Monday, 6 February 2017

Death Games, by Chris Simms - a review

The Blurb
 Manchester: an injured survivor from a motorway pile-up flees the scene, leaving behind evidence that a terror attack is being planned…

Jon Spicer, newly trained as a Specialist Firearms Officer, has joined Manchester police’s Counter Terrorism Unit. Thrown out of his previous department and demoted to Detective Constable, he is being kept in the force only because he’ll take on the most dangerous of jobs.

Iona Khan is struggling to find respect and recognition in the male-dominated Counter Terrorism Unit. Her mind might be sharp, but many of her colleagues value physical strength above anything else.

As the investigation quickly snowballs, Spicer and Khan are thrown together. The two officers must learn to trust each other – and fast. Because in this chase, any wrong move could be your last.

The Review
Death Games is Book 8 in the Jon Spicer series, which makes its freshness all the more impressive. The novel starts with a bang - literally - a motorway pile-up just outside Manchester - and the pace doesn't let up for a single second. Simms eye for detail is astounding. The level of detail in the book is of such a high level, I was convinced he must have served in Northern Ireland at one point, had surely been employed as a member of the Counter Terrorism Unit at another stage in his career, and most likely had spent many years in North Wales due to his intimate knowledge of the geography. But no. Reading up about Chris Simms, it seems none of these are true. This book shows what a writer can do with diligent research, intelligently implemented.

As one must expect from a character leading the line in his eighth outing, Spicer is very well drawn. I love his humanity, and the enigmatic way in which Simms alludes to his history. In fact every character in this book is as solid as can be, and every character has a role to play. The sign of a writer in full control of his craft.

The writing itself fits the genre superbly. It is muscular, and has real energy. The interactions between the characters are fully realised within a plot that is tight and realistic.

Chris Simms is a writer of genuine pedigree. In 2007, he was selected as a Waterstones Author for the Future’ and his novel Savage Moon was shortlisted for the 2009 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. Simms has also been described as "one of the best of the new generation" by The Guardian.

In Death Games, Simms has penned a hugely enjoyable, contemporary thriller that I cannot recommend highly enough.

Death Games is available from Amazon UK here and from Amazon US here 

 Chris Simms was born in 1969 and grew up in rural Sussex. After graduating from Newcastle University, he worked in a variety of jobs before landing his first publishing contract with Random House for OUTSIDE THE WHITE LINES. This was followed by another dark psychological thriller, PECKING ORDER. Chris then moved to Orion where he commenced the DI Jon Spicer series with KILLING THE BEASTS. This was followed by SHIFTING SKIN, SAVAGE MOON and then HELL'S FIRE. In 2007 Chris was selected by Waterstone’s as one of their, "25 Authors for the Future"; one of twenty five writers tipped by publishers, editors and agents, "to produce the most impressive body of work over the next quarter century".

For all things Chris Simms, pop over to the official website at

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