Thrilled to host a stop on the blog tour for ‘The Hunting Ground’ by Will Shindler today. Huge thanks to Jenny at Hodder for the opportunity to join and for the feb review copy!
Author : Will Shindler
Title : The Hunting Ground
Series : DI Alex Finn #3
Pages : 360
Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date : February 3, 2022
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Sadie Nicholls has been found dead, brutally and strangely murdered, in her South East London flat. Her little boy is missing.
DI Alex Finn and DC Mattie Paulsen know that, in the case of a missing child, it’s the first 24 hours that count. They don’t have many left to find out where Sadie’s son might be and the identity of her killer. Why would anyone want a struggling single mother, loved by many, dead?
But when they realise a similar crime was committed at the same house nearly 20 years ago, a question is on everyone’s lips: is this more than just a coincidence?
| MY THOUGHTS |
I have said it before but I’m going to say it again, for those in the back who didn’t hear me properly the first time. I really didn’t need another crime fiction series in my life as I was having a hard enough time keeping up with the ones I was already following. But then Will Shindler happened and I haven’t looked back since. Because this is an author with that particular je-ne-sais-quoi that somehow lifts a crime fiction book to a completely different level and as the youngsters say : I’m here for it. (Can’t pull that off, can I? Moving on!)
‘The Hunting Ground‘ is the third book in the DI Alex Finn series. Answering that age-old question first, yes you can read this as a stand-alone. But no, you really shouldn’t. The case may be a new one but the personal matters some of the characters deal with are not. While they are mentioned, I think it’s way better to get to know these characters from the very beginning and truly understand how they ended up where they are now. (Also, when I finally rule the world there will be a law against starting a series in the middle!)
The body of Sadie Nichols is discovered in a flat in a street in South East London. Her little boy is missing. The clock is ticking to find little Liam and the team know fully well the first 24 hours are the most crucial in a case like this. But where to even begin? Sadie was well loved in the neighbourhood so who would want to harm her or her son? During their investigation, DI Alex Finn and his team discover there has been a similar murder at this same flat, albeit it decades ago. Coincidence or not?
As I’ve become used to from Will Shindler there is such an incredibly perfect balance between the case that is being investigated and personal things the team are dealing with. If you’ve been following this series, then you know Alex has been struggling to pick up the pieces of his life after his wife passed away. By now, as the reader, I have become utterly invested in his life so to see him sliding down this slippery slope of devastation is hard to watch. Grief and loss are everywhere in this story. From the family of the murder victim to Finn to DC Paulsen, who, through the eyes of one of the residents in Sadie’s street catches a glimpse of what her life might look like in the near future after her father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
This is another thing Shindler does so well. The stories in this series are never just about crimes to be solved. They are hugely thought-provoking, often along the “what would you do” route, and things are no different in ‘The Hunting Ground‘. The murder of Sadie Nichols and the disappearance of her son isn’t the be all and end all. There are plenty of other things happening in this street where some of your neighbours are most definitely not your friends. Secrets and lies, racism, judgemental views and a bunch of men I’d quite happily take a baseball bat to. I’m sorry, did I say that out loud?
Another utterly compelling and addictive addition to this absolutely fantastic series. It’ll make you think, it’ll make you angry, it’ll make you sad. I had no idea who killed Sadie, or who took her little boy, or why. In all honesty, I wasn’t even really trying to figure it out as I was quite happy to let this author and these characters take me wherever they wanted to take me. True to form though, there is devastation and heartbreak and that odd feeling of not quite loathing a perpetrator. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?!
I’m not entirely sure what’s next for Alex Finn but I sure hope we don’t have to wait too long to find out. In the meantime, you can make space on your shelves for these books if you haven’t done so already. I’m so glad I did back when the first book landed in my lap because, in my most humble opinion, this is one of the best crime fiction series out there.
| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |
Will Shindler has been a Broadcast Journalist for the BBC for over twenty-five years, spending a decade working in television drama as a scriptwriter on Born and Bred, The Bill and Doctors.
His time on these leading prime time dramas has given him a rich grounding in authentic police procedure, powerful character development and gripping narratives.
He currently combines reading the news on BBC Radio London with writing crime novels and has previously worked as a television presenter for HTV, a sports reporter for BBC Radio Five Live, and one of the stadium presenters at the London Olympics.