Book Review: Strangers, by Paul Finch #Strangers

Publisher:  Avon (Harper Collins)

Publication date:   22nd September 2016


Strangers by Paul FinchStrangers has a massively satisfying plot which catches light from the first page, and I can genuinely say it made my eyes burn as I was still reading at 2am, and on a work night too (oh, the shame). Any nagging loose ends are cleverly tucked in on route, and it has the right balance of action and snappy dialogue exchange that would make it TV script-worthy. Yep, it’s an exceptional read.

Cocking up on duty was the beginning of the end of PC Lucy Clayburn. After committing career suicide, and still stinking from the whiff of stepping into a nasty situation, she accepts she’ll be plodding along as Constable for the foreseeable. Although her sights remain firmly on becoming a detective, she is content to uphold the law in her uniquely effective manner and reminisce on what might have been.

When the possibility arises for her to turn temporary detective again what follows is a relentless quest to do whatever is required, as she volunteers to go undercover to catch a killer who’s going round mutilating their victim’s bits without a hint of compassion or compromising their identity.

Nick-named “The Ripper Chicks”, Lucy and other female officers mingle on the dimly lit streets hoping to catch the butcher before they strike again.

An outbreak of the plague wouldn’t deter Lucy from this opportunity. But her determination only encourages her borderline recklessness. She’ll sink deeper into a world of vice, surrounding herself with alarmingly untouchable people who keep especially grim company and have to think on her feet to save her skin. Her involvement in this case could make or break her future, yet there’s every chance it’ll have the same effect on her physically.

Clayburn is the perfectly tenacious, Ducati motorcycle riding police officer, with her eye firmly on the prize. And no. She doesn’t want fame she, wants to find the hives of criminals. While she stamps on their nests whenever she can, her single parent mother does her laundry and cooks her tea – such a refreshing change from the stereotypical aging / brooding / recently separated Inspectors normally chosen for the starring role.

There’s also a terrific assortment of fellow cast members, including the unusually supportive ball-breaking Inspectors, and a multitude of shady employers from brutal brothel keepers to obsessively organised crime lords, where the hired muscle takes pride in reprimanding staff and tailoring on-the-job-training accordingly.

With its engrossing, adrenalin-fuelled plot, withholding the perfect pinch of vital information to leave you craving more, Strangers is in another league entirely. I’ve previously read two of Paul Finch’s books in the ‘DS Heckenburg’ series and loved them both, but this one featuring PC Lucy Clayburn is outstanding.

Rating:  5/5

(I received a paperback copy of this title from the Publishers in exchange for an unbiased review, with my huge thanks for a great read.)


(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

“A fast-paced, terrifying journey” RACHEL ABBOTT

Dark, gritty and always edge-of-your-seat: the NO.1 BESTSELLER is back with a standout new heroine…

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…

Always gripping. Always gruesome. Paul Finch will leave fans of Rachel Abbott and MJ Arlidge gasping for more.



(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Paul Finch studied History at Goldsmiths, London, before becoming a cop in the north west of England. He then let his passion for writing allow him to follow a career in journalism. Now a full time writer, he first cut his literary teeth penning episodes of the British TV crime drama, THE BILL, and has written extensively in the field of children’s animation. However, he is probably best known for his work in thrillers and horrors.

His crime debut novel, STALKERS, was a no 1 ebook best seller in 2013 and introduced DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg. This was followed last July 2013 by the sequel, SACRIFICE, and May 2014 by the third in the series, THE KILLING CLUB. The fourth, DEAD MAN WALKING, will follow in November 2014, with the fifth, HUNTED, in February 2015. The Heck series is also to be published in Germany, Poland, Turkey, Hungary, and Japan.

In addition to his Heck novels, Paul has had twelve books and nearly 300 stories and novellas published on both sides of the Atlantic. His first collection, AFTER SHOCKS (Ash-Tree Press), won the British Fantasy Award in 2002, while he won the award again in 2007 for his novella, KID. Later in 2007, he won the International Horror Guild Award for his mid-length story, THE OLD NORTH ROAD. His short novel, CAPE WRATH (Telos), was short-listed for the Bram Stoker Award in 2002, and several other collections of his stories and novellas have been published since, all of them well received by fans and readers. His horror novel, STRONGHOLD, was published by Abaddon Books in 2010, and the same year Pendragon Press published his highly rated festive terror tale, SPARROWHAWK. Paul has also written three DR WHO audio dramas for Big Finish – LEVIATHAN, SENTINELS OF THE NEW DAWN and HEXAGORA, and THRESHOLD, the pilot episode for the DR WHO spin-off series, COUNTER MEASURES. Paul’s DR WHO novel, HUNTER’S MOON was published by BBC Books in 2011.

Paul is no stranger to film either, having written scripts for several horror movies. Two of these, SPIRIT TRAP and THE DEVIL’S ROCK, were released in 2005 and 2011 respectively, while his short story THE BELFRIES, is currently being adapted in Hollywood, and his movie script WAR WOLF is under development by Amber Entertainment.

Wearing an editor’s hat, Paul is also responsible for the TERROR TALES series from Gray Friar Press, a collection of ghost and horror anthologies exploring the folklore, history and geography of the various regions of Britain.

Paul Finch lives in Lancashire, UK, with his wife Cathy and his children, Eleanor and Harry.




2 thoughts on “Book Review: Strangers, by Paul Finch #Strangers

  1. Great review.I like book that keep me up late at night though not on work nights lol.This seems pretty good though and I like the idea of a female serial killer too.I’ll be adding this to my TBR.


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