The Burning Men by Will Shindler | Blog Tour Review | #TheBurningMen

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Available in ebook, Hardback (6 February 2020) | Paperback (3 September 2020)
352 pages
Source: Copy for review provided by publisher


Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham, Peter James and Peter Robinson.

When a development in South London catches fire mid-construction, a close-knit team of fire fighters runs in to save a man spotted at the window.

They come out without a body. They quit the service. They plan never to speak to each other again.

Five years later one of them is set alight at his own wedding. Soon after, a second is found, nothing but a smoking corpse. It appears that someone knows what they did that night. What they chose over their duty. And there are still three men left to burn . . .

DI Alex Finn and his new partner DC Mattie Paulsen are an unlikely pairing, but they need to discover who is behind these killings before the next man faces the fire.

This is first in Will Shindler’s Finn and Paulsen series – a British detective series that ranks with Mark Billingham, M.J. Arlidge, Stuart MacBride.


The Burning Men is a debut and the first in a crime series featuring DI Alex Finn and DC Mattie Paulsen.  If this first book is anything to go by, this is going to be an exciting series to follow.

This story features a group of former firefighters.  Five years previously, a group of them entered a burning building under construction, having seen a man at a window.  They came out without a body and it was presumed the man had died.  All the fireman retired soon afterwards and went their separate ways.

The police get involved five years on when one of the fireman is burned to death at his wedding. He will not be the only one and the police must figure out what really happened, especially when a link shows from a historic case.

It’s fair to say that DI Alex Finn is not at the top of his game here. His wife Karin has only just died and it is thought that maybe he has gone back to work too soon. He is paired up with a new addition to the team, DC Mattie Paulsen, a transfer from another station.  Mattie clearly has trauma issues from her previous case and doesn’t make any effort to fit in. Aside from the fact that he is grieving, Finn doesn’t seem to be a stereotypical policeman, he is quieter and more studious and being sociable doesn’t come naturally. Hopefully they can overcome their difficulties when working together as this partnership could be very interesting to watch, particularly if both of them are working to their full crime solving potential .

With the story involving two police forces, this series gets off to a great start  It has a fast pace and a complex and intriguing plot involving several different strands. The deaths were shocking but not gratuitously described as much of this was only seen from the investigation perspective. The tension of wondering who was going to be next on the killer’s list, and the how, was superbly executed.

The Burning Men is a thrilling and suspenseful read with twists and surprises all the way through and oh my. That ending! I had to read it again just to make certain I had read it correctly!  It was one of those books that I couldn’t wait to get back to and I’m so pleased to be in at the beginning as this is a series that I will definitely want to follow.

My thanks to Jenny of Hodder & Stoughton for the invitation to take part in the tour and for providing the review copy.


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. The Burning Men is his first novel.

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