Cover Image: The Killing Choice

The Killing Choice

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

A dramatic and twisty thriller with intriguing themes of morality and guilt

Karl Suleman and his daughter Leah meet up in Crystal Palace Park for an after-work curry on a Friday night, when they are ambushed by a knife-wielding figure in a mirrored mask. The assailant offers Karl a choice – leave his daughter to be raped with a promise she will survive or stay and they will both die. Karl chooses to run – with devastating consequences. The shocking case is assigned to DI Alex Finn, still grieving from the death of his wife Karin a year ago, and DC Mattie Paulsen, who herself is struggling in her personal life with her father’s ill health. It is not long before more seemingly unconnected individuals across London start being offered similarly impossible choices, and the team must rush to find the connection between them which will lead them to the attacker before more families are torn apart forever.

This was a gripping and exciting thriller that starts with a bang and keeps up the fast pace throughout its complex and unpredictable plot. The villain of the story’s unique way of targeting victims added originality to what might otherwise have been a run-of-the-mill murder mystery, and the method of forcing victims to choose their fate has the effect of similarly forcing the reader to confront their feelings about what choices they might make in similar circumstances. The story also touches on themes such as the dangerous influencing power of the media, gang warfare in London and difficult family relationships, and has several emotional side plots, particularly those involving Finn’s bereavement and Paulsen’s unwell father, which are written sensitively and add to the story without distracting from the main theme. The conclusion comes as a surprise with an unexpected twist, and the author does a good job of sprinkling clues and red herrings throughout the story which builds up the tension to a dramatic finale.

My main issue with this story would be with the main characters. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel DI Finn and DC Paulsen were quite as engaging or well fleshed out as other leads I have come across in similar novels although they were both still likeable characters. This is the second book in a series and having not read the first, I didn’t feel as connected to or as invested in them as perhaps I would have done, which slightly reduced my enjoyment of reading about their efforts on the case and their life challenges. Also, other than the antagonist, many elements of the plot felt quite familiar and it was slightly heavy in tropes that are overused in police novels – an emotionally distant protagonist who buries himself in his work, difficult interactions with vulture-like press and pressure from above despite budget cuts being a few examples. However, despite this, the story still worked as a standalone high-quality crime thriller.

In conclusion, this was an engaging and enjoyable book that I would recommend to any fans of the police or crime genre. I would be keen to read more by this author and would certainly be interested in seeking out this story’s predecessor.


Elite Reviewing Group received a copy of this book to review.
Was this review helpful?
Wow!  I loved this book which is the second in the series with DI Alex Finn and DS Mattie Paulsen.  I have not read the first book but that did not inhibit my enjoyment of this.

Karl Suleman is walking with his daughter to go to a restaurant for dinner when he is confronted by a character in a weird outfit – the face completely covered by a mirrored mask.  He demands that Karl make a choice, either walk away from his daughter  or stay and he will kill them both.  It is made clear that the intention is to rape the daughter.  At her insistence Karl leaves them and runs away – to try and get help.  He hears his daughter’s dying scream.

As the plot unfolds we see others subjected to this difficult dilemma – leave your loved one, or stay and both will die.  As each crime unfolds the police are left to find what motivates the killer and what is the connection between the victims.

This well-written and well-structured novel leaves the reader contemplating the position of the victims – the question “what would you do – what is the right thing to do?”  A really lose-lose situation.

I have no hesitation in recommending this thought provoking, thriller.

Thank you to the author,  publishers and NetGalley for providing an ARC via my Kindle in return for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I really enjoyed it as, for me, it has everything I look for in a police procedural crime thriller.  Set in London, the ‘Killing Choice’ is when seemingly unconnected people are approached by a masked knifeman who forces them to make an agonizing choice regarding their loved ones and this compulsive story develops around that.

This is an intelligently written, well-paced, terrific story which grips from the start and kept this reader riveted until the end.   The very well drawn characters of DI Alex Finn and DC Mattie Paulsen, the relationships within the police team and the realistic dialogue, are one of the many strengths of this book. The personal lives of the officers feel real, add interest to the story and enhance your understanding of the characters.

As this is the second book featuring Finn and Paulsen, I now need to read the first, The Burning Men. I’ve added Will Shindler to my ‘must read’ list of crime writers.  I also think this would make a brilliant TV series and definitely look forward to reading more from this author.

I would like to thank the publisher Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for an ARC of this book, this is my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is a wonderful addition to this thrilling series!
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believable.
Great suspense and action with wonderful world building  that adds so much to the story.
Such a thrilling read that I couldn't put it down.
Can't wait to read more of these.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own honest voluntary review.
Was this review helpful?
A great story and a gripping thriller that kept me on the edge.
It's fast paced, full of twists and turns and the character are well developed and interesting.
The author is an excellent storyteller and this is an excellent story.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
Was this review helpful?
Alex Finn is a  D.I. still grieving for his dead wife,  his  concentration is perhaps not what it should be, and his behaviour is sometimes a cause for concern amongst his colleagues, so when he's given the task of tracking down the murderer of a young woman, in circumstances that are beyond evil,  he seems to come in for extra scrutiny. When a second murder takes place, with the murder victim being 'chosen' by someone who loves them and Alex focuses on particular event that ties the two murder victims family member together,  he knows he's on to something but other people don't necessarily agree. When an attempted third murder takes place it's obvious he's on the right tracks and he is able to solve the case. I enjoyed this book but felt it lost some of the impetus as it went on - I'd had my suspicions and guessed who the murderer was long before they were exposed. It's a good read but ultimately I think it's a forgettable one.
Was this review helpful?
A complex and compulsive second installment in the DI Alex Finn police procedural series.  A worthy follow-up to 'The Burning Men', with a "what would you do?" in that situation scenario.
A father and daughter are confronted in an empty park by a masked assailant holding a zombie knife.  The father is given the impossible choice, stay and they both die or go and they both live but his daughter will be raped.  An intriguing and captivating tale.
Was this review helpful?
Stop everything - this book is the epitome of a page-turner.  From page 1 to the end you just want to find out who, why, what.  A truly excellent, and horrific, book.  The crimes are unbelievable, but also believable!!  What would you do given that choice, which is no choice. Very realistic, not gratuitous.  Very well written, and keeps one engaged to very end.

With thanks to Hodder & Stoughton, and NetGalley for an ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Part one of this series which came out last year was one of the stand out novels of the year for me, especially as a debut book, so when I spotted book two I was desperate to be approved. Thank you so much to the publishers for your generosity, I have not been disappointed.

Detective Finn is still struggling with the loss of his wife and often hears her voice advising him on how to get on and live life to the fullest without her. Some days he listens, other days are harder and because of this her best friend has been despatched to try and help get him back in the swing of things again. All this is background though, but helps him understand the lives of Isiah and his 2 young lads who are trying to keep going after losing their wife and mum suddenly. The relationship between dad and the older lad has pretty much broken down and the younger lad is testing the boundaries of growing up.

Finn and his sidekick are called to the brutal murder of a woman in controversial circumstances. Her father allegedly left her in the hands of their attacker in order to get help but things took a horrific turn instead.  This is the start of an apparent serial killer spree in London and it needs Finn & Paulsen to get on top of things quickly to stop any further killings.

With knife and drug crime rife in the area Finn needs to follow the clues but is someone deliberately leading them in the wrong direction or is his gut instinct right? Nothing lead me to work out who -dunnit, I was not even close so well was the trail set.

I really enjoyed trying to work out whether this was gang warfare gone wrong, drug dealers crossing over territories or a completely separate serial killer at work. But why does everything keep coming back to the same common denominator on a derailed train?

Great characters, plenty of depth to the plotting and realistic crime scenes all the way. Plus it will make you ask yourself what would you do in that situation?
Was this review helpful?
Excellent psychological thriller with a unique plot where the killer gives the choice to be killed or to kill another. Good strong characters and a ending I didn't seem coming!
Was this review helpful?
I read, reviewed and loved Will’s debut novel, featuring Detective Inspector Alex Finn, called ‘The Burning Men’ and I literally couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of his second book.  Well ladies and gents the wait is over, because ‘The Killing Choice’ was released on 11th February 2021.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Killing Choice’ but more about that in a bit.
I fell under this book’s spell the moment I picked it up and read the synopsis.  It seemed lie the book had developed a hold over me and it was a hold that I wasn’t willing to break.   I picked up my copy of the book only intending to read a couple of chapters to make a start on the story.  That was fatal because I ended up becoming so wrapped up in the story that I read more like a dozen chapters in one go.  I found ‘The Killing Choice’ to be an addictive read and my copy was certainly well travelled as I took it everywhere with me.  I couldn’t bear to miss a single second of the story in case I missed out on a vital clue or piece of evidence.  It got to the stage where I couldn’t turn the pages quick enough in my desperation to find out how the story concluded, whether Finn made it to the end of the book in one piece and if the perpetrator was apprehended.  I found this to be a superb read, which kept me guessing and which kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.
‘The Killing Choice’ is superbly written.  Will certainly knows how to instantly grab your attention and draw you into a complex story and investigation.  For me, the story started with a bang and in such a way that will stick fresh in my memory for a long time to come.  The story hit the ground running and maintained a fast pace throughout.  There were several twists and turns to this story- none of which I saw coming.  Reading ‘The Killing Choice’ was much like being on a scary and unpredictable rollercoaster ride with moments that left me speechless (a rare occurrence).
In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Killing Choice’ and I would have no hesitation in recommending the book to other readers.  I can’t wait to read more of Will’s work in the future.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.
Was this review helpful?
A series of very strange murders has DI Finn and his team stumped. They know the same killer is involved but what do the victims have in common. It will take a lot of man hours before the slightest link can be found.
This is an original if slightly convoluted plot which kept me rapt for several hours and delivered a conclusion that left me stunned. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
Was this review helpful?
The Killing Choice is the second instalment in the Detective Inspector Alex Finn and Detective Constable Mattie Paulsen series, set in London. It felt like any other evening before Karl Suleman and his daughter, Leah, who were out on a father/daughter date night at a London restaurant were ambushed by a figure in a blank mask armed with a zombie knife. It isn't really as unexpected as knife crime should be given London is the capital of such crime, but this is no ordinary stabbing. A knife is put to Leah’s throat, and Karl is forced to make an impossible decision. Stay and they both die, or walk away and take this thug’s word that they will both live once he's had his wicked way with Leah and raped her. Should he trust a villain and leave his daughter with a knife at her throat? Could he ever live with himself if he did? His daughter urges him to leave and so he runs despite the overwhelming confliction and desperately searches for help before the faceless figure can maul her. Karl has trouble accepting what he did that day, as does his wife, but this is exactly what the emotional terrorist wants; for his victims to feel endless guilt, to tear themselves apart from the inside out and for it to rip their families to shreds, too - relentlessly asking the question - what if? Ruminating on the choice he was offered and the decision he made, the inner turmoil repeats over and over destroying a little part of him each time. And that's before considering the killer had been lying.

It’s not long before more seemingly unconnected and innocent people across London are offered a deal in exchange for their life. More blood is spilled, more families shattered, and more people are left to suffer with the consequences of their decisions. DI Finn, DC Paulsen and DS Jackie Ojo investigate and wonder if these strange and brutal crimes are somehow related to a turf war with rival drugs gangs but there's no concrete evidence. Can they discover what links the chosen victims before the violence rages out of control? This is a riveting, terrifying and refreshingly original thriller and one that has you asking yourself what you would do if you were given an almost impossible choice like this. This is no ordinary killing spree as the serial killer seems to get off on people's terror, indecision and knowing that the victim will play the question and answer they made that day over and over until it quite possibly destroys them. It's sick, unsettling and deeply disturbing and one of the most scintillating crime reads of the past few years. This is a fast-moving, twisty read but it also considers deeper topics such as love, grief and mental health. Protagonist Finn’s work is now being impacted by the death of his wife, Karin, 11 months earlier and his struggle to cope is all too real. This is a complex, captivating and compulsive multilayered thriller offering so much more than your average crime novel. Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
An excellent sequel and continuation of what is shaping up to be a really good series. The characters are really starting to come into their own and the investigation hooked me from the very start until it’s thrilling climax. Will definitely be adding to my “must read” list..
Was this review helpful?
The Killing Choice is the second in the DI Alex Finn series, following on from The Burning Man. It can happily be read as a stand-alone, though I’d urge you to read The Burning Man as there will be character progression cross the series and it’s always good to get in early. I believe this is a series that will stand the test of time as the characters are grounded in reality and Shindler’s sense of place is excellent.

Karl Suleman and his daughter Leah are on their way to a father/daughter date night at a London restaurant when they are ambushed by a lone figure with a strange, faceless visor, who is armed with a zombie knife. London is of course, the capital of knife crime and when the masked figure gives Karl a choice – leave and I’ll rape your daughter or stay and I will kill you both, Karl looks at his daughter who urges him to go and so he runs, looking for help in the hope that he can get it for Leah before the masked figure does his worst.

Haunted with guilt, Karl has difficulty coming to terms with the choice he was offered and the decision he made. Nor can his wife understand it. DI Alex Finn and his colleagues DC Mattie Paulson and DS Jackie Ojo investigate. Is this case somehow related to the problems they have been having with rival County lines drugs gangs which are prevalent on the housing estates in their patch? Turf wars are reaching new heights and violence is spilling into the streets.

Then another family is targeted and another choice is offered. DI Alex Finn is struggling. Though his team has his back, he knows he’s not operating at his best and worse, his boss knows it too. Struggling with the death of his wife Karin,  Finn’s thinking is clouded and he knows he should be spotting connections between the victims and their families but he just can’t get his head in the right space to think clearly.

Mattie Paulson takes more of a role in this book and it’s good to understand a bit more about the team and its individual players. She has her own troubled past and now new family troubles to deal with and we see her trying to deal with these family issues at the same time as she is trying out a new aspect of the job; being a family liaison officer where she can’t allow her emotions to come into play. Mattie’s always been a bit of a loner and this job is not really in her comfort zone. The press is having a field day, passing judgement on Karl for making his choice and Mattie who is not really comfortable where she isn’t wanted, finds herself second guessing her own actions and wondering what she could have done differently.

Paulsen and Finn have each other’s backs, but both find themselves struggling somewhat in a story that is all about family and the choices we make and how easy we all find it to pass judgement on others.  

Meanwhile, in the South East London Hope Estate the drug wars continue and as Finn struggles to see what connection with drugs if any there might be, another struggle is playing out between Isaiah Sims and his sons Hayden and Michael.

Shindler paces the book really well enabling the tension to build as the murders continue and the team, desperate to stop them, search for answers while not seeing or understanding where the connection and motivation lies.

Verdict: Well plotted with nicely drawn characters who feel believable, this is a tense and twisting novel that strikes just the right balance between plot and character, resulting in a well-honed book that captures the imagination and holds attention. Most enjoyable.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley and The Publisher for this eARC in exchange for an honest review

It's official. I'm hooked. I've just added another detective series to my list. I loved this so much. The second outing for DI Alex Finn was a blinder and that's even with, in my opinion, an obvious flaw in the plot. Page turning, jaw dropping, full of tension. Kept me guessing, for both the suspect and motive, until the end. And captured the essence of London perfectly. As  long as they keep coming, I'll keep reading them.
Was this review helpful?
My thanks to NetGalley and publisher Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC.
This is the second book in the DI Alex Finn series and such a fabulous twisty read.  A real page-turner with an unusual storyline, and surprises, as Will Shindler weaves a complex web of red-herrings up to the very end.

As Karl Suleman and daughter Leah stroll through Crystal Palace Park on their way to a restaurant Leah is seized at knifepoint by a masked attacker and Karl is given a devastating choice - walk away or they both die.  Desperate to get help Karl does just that, leaving Leah to her fate.  A decision which haunts him, and his wife - how could he do that?  Well, Karl has some secrets he needs to protect, especially when he receives taunting messages from the killer.

Thinking this could be some kind of initiation rite connected to a notorious drug-swamped estate, DI Finn and DCI Mattie Paulsen take an interest in the County Lines gangs operating there.  Then Jo Corcoran is confronted and given the impossible choice - your mother or your boyfriend and the team need to start looking at any connections between the victims - are the victims the targets or are the people having to choose, and live with that choice, the real targets?

This is so well-written with really good characters you can relate to and good dialogue.  Finn's back-story continues as he struggles to come to terms with his wife's death less than a year previously - intermittently hearing the departed Karin giving him advice.
Looking forward to the next one!
Was this review helpful?
Very interesting idea behind this plot. Who would you chose. I don't think any of us would like to be faced with such an impossible choice. I thought this was interesting and kept me guessing. Bit different from a lot of thrillers and definitely well worth a read.
Was this review helpful?
4.5 stars rounded down to 4

DI Alex Finn #2

Karl and his daugher Leah were ambushed by someone wearing a mirror mask at knife point. Karl is forced to make an     impossible choice: stay and die or leave Leah behind and take the thugs word that they both will live.

Finn and Paulson are investigating two similar murders. A rapist is making the fathers of girls choose whether to walk away and leave their daughters or both of them will die. Leah has tried to persuade her dad to run, but things went wrong and Leah was killed. Not only is Karl now being haunted by the press and drowning in guilt, he's also recieving threatening messsages from the killer. I thought the first book in this series, The Burning Men was a great read but this book is better. There's plenty of twists in this intriguing plotline where all of the characters are flawed. This is a cleverly written story that had me gripped. This book/could be read as a standalone.

I would like to thank #NetGalley, #HodderStoughton and the author #WillShindler for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Another brilliant read by Will Shindler! I can see this is going to become one of my favourite series!
I like the style of writing and the story keeps you engaged from the go. The characters are well developed and the ending is a big surprise!
This is the second book in the DI Alex Finn series but you don't have to read the first one to enjoy this book. 

"Some moments carve themselves into the memory, the decisions you make shaping the scars they leave behind."
This sums up the book in one sentence. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion
Was this review helpful?