what was coming next.
I found the characters were fantastic. I thought Robert was a really interesting character and I really enjoyed his interactions with everyone, be it his team at Scotland Yard, Toni and her team or his friends and family – one of my favourite interactions in the whole book was actually him just spending some time with his daughter Becky, taking her to the swing at the bottom of the field. I really appreciated the sections of the book that spoke to his past experiences, and without giving too much away I think the scenes where he puts his negotiation training into use were particularly effective, emotional and gave such a good insight into what someone who has lived Robert, or any solider’s life has been through, and will continue to go through, it’s clear that it has been written by someone who has experienced that themselves.
I thought the more secondary characters were also really well developed (probably even more so if I’d read the previous books) I was never disappointed anytime Kevin, Toni or Grahamslaw popped up on a page, and I have to reserve a special mention for Nell who I thought was wonderful! I thought Green was an interesting villain, there’s clearly a history in the earlier books but there was enough detail for me to come to my own conclusions about how I felt about Howard Green, and the less said about Superintendent Mellor the better, suffice to say I don’t think I would have shown the restraint Robert did if I’d been in the same room as him!
Would I Recommend?
I would definitely recommend this book to all thriller fans. I’m so annoyed with myself for not reading the first two books in the trilogy as I absolutely loved this and I can only imagine I would have taken even more from End Game if I had read the full trilogy in order. So if you’re here reading this review and you’ve already read Wicked Game and Deadly Game go and buy End Game, I can promise you you will not regret it. If you’ve not yet started the series go and buy Wicked Game, I think you’d enjoy End Game either way, it’s a five star read for me regardless; but I think to do the series justice and get the most out of it diving in from the beginning is the way to go, but give yourself a free weekend because I’m quite convinced once you start Wicked Game you won’t want to stop until you reach the last page of End Game.
This may be the final book in the Robert Finlay trilogy but I’m certainly hoping it’s not the last we’ll see from Matt. For now I’m off to get Wicked Game…
Want to buy it?
As always if you’ve read the book let me know what you thought! If you’ve not read it yet will my review convince you to pick it up?