Series: Robert Finley
Book Number: 3
Read this book for: spy thriller, police thriller, this time it’s personal, long story arc, politics and intrigue, department vs. department
Quick Review: Taut, twisting, and superbly constructed, this instalment is a must-read for any thriller fan who loves a complex plot that will keep you guessing.
Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settle 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 Ton Fellowes to find out who’s behind the conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals 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.
END GAME is the third and final instalment in the twisting Robert Finlay thriller series by former officer Matt Johnson, and feels like the most polished novel in the set. It’s a perfect conclusion to an excellent and intricate story with all the best elements of modern thrillers fused in a new and interesting way.
This series follows ex-SAS member turned Met detective Robert Finlay as he deals with both the emotional consequences of his past in the military, and the people from that time who are trying to keep him out of the way of their dangerous schemes. With a heightened sense of realism born of author Matt Johnson’s own service, this series skillfully blends military, spy and police elements to create a new breed of fast-paced thriller. END GAME is the third novel in the series (check out the reviews for WICKED GAME and DEADLY GAME), and it ties off the various threads of the previous novels. It is absolutely imperative to have read the other novels in the series — but it is worth spending the time catching up!
Johnson ratchets up the tension and pacing in END GAME as he plunges Finlay into a continuation of his adventures. This definitely seems like the most polished of the three novels, with impeccable, break-neck pacing. Not a moment goes by without a significant development, and all Finlay’s skills are put to the test. Johnson does a wonderful job of bringing together the various threads and characters to a satisfying conclusion.
This series is notable for the brilliant way that Johnson combines various types of thrillers into something that almost feels like a political thriller in its intelligent, winding complexity and duplicity. Johnson weaves together the action and combat of a military thriller with the sneaky scheming of a spy thriller and the whodunnit and chase aspects of a police thriller to create something unique. It’s smart, sharp, and keeps you guessing, with enough twists and turns to make even the regular thriller reader happy.
Johnson also crafts very human, interesting characters. Not a single one seems to be defined by their role; instead they are all chasing their own goals, with their own interesting quirks and flaws. You genuinely find yourself rooting for them, and I’d love to see them reappear in another story.
END GAME is the ideal conclusion to a wonderfully crafted and unique series. If you have even a passing interest in thrillers, this is absolutely a must-read set.
(And to find out more about Matt Johnson and his approach to writing this series, click here for a Q&A he graciously participated in for the second novel, DEADLY GAME.)