Friday, 14 April 2017

Ashes to Ashes by Paul Finch
Series:  Detective Mark Heckenburg #6
Release Date: 6th April 2017
Publisher: Avon
Genres: Crime / Thriller

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…

Well what an explosive book and a complete baptism of fire into the world of Mark Heckenburg or Heck as he's known! Not having read any of the previous books in the series I was a bit dubious about whether I'd be able to jump straight into this. I needn't have worried of course as it was not necessary at all to have read the other books, though I might go back and do so as this one was so great! I've raved so much about it at home that my husband practically grabbed the book out of my hands the minute I finished it so it looks like we might have another Paul Finch fan in the house! And, I've found a copy of Hunted, book 5 in the series sitting on my bookcase! Hooray!

The book jumps straight in with a gory double murder right in Bradburn, Heck's home town and somewhere he'd rather forget. As if that wasn't enough to deal with, Heck is on the trail of ruthless torturer for hire John Sagan. What should have been a simple operation to arrest him goes badly wrong and Heck is on the move to track him down. Can Heck reconcile his past in order to do his job effectively? And, will he ever become a team player in time in order to catch the two murderers?

This book has it all....... murder, a sadistic killer for hire, gangland wars, gangsters, prostitution, dodgy informants and police officers trying to fight a losing battle to stop it all. And of course, at the heart of it all is Heck! He is a bit of a loner, preferring to work on his own and not rely on anyone. This gets him into trouble on numerous occasions, particularly with his commanding officer, and ex girlfriend Gemma who is a total hard ass and I loved her! I love the fact that Paul Finch has some really strong women characters in this book who aren't afraid to give an ass kicking when its called for. I even liked the dodgy police informant prostitute! A very complex and interesting character.

Ashes to Ashes was action packed throughout and barely gives the reader a chance to catch their breath before throwing something else at them. Its exciting, violent and a little bit gory at times. Murder and torture is a gruesome business after all. I don't often call a book a page turner but this one definitely was and I'm wondering if anyone has approached Paul Finch about tv or movie rights yet because they really should! Not a book for anyone who likes their detectives fluffy and wholesome because Heck is definitely not that. A great cast of characters this is a highly recommended read.


Sagan twirled around.

Heck scampered down the last couple of steps and veered sideways. Sagan strode back, shooting from the waist like a character out of a western, working the slide again and again, pumping fire and shot. Heck scuttled and crawled, but found no more cover than bits of rubbish and sprigs of weed.
At which point a third party intervened.

‘Drop it!’ came a fierce female voice. ‘Do it now, or I’ll shoot you, you bastard . . . I swear!’
Heck glanced up, to see a short, shapely figure in jeans, trainers, an anorak and a chequer-banded police cap, circling around from behind the van, her Glock trained with both hands on the back of John Sagan’s head. The gunman froze, the shotgun clasped in his right hand, his left held out to his side.

‘I mean it, you dickless wonder!’ the girl cop shouted in a ringing northern accent. ‘Drop that weapon now, or I’ll drop you!’

Heck’s mouth crooked into a smile as he rose to his feet. It was Shawna McCluskey.
Someone had heard his frantic transmissions after all. And if anyone had, he ought to have realised it would be his old mucker Shawna, who’d started off with him all those years ago in the Greater Manchester Police.

Sagan remained rigid. From this distance, his face was unreadable. Dots of yellow street-light glinting from the lenses of his glasses gave him a non-human aura. His right hand opened and the shotgun clattered to the floor.

‘Keep those mitts where I can see ’em!’ Shawna shouted, approaching from behind. ‘You all right, Heck?’
‘Never better,’ he called, dusting himself down.

‘Kick the weapon back towards me,’ Shawna said, addressing Sagan again. ‘Backheel it . . . don’t turn around. And keep your hands spread where I can see them . . . in case you didn’t realise it, you lowlife shithead, you’re under arrest!’

Sagan did exactly as she instructed, the shotgun bouncing past her and vanishing beneath the van. Now Heck could see him more clearly: his black overcoat, a black roll-neck sweater, black leather gloves, black trousers and shoes, his pale face, the thinning fair hair on top, and those gold-rimmed glasses. Yet still the killer was inscrutable, his features a waxen, sweat-soaked mask.
‘DC McCluskey on a lorry park off Camberwell Grove,’ Shawna said into her radio. ‘One in custody. Repeat, one in custody.’

But only now, as she angled around her captive, did Heck spy the possible danger.

Her Glock was trained squarely on Sagan’s body, but side-on, the target’s width had reduced and Sagan’s left hand was suddenly only inches from the muzzle of her weapon – and it was with this hand that he lunged, slapping the pistol aside, and in the same motion, spinning and slamming his other hand, now balled into a fist and yet glittering as if encased in steel – a knuckleduster, Heck realised with horror – straight into Shawna’s face. 

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