Stolen by Paul Finch (Lucy Clayburn 3)

Paul Finch Stolen

How do you find the missing when there’s no trail to follow?

DC Lucy Clayburn is having a tough time of it. Not only is her estranged father one of the North West’s toughest gangsters, but she is in the midst of one of the biggest police operations of her life.

Members of the public have started to disappear, taken from the streets as they’re going about their every day lives. But no bodies are appearing – it’s almost as if the victims never existed.

Lucy must chase a trail of dead ends and false starts as the disappearances mount up. But when her father gets caught in the crossfire, the investigation suddenly becomes a whole lot more bloody…

My Rating: 4/5 Continue reading

Kiss of Death by Paul Finch (Mark Heckenburg #7)

Synopsis: A Deadly Hunt
DS ‘Heck’ Heckenburg has been tasked with retrieving one of the UK’s most wanted men. But the trail runs cold when Heck discovers a video tape showing the fugitive in a fight for his life. A fight he has no chance of winning.

A Dangerous Game
Heck realises that there’s another player in this game of cat and mouse, and this time, they’ve not just caught the prize: they’ve made sure no one else ever does.

A Man Who Plays With Fire
How far will Heck and his team go to protect some of the UK’s most brutal killers? And what price is he willing to pay?

My Rating: 5/5 Continue reading

Shadows by Paul Finch (Lucy Clayburn #2)

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Synopsis: As a female cop walking the mean streets of Manchester, life can be tough for PC Lucy Clayburn. But when one of the North West’s toughest gangsters is your father, things can be particularly difficult.

When Lucy’s patch is gripped by a spate of murder-robberies, the police are quick to action. Yet when it transpires that the targets are Manchester’s criminal underworld, attitudes change.

Lucy is soon faced with one of the toughest cases of her life – and one which will prove once and for all whether blood really is thicker than water…

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Kat’s Review: I was looking forward to the second installment in this series as I loved the first book. This second book was I thought very different to the first. For a start the beginning was a little…sludgy? Is that even a word? I absolutely loved Lucy but couldn’t help but feel like she was stuck in a rut? When a spate of Robberies start occurring Lucy of course has to get involved and it seems like there could be crossover with other cases. A few characters in this book I didn’t warm to and by the end of the book I discovered why. However I still felt like the beginning was like she was wading in deep mud. 

Skip forward to maybe the halfway point and it turns into a full on action packed 5 star read. It was literally like reading about a different woman. With Manchester’s Underworld leading figures now being targeted it felt like the book ratcheted up the ante and it was every man for themselves. Lucy finds herself in literally more and more hot water as the book continues which just makes it all the more engaging and the second half of the book I read in one sitting, it was absolutely first class. 

As for the ‘Daddy Issue’ let’s not spoil for others but suffice to say this is a cracking element to the series made all the more interesting with this book. I was almost smiling ‘gleefully’ at the events that transpired for Lucy on this front. I think for me there was only one element missing and that’s a senior figure that is there for Lucy. normally in books like this there is a chain of command but it seems Lucy is almost on her own for most of the time and think that doesn’t sit quite right with me. I am a HUGE fan of this series and would highly recommend reading both this and the earlier books in order, another cracker by Finch! 

Ashes to Ashes by Paul Finch (Mark Heckenburg #6)

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Synopsis: John Sagan is a forgettable man. You could pass him in the street and not realise he’s there. But then, that’s why he’s so dangerous.

A torturer for hire, Sagan has terrorised – and mutilated – countless victims. And now he’s on the move. DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg must chase the trail, even when it leads him to his hometown of Bradburn – a place he never thought he’d set foot in again.

But Sagan isn’t the only problem. Bradburn is being terrorised by a lone killer who burns his victims to death. And with the victims chosen at random, no-one knows who will be next. Least of all Heck…

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Kat’s Review: At last Heck is back, or if you want to be specific Detective Mark Heckenburg is back. I am up to date with this series and was looking forward to this, the sixth in the series. Heck is back in London and it seems he is on the trail of a torturer for hire who goes by the name John Sagan. However, before long Heck has to chase the tail which leads him up North to his home town of Bradburn. The interesting thread here was Heck’s family, or lack of it, should I say! It certainly added another dimension to the story which made me all the more intrigued.

As usual Heck is as insubordinate as he can get away with and constantly goes with his own rules and subsequently irritates all his superiors. Thankfully it’s one of his traits that make him all the more likeable. Once set up in Bradburn, we are introduced to his uncle as well as a former school friend. Slowly the elements of his personal life are revealed giving the reader an insight into how he ended up as a copper in London. With regards to the psychotic Sagan they are chasing, it seems he has become a ghost, however what he does throw into their path are some high ranking members of a couple of Northern Gangs. This in turn leads to the other thread to the story which is where it all began, with a killer whose choice of weapons is a flamethrower who has been nicknamed ‘The Incinerator’.

Be prepared for plenty of graphic, gory and violent scenes all which made me cringe, which in turn made the book that shade darker than usual. This certainly isn’t a book for the faint-hearted, but that sort of stuff never fazes me too much it just puts a slightly different spin on the story for me.  The story line itself wasn’t my favourite of this series but the personal elements certainly made it more interesting. As usual Paul Finch skills as an author leave you wanting more and sure enough by the time I had finished I was already wondering when the next book would be out. Another cracking read but not my favourite in the series!

Strangers by Paul Finch (Lucy Clayburn #1)

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Synopsis: Unknown, alone, and fearing for your life.

As PC Lucy Clayburn is about to find out, going undercover is the most dangerous work there is.

But, on the trail of a prolific female serial killer, there’s no other option – and these murders are as brutal as they come.

Lucy must step into the line of fire – a stranger in a criminal underworld that butchers anyone who crosses the line.

And, unknown to Lucy, she’s already treading it…

Kat’s Rating: 5/5

Kat’s Review: My name is Kat and I am a ‘Heck’ a-Holic’…with that in mind I was a little anxious starting a book by Paul Finch which didn’t feature my beloved Mark Heckenburg. However, I am now ‘fan girling’ over a new character so I can rejoice that I can stave off my Heck fix for a while with the new girl of the hour PC Lucy Clayburn.

PC Lucy Clayburn is introduced to us in a somewhat disastrous view of an assignment, and following on from that I wondered what on earth she would be doing. Well, it turns out that being a PC and making some hard earned collars on the streets meant she was a waling candidate for a new task force put together to catch what seemed to be a prolific female serial killer.

That in itself is quite an unusual scenario, as is the state of the bodies by the time this maniac woman has finished with them.

Enter Detective Superintendent Priya Newal who wants Lucy on the team. Priya makes for another strong lead female character and I like the fact that she is a firm but fair influence over Lucy. With Priya’s backing Lucy forms part of the team and goes undercover. Because of her previous assignment it seems she is even more determined to make an impression which means ultimately putting herself in danger.

From start to finish the book packs a punch, filled to the brim with dangerous individuals, strong lead and secondary characters and a pacy and thrilling story line. You can’t really ask for too much more can you? Paul Finch seems to have quite the knack of creating lead characters that stay with the reader. I know that Heck is my favourite as the series is a few books in and although Lucy is in second place, if he continues to write like this…who knows! I was so thrilled to have read and loved this book as much as I did, and I can certainly recommend it to people. All I need to do now is cross my fingers and hope I don’t have too long a wait to see Lucy again.

Hunted by Paul FInch (Mark Heckenburg #5)

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My Rating: 5/5

Availability: Paperback, Kindle, Nook, Kobo

Synopsis: Heck needs to watch his back. Because someone’s watching him. Across the south of England, a series of bizarre but fatal accidents are taking place. So when a local businessman survives a near-drowning but is found burnt alive in his car just weeks later, DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is brought in to investigate. Soon it appears that other recent deaths might be linked: two thieves that were bitten to death by poisonous spiders, and a driver impaled through the chest with scaffolding. Accidents do happen but as the body count rises it’s clear that something far more sinister is at play, and it’s coming for Heck too.

My Review: One VERY important thing you need to remember to do when reading this book is BREATHE!!! I found myself holding my breath in far too many parts of this book but all in a very good way. I only recently discovered Paul Finch and his first release featuring DS Mark Heckenburg (or Heck as he is better known) was a knockout. The 3 following books in the series were all great but didn’t quite have the same pull for me as the debut to the series Stalkers. Until now…

Heck is contacted by his boss and ex-lover Gemma Piper to go and take a look at a strange case which involves a supposed accidental death. It involves going down to leafy Surrey and having to meet a new group of coppers namely one Gail Honeyford. It appears that they already have their suspicions and Gail is already on the case. However, Heck not only has the challenge of a difficult temporary colleague, but of more than one strange and bizarre cases. It seems like no type of crime from the bizarre to the downright shocking is exempt from the cases that keep cropping up.

From the outset the pace ratchets up and rarely gives you time to breathe. A few times I realised I was holding my breath for longer than necessary and as usual Heck manages to get himself into some awful positions. I for one will never look at an image of a spider in a glass jar without thinking about a particular scene in this book. Although Gemma Piper has featured in previous books she is not really a main actor in this latest instalment and if I’m honest I think that’s a good thing. It leaves open so many more possibilities, yet leaves her in the series (so to speak, sorry not very well articulated there…but you know what I mean).

Overall, this book was a first class one from Mr Finch, and certainly an instalment that will keep me going back for more. Thank goodness there is another book due for release later this year! Highly recommended book AND series.

P.S I think I am developing another fictional character crush

Dead Man Walking by Paul Finch (Mark Heckenburg #4)

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My Rating: 4/5

Availability: Paperback & Kindle (20.11.14), Kobo (20.11.14), Nook (20.11.14)

Synopsis: Beware the stranger in the night…

Consigned to a remote valley in the Lake District, DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is getting used to a quieter life – a far cry from the bloodbath of his former division, the Serial Crimes Unit. But wherever Heck goes, trouble is never far behind.

Unknown to Heck, ‘The Stranger’ has returned. Last seen on Dartmoor ten years earlier, this prolific serial killer has found a new home. As a dense, frozen mist descends on the Lakes, The Stranger returns to his old ways, starting with two young women lost high on the hills. Only one girl is ever found – barely alive – but able to confirm Heck’s worst fears.

As The Stranger lays siege to the remote community, Heck helplessly watches as the killer plays his cruel game, letting off his trademark call before viciously picking off his victims.

And with no way to get word out of the valley, Heck has no choice but to play ball…

Lock your doors and bar your windows. Because when the mist descends, you never know who’s watching you…

**Please note, if you plan to read the Heck Books in order, then don’t read this review as it will inevitably contain spoilers**

My Review: I was feeling rather lucky as I got started on the new Heck more than 2 months before publication, however after a few chapters I put it down. What was going on? Heck had relocated to the arse end of nowhere and frankly I was bored. I felt like I had so much description with regards to the area of Cragwood Vale and the local villagers I wondered if the book was even written by Finch! However, it appears Mr Finch had his reasons for this, and as usual they were absolutely correct…more on that later!

Heck seems to be on some sort of mission to extract himself from his friends and colleagues so has taken himself to a very remote village in the Lake District. You almost get the feeling that Heck doesn’t quite know what to do with himself. He has now distanced himself from his old boss Gemma Piper and other colleagues and instead has a new partner Mary-Ellen O’Rourke. There is also the landlady of the local village pub Hazel as well as some other locals who start to make an appearance.

The prologue was an insight into an old case where a killer known as The Stranger appears and it involved Gemma Piper back when she was starting out her career. Before long we realise that there is a killer on the loose who seems remarkably like The Stranger and it gives Heck enough leverage place a to call to Gemma. I was thankful; she re-appeared as I felt like Heck needed her back in his life as he seemed so off kilter.

As usual with a Finch novel, as soon as Gemma re-appears the story starts to ratchet up in tension. With two young girls out hiking and lost, anything could have happened. As soon as Heck, Gemma and Mary-Ellen start to investigate it seems like all hell breaks loose. The second half of the book is where all the action happens and if you heart can take it the last quarter is positively heart stopping.

Depending on the type of reader you are, if you are like me and absorb everything your mind creates your own idea of a place based on the author’s description. This is where it all started to make sense. Paul Finch had spent some time detailing the area and the sheer beauty of it. However throw in some bad weather and you have the perfect setting (in my head) for a fantastic horror movie. Because of this, the last section of the book had me bloody petrified as we see Heck do his usual ‘playing with death’.

I was really unsure at the start of this book, however after the halfway point I didn’t want to put it down and had to keep reading. It was also a book that had my nerves shot to hell! I thoroughly enjoyed it, but sincerely hope we see Heck move away from this area as I don’t think it suits him. This latest book had a different feel to it compared to the others, but certainly didn’t make it any less enjoyable. As always I am left waiting with baited breath to see what is next for Heck and cannot wait! 

The Killing Club by Paul Finch (Mark Heckenburg #3)

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My Rating: 4/5

Availability: Paperback & Kindle, Nook and Kobo (available 22nd May 2014),

Synopsis: DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is used to bloodbaths. But nothing can prepare him for this. Heck’s most dangerous case to date is open again. Two years ago, countless victims were found dead – massacred at the hands of Britain’s most terrifying gang.

When brutal murders start happening across the country, it’s clear the gang is at work again. Their victims are killed in cold blood, in broad daylight, and by any means necessary. And Heck knows it won’t be long before they come for him.

Brace yourself as you turn the pages of a living nightmare. Welcome to The Killing Club.

My Review: Paul Finch’s series of books featuring DS Mark Heckenburg (otherwise known as Heck) started with book one featuring a nasty bunch of killers named The Nice Guys. The Nice Guys were a horrific bunch of people who ran a ‘rape-for-hire’ business catering to the most sadistic of men. In the first of the series (entitled Stalkers) only one person ended up being behind bars and that was Peter Rochester. Between Heck’s boss DS Gemma Piper and the lead guy Frank Tasker, part of the Serious Crime Unit they are desperately trying to get some insider knowledge from him, with a view to shutting down the Nice Guys for good.

What actually happens is that they manage to set off a chain event which is nothing short of an absolute cluster fuck. As with Finch’s previous books there are more bodies than most people have hot dinners. In addition to this you get a serving of violence, a handful of plot twists and a dash of gore. The book certainly ratchets up the dial in terms of suspense and it’s incredibly fast paced. The writing was great and you feel yourself being pulled into the story for the very beginning.

For me though, it’s all about the characters. Now Mark Heckenburg on paper appears like many other typical Crime leads (especially where coppers are concerned). I have now realised (by the very end of this book) that Heck is a little bit special. He may appear to be like many others on paper, but in reality this is a bloke that actually doesn’t give a shit either way. Heck has some serious attitude, without appearing cocky. This latest Heck book also takes him head first into the danger zone and although he is by no means Rambo, the boy can look after himself. One thing I noted (and loved) was that there were a few situations where you realise Heck is almost at the point of giving up, and sometimes he just gets lucky. It’s nice when there isn’t always a character solving an issue because he knows everything, he is just damn lucky.

There were loads of plot twists and believe me you wont have time to put this one down and ‘go back to it’. Its one of those you just have to keep reading. I thought this was a great book absolutely packed full of action and a thoroughly enjoyable read. However, Stalkers still holds the edge as my favourite out of the three. The ending to this latest book was also fabulous and it’s made me want to read the next one even more.

Sacrifice by Paul Finch (Mark Heckenburg #2)

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My Rating: 4/5

Availability: Paperback, Kindle, Audio, Nook & Kobo

Synopsis: Innocent people are dying. Who will be next?  A vicious serial killer is holding the country to ransom, publicly – and gruesomely – murdering his victims.

When a man is burnt alive on a bonfire, it seems like a tragic Guy Fawkes Night accident. But with the discovery of a young couple on Valentine’s Day – each with an arrow through the heart – something more sinister becomes clear. A ‘calendar killer’ is on the loose.

Detective Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is up against it. With a rising body count and the public’s eyes on him, Heck must find the killer before he executes more victims. Because this killer has a plan. And nothing will stop him completing it.

My Review: I read the first book by Paul Finch in this series entitled ‘Stalkers’ and absolutely LOVED it! I was really looking forward to reading the second in this series. Detective Mark Heckenburg is a bloody brilliant character. He is (well in my head anyway) very attractive in that ‘just got out of bed way’ and has a very defiant nature (what more could a woman ask forJ). Mark Heckenburg is known simply as Heck and in this latest offering is part of a team tracking down a vicious serial killer. This particular serial killer is a little different as he likes his kills to be shared with the public.

As ever the scenes described are brutally descriptive and totally engaging! The story certainly has the pace and drama but for some reason I felt that a couple of parts in the book were hard going, it just seemed a little too scripted, but that certainly didn’t deter from the overall enjoyment of the book. I really like some of the recurring characters in this series such as Gemma Piper who Heck happens to have been in a brief relationship with in the past. I must say one thing I like about Paul Finch book is that I get the feeling nobody is safe. I think he may well be a writer that will like to take major chances with characters so I am always on guard when reading wondering who he is going to kill off nextJ

The only other thing I didn’t like about this book was the last scene involving the serial killer felt a little too ‘convenient’ but other than that small factor I was kept pretty much on the edge of my seat right up until the end. Although I didn’t like this as much as I did Stalkers, I am absolutely ready for book 3. Mr Finch appears to be challenging my latest fictional crush (currently Sean Blacks character Ryan Lock) and reeling me in to maybe feel the same about Heck. Mmmmmm, book 3 may well make my mind up!

Stalkers by Paul Finch (Mark Heckenburg #1)

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My Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: Detective Sergeant Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is investigating the disappearance of 38 different women. Each one was happy and successful until they vanished without a trace.

Desperate to find her missing sister, Lauren Wraxford seeks out Heck’s help. Together they enter a seedy underworld of gangsters and organised crime.

But when they hear rumours about the so-called ‘Nice Guys Club’ they hit a brick wall. They’re the gang that no one will talk about. Because the Nice Guys can arrange anything you want. Provided you pay the price…

Kat’s Review: I’ve never read a Paul Finch book before but when I Googled him I realised he is by no means a ‘newbie’ to the book scene. Paul has been writing all sorts and to date has had nearly 300 stories published. He’s done scriptwriting, journalism and (surprise, surprise) was once a copper. He is however, relatively new to the Crime genre. His debut novel in this genre is the book I have just read Stalkers featuring Detective Sergeant Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenberg

Heck is investigating the disappearance of more than 30 different women. The difference with this case is that these women were happy and successful and had absolutely no reason to disappear.  Heck gets himself into a situation where if he really wants to find out what happened, he has to operate outside of the law. Heck is an easy character to read and has the ‘likeability’ factor, but in the beginning nothing more than that.

In addition to Heck, Lauren Wrexford is trying to find out about one of the missing girls, her sister, and tries to enlist Heck’s help. More by design they end up paired together and within the first half of the book find themselves not just operating outside of the law, but bending the rules until they are nearly at breaking point. I absolutely loved the feisty character of Lauren and think she added a great element to the story.

Interweaved with the actual investigation Heck is on, we actually get to follow the story of one particular missing woman. I must say that Paul Finch’s history in writing is glaringly obvious as his writing is outstanding. As for being new to the crime Genre, I wouldn’t have had a clue and had I not known, would have made the assumption he was a seasoned Crime writer. The story has that mixed element of making me want to hide behind my husband with fear, and sit up straighter because I feel like something bad is literally just around the corner.

I have to be honest and say that I couldn’t put this one down and at the halfway stage had already ordered the second book featuring Heck.