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, wonderful blog you have here. hope your books will reach singapore. glad you’ve found your own way of dealing with PTSD. cheers mate!


  2. Hi Matt,

    Haven’t read the book yet but I will soon.

    As a frustrated, aspiring writer with a not too dissimilar background to you, I was wondering if you’re ever available to speak about writing either by phone or in person?

    I appreciate you probably get a few requests like this so I understand if its not something you can do.

    Either way, I’ll let you know what I think of the book when I read it.

    All the best,



  3. Good luck with your career as an author you’re a very talented writer. Glad you’ve found a way to help cope with ptss. Look forward to ur next novel.


  4. I must be the only person on the planet to not own a Kindle, a Nook, a Smartphone, etc! Thankfully my neice does and Matt..AMAZING work!! Writing is excellent therapy, and one you have true talent for. I can’t wait to see what you write next!! So when I buy the actual books you will sign them for me?


  5. I look forward to getting my hands on this book. The so often overlooked selfless service of our Police can’t be highlighted enough. This sounds right up my street! 🙂


    • Hi Sally, glad to see you got this to work. Yes, an interesting life, at the time I didnt realise it was giving me memories and experiences that I would one day turn into books. Now, I am thankful it panned out as it did. Enjoy the read. Matt J.


  6. I collect your book on Monday . Can’t wait to read it . I have mental health issues too from my army days .I am on top of things now and its great .


  7. Popped by from Twitter. An inspirational life story. Will think of you next time I hop on the back of our Suzuki Bandit 🙂 I look forward to reading the book.


  8. Love a good book… Although it was the dive picture that caught my eye I may have stumbled upon my new favourite author…. Looks to be great reading so I’ll download it and leave you a review… Wishing you much success.


  9. Hi matt, im going to get this book and have a good read. I was looking at writing after afghan last year, I still have nightmares etc as you well understand and I want to put pen to paper, even just for myself to get out what is in my head, sometimes I find it hard to explain or comprehend and if it works for you then what do I have to lose. Thanks


    • Ok, first things first. If you choose to do this, make sure you have some experienced guidance while you do. It is a process that can work, but can also evoke unpleasant memories. How it worked for me is that it enabled me to focus the jumbled thoughts going through my mind. Half my problem was that I had so many confused feelings and emotions that my brain couldn’t cope and would, a bit like a pc, freeze up or crash. A bit like doing a clean up of my hard disc using the defrag programme, I found that writing things down created harmony where there had been conflict and order where that had been confusion. Sometimes the process was upsetting, but it helps to identify triggers that you learn to avoid, and it worked. But, what I would say is that PTSD never goes away completely, but you can learn to control it rather that have it control you. Good luck Peter.


  10. I really enjoyed the book. I found the subject matter interesting and believable. I enjoyed how it changed from being written in the first person (the main character) to the third person for other chapters. It gave the book depth and built up a good story that may not otherwise have developed in the first person.

    The only part I didn’t like was the ending although it served it’s purpose.

    I’d definitely read any other books that you might write 🙂


    • Many thanks Anne. What is quite amazing is that this comment arrived just as I was about to email my prospective agent with a 3rd person viewpoint version of the novel! Literally, just as I was logging on to send it. Quite remarkable. The 1st person writing was personal and drew on personal experience, so that’s why I used that form, but I am aware that others have felt that the jumps from 1st to 3rd person view have sometimes been a little confusing for the reader.
      The agent was of the opinion that the story was great but would flow more easily if it were entirely in 3rd person view. Having now done as requested I tend to agree with him… time will tell.
      On the subject of the ending, well it’s not actually the end. WG will be the first of a trilogy. I have the full story in note form, book 2 is half way to completion.
      If you have a moment to review the novel on Amazon and Goodreads that is always helpful.
      Many thanks for your feedback.
      Matt J.


  11. Hi Matt, The book sounds great, I need to order a copy. I look forward in reading it as I’m a PTSD sufferer myself from the forces.
    Good luck for the future.


  12. Hi Matt
    I loved the book I stopped up till 1.30am just to finish it. It was so gripping. I hope writing is helping with PTSD. I don’t think people appreciate how many are suffering with PTSD. I wish you all the very best. I’m eagerly waiting for the sequel. Best wishes Maxine.


  13. Hi Matt, thanks for the follow 🙂
    Have not got your book yet!! But I will be picking it up in the morning whin in Southampton.

    And will let you know when read!!!


  14. Sounds great read bud… Will download this weekend. PTSD is a nasty after affect that I couldn’t possibly try to understand. It’s good to see someone like yourself bringing this to the fore. Good luck and keep up the great work.


  15. Just got your book, Matt, so I’m looking forward to reading it. The reviews look great so I think I’m in for a treat. Good luck with writing career!


  16. Good evening Matt
    My days on a Yamaha 250RD gave me an excellent grounding to drive Rally Cars! Too old for ‘gravel rash’ have decided to stick to cars. Scuba Diving is good for the soul, been diving since I first joined the Royal Navy at 15.5 years of age! Hopefully you will be as successful as my old boss ‘Paul Henke’ at writing!
    Take care and good luck with the book (s) might download it for the Mrs!
    Stay Safe
    Neil ‘George’ Sowerby


  17. Matt, I have just finished the book and it was real page-turner. I couldn’t put it down! Excellent story, lots of twists and turns, great atmosphere and description. I particularly liked the links to the weather, storms etc. The thing I really liked was that it was so unpredictable ~ no stereo-typical violence from the main character ~ and really quite credible. Many thanks indeed. Looking forward to your next offering!


  18. thanks Lyn, if you could write something like that on the amazon review section for me that would make my day. I was listening to a radio interview with an established author talking about how hard it is to write the sequel once a debut has been received well. It is very hard! It raises your personla bar in terms of standards, grammar, spelling, plot, characters, story and readability etc. I’m 62K words into it now, enjoying the story and, as with WickedGame, looking forward to having people read it. Feeling the pressure though.


  19. Hi, book sounds great. I will def read it. Character sounds like me! Ex army, currently a detective in met police…who has subsequently had his own counselling!! very similar, I very much look forward to the read.


  20. HI! Book looks great!! I Downloaded it for my Nook… Can’t wait to read it!
    PS. New on twitter, don’t really know what I’m doing there, will try to figure it out… but in meantime wanted you to know I will spread the word!!


  21. Hi Matt, liking the blog and am going to download your book for my husband as looks just his kind of thing. But, I will also read it as like to test my ‘comfort zone’ when it comes to books every now and then. One question, did you self publish?


  22. Hi Matt. thanks for tehe follow on Twitter…i don’t have your book yet, but i will buy it very soon on amazon.fr. (well, i’m french)….the story seems exciting , so i can’t wait for readiong it! i will come back to ya with a review after reading it!


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