Monday, 3 October 2016

Review - Strangers by Paul Finch

Throwing the reader straight into the action, Strangers by Paul Finch was a book that most definitely kept me awake until the early hours of the morning. It was a great crime/thriller novel that featured a strong police constable and a storyline that is a little different from the norm. Written in a way that would make it a perfect book to adapt for a TV series, this was the first book of Paul’s that I’ve ever read and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last. 

PC Lucy Clayburn’s career in the police force has been rocky to say the least, particularly when a convicted murderer managed to escape whilst he was handcuffed to her. Not only was she nearly killed in the process but the police operation fell flat on its face, all of which didn’t lead to her getting the promotion of her dreams. Now several years later a man has been killed and before long his death is linked to that of several others making it clear that they are looking for a serial killer. Keen to prove her worthiness and still dreaming of a promotion, Lucy throws herself into the investigation and goes undercover to discover things about a world that she was previously quite unfamiliar with. 

Two things made this book really stand out for me with these being the setting and Paul’s writing style. The book is set in the darker side of Manchester where gangs and crime are an all too familiar sight. Not only did this open my eyes to a way of living which I’m sure that sadly is not just purely fictional but it also added enormously to the overall atmosphere of this novel. It was dark, gritty, tense and dramatic from beginning to end in a way that most certainly got the old adrenaline racing. It’s quite clear that Paul knows exactly what he’s doing and his knowledge of the police force really shone through, with abbreviations thrown in along the way that I previously hadn’t heard of. 

I have to say that at the start of the novel, Lucy was a character who I couldn’t quite get my head around and I wasn’t sure whether I’d end up liking her or not. Whilst it was true that she started off as a bit negative and constantly dwelling on what had previously gone wrong for her by the end of the novel she had completely changed and I could see the person she really was. Yes she sometimes acted recklessly but she always looked after others and always stayed true to herself and stood up for what she believed in which I feel is something to be admired. 

I’m immensely happy to have just discovered Paul Finch’s writing at this time particularly as it seems that this is the first novel he’s written featuring Lucy. I for one would not only like to read more written by Paul but more written about Lucy and am hopeful that I will soon be able to. The only thing left for me to say is that I now totally understand why there has been so much excited chatter and anticipation about this book, his latest release to date.