Wicked Game – a fresh and distinctive novel from Matt Johnson, a brilliant new name in the world of thrillers

A warm welcome to my blog

The above header is a quote. It isn’t something I would write about my own work, and a couple of years ago, not something I would ever have thought to be written about me. And yet, it was.

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Wicked Game was my first novel. It came into existence almost by accident. Woven from notes made as part of my treatment for PTSD, it was first released on Kindle as a self-published work early in 2012.

Then, in 2015, the rights to Wicked Game were acquired by Orenda Books of London. Orenda assigned an editor to work with me to produce an improved and polished version of my original work. It wasn’t easy re-visiting the text that had been part of a healing process to try and put my health problems behind me but it proved to be worthwhile.

Not long after publication, Wicked Game was long-listed by the Crime Writers Association for the 2016 John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award and at the end of 2016 it was listed by Amazon as the highest-rated debut novel of the year.

In 2018, in a WH Smith poll of readers, I was voted #22 in their top 100 best-ever crime writers. Now that was something of a surprise!

Wicked Game has now been followed by Deadly Game (2017) and End Game (2018). The e-books of all three are available now from all e-book outlets. The paperbacks are available from Waterstones, WH Smith, Hive and through many independent bookshops. The audio books are also available thanks to W F Howes direct, or through Amazon as a CD or to download.

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My fourth book, Crow 27 is available here.

A brief synopsis of all three can also be seen by clicking on ‘The books‘ tab above or on this link.

My newsletter can be signed up for here. It will contain news on new books, competitions and events and, possibly, some extracts from future works.

If you are keen to read how writing helped my PTSD, click here for my blog post on the subject and here for a recent Daily Telegraph article on my journey from PTSD to publication.

“Terse, tense and vivid writing.  Matt Johnson is a brilliant new name in the world of thrillers. And he’s going to be a big name.” Peter James, International best-selling crime thriller novelist and author of the ‘Roy Grace’ novels.

Yes, that is the Peter James. You can imagine how I felt when I received the email from him.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes says of Wicked Game “From the first page to the last, an authentic, magnetic and completely absorbing read.”

“…imagine a book with the realism of Ryan & McNab [and] the story telling of Patterson…”  Amazon review May 2013.

“Matt Johnson has stepped into a very busy genre but has come up with something fresh and distinctive. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I look forward to getting to know more about Robert Finlay”  Goodreads 2013.

Now, can I ask a real favour.

Using the ‘buttons’ just below this text, you can ‘tweet’ the book for me and/or ‘like’ my facebook page. It’s a favour, I appreciate that, but it’s a few seconds of your time that help me to gauge how well this website is received. dsc_9306

And, if you go on to read the book, please do take a few minutes to review it through your favoured retailer. Genuine feedback is a real shot in the arm to an author and helps to keep us focussed and on task. 

Many thanks for taking the time to read this. Hope you enjoy the books.

306 thoughts on “Wicked Game – a fresh and distinctive novel from Matt Johnson, a brilliant new name in the world of thrillers

  1. Hi Matt
    I’m gonna look & check out for your first book in the next week or two. Your book review sound’s great like. All the best & cheers!


  2. Just finished reading the book – absolutely fantastic! A roller coaster ride from start to finish. Very authentic too!

    Definitely looking forward to the sequel.

    Well done Matt!


  3. Matt – you have an enviable gift that you have used exceptionally well.
    This is one of my Top 5 debut novels of all time! Which considering I have been reading the likes of Stephen King, Stephen Leather, James Ellroy, Carl Hiaasen, James Lee Burke, Robert Crais – and even Stuart McBride (because he’s Scottish, Local and absolutely hilarious!) for as long as I can remember, you are in esteemed company!

    I thoroughly look forward to the follow-up… 🙂


  4. Matt….you write from the heart! Very personal story written with talent and compassion that draws your readers in to……..a sequel? Great work!


  5. reading wicked game again and just gets better resonates with me on so many levels you have a very personal style that captures the reader from the start to the finish. Marcus


  6. Hi Matt. Really enjoyed this book. Excellent story, well written and more realistic than the usual ‘hero’ type book. Emotionally exhausted..phew :).

    Looking forward to the next one.


    • thanks Wendy, did you post a review on Amazon for me, they are an important aid to potential readers
      Have a look back through my most recent posts on this blog, I did one on sequel progress. First draft is nearly complete, but that still means several months of work after proofing, editing etc. Not easy this bookwork.


  7. Hi Matt! Thanks for inviting me to read your book by the way! Unfortunately, I have not read it yet 😦 BUT I will definitely buy it at the nearest book store! The plot is interesting. Cannot wait to read it! Good luck on your upcoming works, Matt, and keep on writing! 🙂


  8. Matt,

    Wow!.*Wish you all the best with your new novel, it sounds amazing . You must do a book signing at “.Bookends “.in Ridgewood NJ . Last week Hillary Clinton was there . All famous writers , actors etc go there . Will this book be at Barnes and Noble in NJ?


  9. I downloaded this book to read on the beach on holiday. I started it the day before flying out and just finished it at 2am. Guess I’ll be doing more swimming later on today instead of reading. Excellent book. Current Copper & ex RAF.


  10. I have had the pleasure of befriending Matt whilst on-going in my own life challenges. I will admit I’m not the fastest reader and to read a book seems more of a challenge then some of my extreme challenges I partake in BUT I was thrilled page by page and have enjoyed each twist and turn in this exciting tale… Matt has brought to life the story in perfect order and I promise you; you’ll enjoy it from cover to cover. I am now a lifelong fan… and a newly converted book reader due to Matt – don’t just take my word.. read it yourself


  11. This is the best book I’ve read in a long time, I was gripped throughout! When is your next book out? Can’t wait to read more of Finlay!


  12. I came across your very interesting article in Cervus. I looked you up and found this website. I was at Pinner County from 1963-71. So great to see other ex-pupils have achieved extraordinary success like writing a best seller!


  13. Hi Matt,
    Just finished End Game! What am I going to do now?? Seriously, it was a great read, moved along at a cracking pace throughout and I thoroughly enjoyed it, like I have the whole trilogy. The problem is now that you have crafted these beautifully defined characters and folks like me will want more of them! I’m sure a wordsmith like you could create further adventure for Findlay and co.?
    Best wishes with whatever you decide to write .


  14. Hiya da Matt will check you out on Amazon and put an order in I’m a fan of action drama CR and AMc hogging my shelf let’s see if there’s room for you!!


  15. I’m also done.
    I’m done being complained about for doing my job, on the say so of a criminal. I’m done being called a liar at court when I am there to give corroborated evidence, in the pantomime that is a modern day court. I’m done with everything being in fairness to the accused giving no thought to the fairness of the victims.
    I’m done with the violence directed towards me just because I wear a uniform. I’m done with having knives, broken bottles swords and bats swung and stabbed at me. I’m done with being assaulted to have the charge plea bargained away to make it easy for the PF. I’ve had a gun pointed at me at work have you??
    I’m done having health and safety quoted to me when I’m the guy running towards the raging person armed with the knife, what colour jacket or type of goggles should I wear for that??
    I’m done with the scare mongering and hatred perpetuated by the press/media, I’m done with the parents telling their children stop that or that policeman will take you away. I’m not something for children to fear, they should trust me to come and tell me something is wrong to feel safe in this world. I am someone who criminals should fear as a deterrent to stop crime. I’m done with being a police service and not a police force, where children throw bottles and bricks with impunity with their middle fingers up to the world.
    I’m done having no rights when everyone else has them all. I’m done being scrutinised by senior staff, who have little knowledge of the actual job we do, taking all day to analyse every decision I make often with seconds to make them. I’m done trying to keep up with the constant changing policies procedures and targets. I’m done with being told there are no targets and then asked for my returns and stats to be judged when my numbers don’t reflect my “non” targets. I’m done with “positive” discrimination, where as a white heterosexual male I’m passed over for an ethnic minority, female or LGBTQQIPAA officer based solely on public perception and for fear of complaints. What happened to the best person for the job/role? Stop discriminating anyone just be fair transparent and respectful to all, isn’t that our mission statement??
    I’m done with sitting at court all day never to give evidence and be told its not going ahead. I’m done standing at a locus for a shift or longer without break or care given. I’m done with the police fudging figures to skew public perception. An assault is an assault and a sec 38 is a sec 38. The later is not subsumed by the former to bring down crime figures. Scottish crime reporting standards you say…. very low standards indeed in my opinion!
    I’m done being judged by the public based on what they see in other countries, I am not a racist because an officer in a far of land did some horrible act. I’m disgusted along with you. I’m not a cop I’m a British/Scottish Police Officer, something I am immensely proud of given we are deemed one of the least corrupt law enforcement agencies in the world, but you think otherwise.
    I’m done being the last port of call, dumping ground and whipping boy of every other service, I’m done being a social worker, marriage councillor, suicide intervener, parenting advisor, mental health worker, carer, taxi driver, security guard, teacher, child’s entertainer, drug councillor, baby sitter, civil dispute administrator and must know everything oracle. I’m a police officer pure and simple.
    I’m done being a firefighter when they are on strike ushering the green goddess about with my 4 fire extinguishers to squirt at the fire, I’m not highly trained nor equipped. I’m done being an ambulance driver because they have no-one left, a police van is not an ambulance and I’m not highly trained or equipped.
    I’m done with having my terms and conditions changed without consultation or agreement with no means to defend myself. To be told the law was changed to allow the government to change my pension without my consent is sickening and immoral, and we thought phone providers changing contract prices halfway through was bad…
    I’m done with not having the right to strike, a fundamental human right to withdraw labour, am I not a human?? Certainly not treated as one! Irish and Dutch officers have won their right to strike back maybe it is our time next??
    I’m done with the smell of death lingering for hours after dealing with some poor sole. I’m done with the harrowing scenes of children and loved ones screaming, sobbing, thumping the ground uncontrollably at the sight of a killed relative. I’m done with attending fatal Road accidents, industrial accidents, suicides to literally pick up the pieces to have no support, no time to recover, no care or compassion shown to me.
    I’m done with missing countless important birthdays, Christmases, graduations, weddings because of staffing shortages preventing my time off being granted.
    I’m done with weeks on end with no breaks or food or having to eat between calls due to call levels and lack of personnel. I’m done with officers happy to hide in offices with imagined issues and playing the system getting paid the same as me to do nothing but add more pressure on those of us with work ethic. Give them a job indoors as civilians as they are not police officers and are a drain on the public purse.
    I’m done with poor quality equipment, standing at the road side waiting for the AA instead of attending the emergency I was en-route to, all because my car has seen 150,000 Miles of hard use. Being unable to broadcast over a temperamental radio to get assistance or carrying heavy ill-fitting body armour causing lifelong pain.
    I’m done not being able to do my job properly due to all of the above.
    I’m done.


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