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John Sagan is a forgettable man. You could pass him in the street and not realise he’s there. But then, that’s why he’s so dangerous. A torturer for hire, Sagan has terrorised – and mutilated – countless victims. And now he’s on the move. DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg must chase the trail, even when it leads him to his hometown of Bradburn – a place he never thought he’d set fo John Sagan is a forgettable man. You could pass him in the street and not realise he’s there. But then, that’s why he’s so dangerous. A torturer for hire, Sagan has terrorised – and mutilated – countless victims. And now he’s on the move. DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg must chase the trail, even when it leads him to his hometown of Bradburn – a place he never thought he’d set foot in again. But Sagan isn’t the only problem. Bradburn is being terrorised by a lone killer who burns his victims to death. And with the victims chosen at random, no-one knows who will be next. Least of all Heck…


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John Sagan is a forgettable man. You could pass him in the street and not realise he’s there. But then, that’s why he’s so dangerous. A torturer for hire, Sagan has terrorised – and mutilated – countless victims. And now he’s on the move. DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg must chase the trail, even when it leads him to his hometown of Bradburn – a place he never thought he’d set fo John Sagan is a forgettable man. You could pass him in the street and not realise he’s there. But then, that’s why he’s so dangerous. A torturer for hire, Sagan has terrorised – and mutilated – countless victims. And now he’s on the move. DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg must chase the trail, even when it leads him to his hometown of Bradburn – a place he never thought he’d set foot in again. But Sagan isn’t the only problem. Bradburn is being terrorised by a lone killer who burns his victims to death. And with the victims chosen at random, no-one knows who will be next. Least of all Heck…

30 review for Ashes to Ashes

  1. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Back to being hooked by Heck then - and I STILL need to catch up on the first books in this series - I came in at book 4 and immediately purchased books 1-3 and now after this thrill ride I'm eyeing them up and wondering if I can ignore what I'm supposed to be doing today... Anyway, in Ashes to Ashes, Heck is about to have to go home - but first he has a massively heart stopping confrontation with a violent dangerous man - Sagan - torturer and enforcer, about to become nemesis, so before you even Back to being hooked by Heck then - and I STILL need to catch up on the first books in this series - I came in at book 4 and immediately purchased books 1-3 and now after this thrill ride I'm eyeing them up and wondering if I can ignore what I'm supposed to be doing today... Anyway, in Ashes to Ashes, Heck is about to have to go home - but first he has a massively heart stopping confrontation with a violent dangerous man - Sagan - torturer and enforcer, about to become nemesis, so before you even can take a breath you are thrown around wildly like the plane has just lost pressure. Talk about easing you in gently...or in the case of Paul Finch hitting you over the head with a mallet and dragging you kicking and screaming down the street (you'll go willingly) Ashes to Ashes is an electrifying ride, hot hot hot (yes as well as Sagan there is an anonymous someone who has a flame thrower and isn't afraid to use it) but also a cleverly plotted crime drama and a masterful character piece - Heck's ongoing personal life is full of intrigue and genuine reality, then you have the investigative side which is never anything less than gripping. Yes there is a lot of violence and the author pulls no punches - if that sort of thing bothers you just don't read this - but for me it adds to the authenticity, realistically torture and murder which do sadly happen in life are never going to be prettily puppies and kittens related, so you just have to go with the flow. And it is a beautifully addictive flow too - didn't take me long to bang out this read, I could barely put it down once I picked it up, something that happens when I read this author hence I'm somewhat of a fan. More Heck please. Just for the heck of it... Recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Best Crime Books & More

    At last Heck is back, or if you want to be specific Detective Mark Heckenburg is back. I am up to date with this series and was looking forward to this, the sixth in the series. Heck is back in London and it seems he is on the trail of a torturer for hire who goes by the name John Sagan. However, before long Heck has to chase the tail which leads him up North to his home town of Bradburn. The interesting thread here was Heck's family, or lack of it, should I say! It certainly added another dimen At last Heck is back, or if you want to be specific Detective Mark Heckenburg is back. I am up to date with this series and was looking forward to this, the sixth in the series. Heck is back in London and it seems he is on the trail of a torturer for hire who goes by the name John Sagan. However, before long Heck has to chase the tail which leads him up North to his home town of Bradburn. The interesting thread here was Heck's family, or lack of it, should I say! It certainly added another dimension to the story which made me all the more intrigued. As usual Heck is as insubordinate as he can get away with and constantly goes with his own rules and subsequently irritates all his superiors. Thankfully it's one of his traits that make him all the more likeable. Once set up in Bradburn, we are introduced to his uncle as well as a former school friend. Slowly the elements of his personal life are revealed giving the reader an insight into how he ended up as a copper in London. With regards to the psychotic Sagan they are chasing, it seems he has become a ghost, however what he does throw into their path are some high ranking members of a couple of Northern Gangs. This in turn leads to the other thread to the story which is where it all began, with a killer whose choice of weapons is a flamethrower who has been nicknamed 'The Incinerator'. Be prepared for plenty of graphic, gory and violent scenes all which made me cringe, which in turn made the book that shade darker than usual. This certainly isn't a book for the faint-hearted, but that sort of stuff never fazes me too much it just puts a slightly different spin on the story for me. The story line itself wasn't my favourite of this series but the personal elements certainly made it more interesting. As usual Paul Finch skills as an author leave you wanting more and sure enough by the time I had finished I was already wondering when the next book would be out. Another cracking read but not my favourite in the series!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Ashes to Ashes – Heck Just Gets Better Detective Sergeant Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is back and is really facing death in the face, as he looks at the remnants of his family. Paul Finch gives us the another outing for Heck, moving the action from London, to his nemesis home town in Greater Manchester. Once again Finch delivers on all levels with Ashes to Ashes, keeping you guessing and involved from beginning to end. Heck and his team from the Serious Crimes Unit are on the hunt for one of the most u Ashes to Ashes – Heck Just Gets Better Detective Sergeant Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is back and is really facing death in the face, as he looks at the remnants of his family. Paul Finch gives us the another outing for Heck, moving the action from London, to his nemesis home town in Greater Manchester. Once again Finch delivers on all levels with Ashes to Ashes, keeping you guessing and involved from beginning to end. Heck and his team from the Serious Crimes Unit are on the hunt for one of the most unremarkable, boring looking men in London. John Sagan is a forgettable man, you would never notice him. He does have a side line in torture and execution for hire for whoever has the most money. Nobody is quite sure how many he has killed. When an operation goes wrong, and a colleague is killed, Sagan is on the run and headed north. They get a tip off that he is in the town of Bradburn part of the Greater Manchester conurbation. The problem for Heck is it means going home, to a town he fell out of love with, along with his family twenty years before. With those that remember him, he will not be popular. What Heck at the SCU did not expect was to walk into the middle of an underworld war, and where someone is using a flamethrower to kill people. It looks like a young whippersnapper is trying to usurp Manchester kingpin Vic Ship with all the weapons he can muster. It is Heck that goes toe to toe with both sides and that may just backfire. To solve the case, he may endanger his life and that of his uncle, but at what cost? You could see the symbolism of the flamethrower being a cleansing agent, but is it really? Bradburn is being cleansed but at what cost to the town? Finch’s prose brings light even in the darkest moments of this thriller, and with a pace that makes you turn the page. The worst part of this thriller is that it comes to a close eventually.

  4. 4 out of 5

    ReadsSometimes

    Ashes to Ashes (DS Heckenburg, #6) by Paul Finch BLURB: John Sagan is a forgettable man. You could pass him in the street and not realise he’s there. But then, that’s why he’s so dangerous. A torturer for hire, Sagan has terrorised – and mutilated – countless victims. And now he’s on the move. DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg must chase the trail, even when it leads him to his hometown of Bradburn – a place he never thought he’d set foot in again. But Sagan isn’t the only problem. Bradburn is being terrori Ashes to Ashes (DS Heckenburg, #6) by Paul Finch BLURB: John Sagan is a forgettable man. You could pass him in the street and not realise he’s there. But then, that’s why he’s so dangerous. A torturer for hire, Sagan has terrorised – and mutilated – countless victims. And now he’s on the move. DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg must chase the trail, even when it leads him to his hometown of Bradburn – a place he never thought he’d set foot in again. But Sagan isn’t the only problem. Bradburn is being terrorised by a lone killer who burns his victims to death. And with the victims chosen at random, no-one knows who will be next. Least of all Heck… MY THOUGHTS: I must say, it was great to get back with Heck. And his escapades are getting crazier and crazier. He's up against an extremely evil killer this time, very nasty! The energy and the pace of the book keep everything very alive. I'd say high octane crime thriller written with passion and verve. I've always admired Paul's writing and this certainly hits the spot. High-end British crime fiction. Brilliant!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    It’s always great to discover a new author, especially one that has a great series to catch up on. This book was part of a series, which I haven’t read yet- but it has sparked my imagination to buy the other books. The characters are well drawn and a brilliant if very violent story line. It quickly draws you in and makes you reluctant to put the book down.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty ❤️

    Thanks to netgalley's free ARC I now have another author where I need to go track down their back catalogue. I really liked this book. Despite the blurb above a lot of the action is centered around two rival Bradburn gangs. Normally I hate gang crime novels but when you throw in a torturer for hire on the run, a crazy Russian and a flamethrowing serial killer you tend to stop grumping about the underlying drugs war being carried out. Seriously this book packs a lot of action in. There's car chase Thanks to netgalley's free ARC I now have another author where I need to go track down their back catalogue. I really liked this book. Despite the blurb above a lot of the action is centered around two rival Bradburn gangs. Normally I hate gang crime novels but when you throw in a torturer for hire on the run, a crazy Russian and a flamethrowing serial killer you tend to stop grumping about the underlying drugs war being carried out. Seriously this book packs a lot of action in. There's car chases, shoot outs, renegade cops. For me I felt it was a novel of what would happen if New York was moved to Manchester. The same gritty feel and high drama but don't forget to stop for tea and fish and chips! (I'm from Yorkshire - this is not a negative point...) Even though this is Book 6, as a first timer it's an ideal read as the return to Heck's hometown reveals a whole backstory that plays into the rest of the novel. We find out why he's a cop, why he has very little links to family and what drives him. There's a lot of character development in this book. Also a good thing. The pages fly by very fast. The story is set over a couple of weeks & it's nearly 500 pages long but it takes no time to read the book. Every character had their own unique character and something I always like is to see/read the strong female ones and here we have two both senior to Heck and both very good at their jobs. Excellent book and can't wait to get the chance to go back and read the others.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susan Hampson

    Oh wow I just feel like I have been to Hollywood because this is such at action packed thrilling Block Buster book! Talk about when the heat is on, phew, there is a relentless unstoppable killing machine on the rampage with a deadly flamethrower and mercy is not in their vocabulary. This is a wicked character that I was uncertain if they were the hired help, revengeful or just got off on it. One thing for sure was once they got their target there was nothing going to stop them. This killer didn' Oh wow I just feel like I have been to Hollywood because this is such at action packed thrilling Block Buster book! Talk about when the heat is on, phew, there is a relentless unstoppable killing machine on the rampage with a deadly flamethrower and mercy is not in their vocabulary. This is a wicked character that I was uncertain if they were the hired help, revengeful or just got off on it. One thing for sure was once they got their target there was nothing going to stop them. This killer didn't know the word collateral damage they were so mind set. Gruesome, most definitely, terrifying, I still haven't come out, would I recommend it, Oh hell yes! I was more than happy when Mark Heckenburg, or Heck arrived, what a character he is. Not what you could call a team player, he is more than unconventional in his approach to get a result, love this character. In this book though he is drawn back to his home town of Bradburn where he has to work through his own ghosts from the past. Could John Sagan, normally on hire to the highest bidder for his skill of torture and execution to cause a prolonged and painful death, be the man Heck is after? There is only one course of action, to enter the gangland world of drugs and prostitution to find out. The body count can only increase until the puzzle is solved. There are some super strong female characters in this book too both of higher rank than Heck neither of them really able to control him, but it is fun to read about. I especially like Superintendent Gemma Piper, former girlfriend of Heck way back in earlier books. So although this can be read as a stand alone there is of course history about key players that you will miss out on. The whole series is worth reading. Although this is a very graphic and violent novel there is some humour woven in amongst it all, just brilliant. I loved every page I turned in this book that gave me a flamethrower serial killer that was as unstoppable as Jason Voorhees (Friday 13th), and a car chase that would be the envy of The Fast and Furious.  This is book 6 in the series and each one superb!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Tomasso

    6/4/17 Ashes to Ashes ***** I would like to thank Netgalley and Avon Books for an advance copy of Ashes to Ashes, the 6th outing for Detective Sergeant Mark "Heck" Heckenburg. Heck gets a tip from an informant that a previously unknown gangland torturer, John Sagan, is living and working on his patch. Efforts to catch him go disastrously wrong but all is not lost when they get a further tip that Sagan is working in Bradburn, Heck's home town where a gang war is about to erupt after several members 6/4/17 Ashes to Ashes ***** I would like to thank Netgalley and Avon Books for an advance copy of Ashes to Ashes, the 6th outing for Detective Sergeant Mark "Heck" Heckenburg. Heck gets a tip from an informant that a previously unknown gangland torturer, John Sagan, is living and working on his patch. Efforts to catch him go disastrously wrong but all is not lost when they get a further tip that Sagan is working in Bradburn, Heck's home town where a gang war is about to erupt after several members have been killed by a man with a flame thrower. Ashes to Ashes is a compulsive read with a bit of everything thrown in - action, violence, cop humour, some of Heck's backstory and sadness as well. As I have read all the novels in the series I'm not best placed to say if it works as a standalone. The plot is self contained so it should work but I'm unsure if new readers would feel the need to know Heck better before getting all his backstory, which I found very interesting and illuminating. As always Heck is off piste and playing the lone wolf, always in bother for disregarding procedure with his boss (and ex girlfriend) Detective Superintendent Gemma Piper and a magnet for trouble. He should probably be dead after all the beatings and near death experiences but to paraphrase he gets knocked down but he gets up again. Highly unrealistic but great reading. The big message in the novel is the devastation caused by drugs, not just to the user but their families and to society in general. Mr Finch does an excellent job of portraying this devastation, be it the petty and not so petty crime committed by the users and suppliers or the disintegration of the family unit when asked to cope with a user. It makes for difficult reading in parts. Ashes to Ashes is a high octane novel with plenty of action and some really good twists which I have no hesitation in recommending as a really good read for the broad minded.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I love this series!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Book Addict Shaun

    It seems live forever since I last read a DS Mark Heckenburg novel and so I was beyond thrilled when it was announced that Paul Finch would be returning to this character and I am once again well and truly Hooked on Heck. I have to say that I think Paul is one of the darkest crime writers writing in the UK today, his work at times reminds me of Chris Carter in just how brutal some of his bad guys are, and the ones within the pages of Ashes to Ashes are perhaps some of the worst. He clearly isn't It seems live forever since I last read a DS Mark Heckenburg novel and so I was beyond thrilled when it was announced that Paul Finch would be returning to this character and I am once again well and truly Hooked on Heck. I have to say that I think Paul is one of the darkest crime writers writing in the UK today, his work at times reminds me of Chris Carter in just how brutal some of his bad guys are, and the ones within the pages of Ashes to Ashes are perhaps some of the worst. He clearly isn't afraid to write about the absolute worst of humanity, but to do so in a totally believable way rather than a sensationalist way. In Ashes to Ashes we have two bad guys. One is torturer for hire John Sagan, who on the surface is an Average Joe but who in reality drives around in a pimped up caravan, it just so happens that the pimping up has turned the caravan into his very own torture chamber, and it sounds terrifying. Heck is part of the team tracked with following Sagan and hopefully finding this caravan and bringing him to justice, Sagan's not soft though and manages to escape from the police barely leaving Heck alive and the investigation soon finds him returning to a place he thought he would never go back to again, his home town of Bradburn. Bad guy number two is also residing in Bradburn and it's someone who the press has nicknamed The Incinerator because somebody is going around Bradburn setting people on fire, seemingly at random and for no good reason whatsoever. Safe to say that Heck has more than enough to contend with without battling his inner demons at returning to his hometown. I love Heck. I've said it before and I've said it again but he really is a fantastic character and one that I could never tire reading about. One of my favourite things about him is his relationship with his boss (and ex) Gemma Piper and she comes along for the ride up to Bradburn and once again there's some fantastic scenes between the pair. An author has done their job when everything about two characters is utterly believable, and when the tension between them can be felt on the page with neither of them speaking, just the descriptions from the author. Gemma herself is a fantastic character and the relationship between these two is just so intriguing. He's a police officer that doesn't abide by the rules, but for the most part he has always done it for the right reasons, and for me it says more about the politics of policing and the rules officers must follow rather than Heck just being a tear up the rulebook police officer just for the sake of it. There's always reasons behind why he does what he does and this is what sets him apart from your typical fictional detective who goes renegade just because it's the done thing in this genre. I love London and often dislike it when an author who has previously set their books there takes their character away to somewhere else. But, Heck's job now sees him moving around the UK and this time around he's returning to Bradburn. Paul's created a fantastic and totally believable setting in Bradburn, it being the kind of place found right across the North of England and it being one of the places that the inhabitants of Manchester push to the back of their minds when they are singing about Scousers signing on when they visit Liverpool and Anfield stadium. It's a gritty setting perfectly imagined for the story that unfolds within, and what an immensely gripping story that is. The scenes following The Incinerator were some of the most uncomfortable to read, and yet I just couldn't take my eyes off the page of read quick enough. It left me wondering just who could have the kind of hatred within them to carry out something like this. In John Sagan also, the reader is left wondering just what type of mind a person could have to torture people in the way that he does. Lucky enough it's up to Heck and not the reader to work all of that out. Ashes to Ashes isn't a short book, however I absolutely stormed through it and found the pages just flew by. This is because of Paul's ability to really lure you in as a reader, and to hold you there in a vice like grip with some of the best storytelling, and some of the best examples of policing that you will find on the UK crime fiction market today. It should be said that you do need a strong stomach to read this book, and it is an extremely dark and twisted crime novel. But, if you enjoy those types of books then you will love this one. I absolutely loved learning more about Heck's background, and seeing how he manages to deal with these personal issues alongside protecting the public and bringing down some truly nasty individuals. Paul Finch is one of the UK's best crime writers, and despite however many books he sells I still feel like he's quite an underrated author as I know of quite a few crime fans who are yet to pick up one of his books and all I can say to that is you aren't a crime fan until you have read one of Paul's books because they are some of the best you will find within the genre. I absolutely loved this book and my only disappointment was when I reached the end.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Ashes to Ashes is uncompromisingly grisly, releasing fearsome opponents from every conceivable angle. Its furious, intensely violent encounters creep a little close to home for our rebellious hero who relies on gut instinct, backed up by a wing and a prayer. Make no mistake there is colossal damage to the surrounding area, people, vehicles and Heck’s career. The only thing that remains unscathed is his reputation for ignoring authority. This is the sixth outing featuring DS Mark (Heck) Heckenburg Ashes to Ashes is uncompromisingly grisly, releasing fearsome opponents from every conceivable angle. Its furious, intensely violent encounters creep a little close to home for our rebellious hero who relies on gut instinct, backed up by a wing and a prayer. Make no mistake there is colossal damage to the surrounding area, people, vehicles and Heck’s career. The only thing that remains unscathed is his reputation for ignoring authority. This is the sixth outing featuring DS Mark (Heck) Heckenburg. After previously reading Dead Man Walking and Hunted, I’ve come to love our impulsive but highly effective copper for all his wilful and often brutal techniques, which may be frowned upon but they get the job done and ultimately save the day. He has a shameless disregard for the official rules but he seems to scrape by without a reprimand while he successfully manages to wind up the top brass who may be used to supervising the loose cannon but regularly lecture him on his conduct and preference for solo policing. His responses to the dressing downs he receives only enforce his maverick streak. There’s no doubting that it’s through Heck’s exploits the team he works with will reap results. Even if his methods are erratic and unorthodox, and his expertise of recognising opportunities then launching into an unrehearsed counter attack lands him in highly compromised positions. Yep. Our DS ‘Hecks up’ occasionally as he rendezvous with dangerous individuals, capable of much more than your average criminal in uncomfortable surroundings. Preoccupied with following a lead he casually forgets to check in with the station or mention a crucial meeting / conversation he might have orchestrated to gee the investigation up. The criminal underworld is throwing itself into your path in this one: a torturous renegade with a mobile ‘office’, a merciless serial killer with a pyromaniac streak, and two extensive rival gangs engaged in a hostile turf war in Heck’s home town of Bradburn. The ever-increasing number of charred crime scenes left me wondering who would be last man standing as I revelled in the extreme thrills that unfolded. There are some punishing situations with a direct connection to Heck and I have absolutely no idea how he retains the will to live, never mind walk! His resilience is just a fragment of his appeal and during this outing I learned how his family influenced his determination to succeed, but not in the way I was expecting. It made a nice change to be treated to a fleeting glimpse of something other than his tough, wise-guy exterior. The author makes full use of urban landscapes creating a macabre playground for some ‘killer’ games, and Ashes to Ashes has all the intensity that unrestrained action and carnage could possibly deliver. (My thanks to both the author and the publisher for kindly sending a copy of this title. It was my pleasure to read this book and provide an unbiased review.)

  12. 4 out of 5

    ~ Cariad ~

    Bloody hell! This series is fantastic!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    A fast paced crime thriller which doesn't leave you much time to catch your breath between the episodes of grizzly violence that takes place throughout the book. DS Mark Heckenburg is sent to join a task force to sort out gangland crime in his old home town in northern England. It's is a town that he hasn't been back to for many years and it holds many bad memories but few friends. This is the sixth in the series and I enjoyed it just as much as the other books. It could be read as a stand alone A fast paced crime thriller which doesn't leave you much time to catch your breath between the episodes of grizzly violence that takes place throughout the book. DS Mark Heckenburg is sent to join a task force to sort out gangland crime in his old home town in northern England. It's is a town that he hasn't been back to for many years and it holds many bad memories but few friends. This is the sixth in the series and I enjoyed it just as much as the other books. It could be read as a stand alone but in my opinion you would be missing out if you didn't start from the beginning. Thank you for the ARC, a great read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Helen Fields

    Paul Finch is an exceptional author. The action never stops, and the pages keep on turning. It's a masterpiece of suspense building. What a great read. Paul Finch is an exceptional author. The action never stops, and the pages keep on turning. It's a masterpiece of suspense building. What a great read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Voluntarystress

    I received this book in Kindle form from Netgalley in return for an honest review.. I requested it because I have enjoyed previous books in this series, in particular the lat one, ”Hunted” which I quickly reread to reacquaint myself with the books. But sadly I had to use huge determination to finish this latest book. I’m afraid that this time it turned out to be not my sort of story. For the last quarter I just wanted to over use a red pen on it. I’m thankful it wasn’t a paper copy or I might ha I received this book in Kindle form from Netgalley in return for an honest review.. I requested it because I have enjoyed previous books in this series, in particular the lat one, ”Hunted” which I quickly reread to reacquaint myself with the books. But sadly I had to use huge determination to finish this latest book. I’m afraid that this time it turned out to be not my sort of story. For the last quarter I just wanted to over use a red pen on it. I’m thankful it wasn’t a paper copy or I might have broken my firm rule never to deface a book. This one opens with a blast of a first chapter and then goes on to the sort of chase and shoot out, seemingly unrelated to the preceding chapter, that one normally expects at the end of this type of novel . Anything else, I thought has to be an anticlimax. Not a bit of it. We had so many bodies by the end I’d lost count. There were numerous car chases, two different heart in mouth foot chases down back alleys in the northern town of Bradburn where most of the action is set. There were burned out cars and buildings, not to mention the bodies inside. There was even another fast foot chase down some World War Two air raid shelters. And of course there were shootings, the author keen to show off his knowledge of many different types of guns. How the hero, Sergeant Mark Mecklenburg (Heck), kept getting up and dealing yet more lethal blows and was then ready to move on to the next mad chase or assault must defy medical science. And with all this action the ending would need to be even more spectacular. It was a truly horrific burning and desecration of the local Catholic Church, involving yet more bodies. Basically it’s a tale of gang warfare with the usual drugs, prostitution and other racquets that will make money thrown in. There are also a couple of super vicious characters hired by each side. The National Serial Crimes Unit, based in London, is sent north to Bradburn to sort it all out. The town, by sheer coincidence, just happens to be Heck’s home town, which of course has very unhappy memories for him. Queue back story. Heading the team is his former girl fiend, Superintendent Gemma Piper and we have to understand that the attraction, though denied, still exists. Much as I dislike criticising an author’s work, this one was definitely not for me. At times it veered on the barking mad. Hopefully if there is another book in the series it will return to some sort of sanity.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Plum-crazy

    A good read with all the elements I enjoy: some gruesome killings & a maverick I-do-things-my-way cop to solve them. Heck certainly has no qualms about taking on the bad guys in ways less orthodox than a DS should in order to get results. This story sees Heck & co on the trail of John Sagan, a non-descript looking man who has a nasty side line as a torturer for hire. Info leads to Heck's home town, currently in the midst of a drugs gang war & also with a lone killer on the loose..."The Incinerato A good read with all the elements I enjoy: some gruesome killings & a maverick I-do-things-my-way cop to solve them. Heck certainly has no qualms about taking on the bad guys in ways less orthodox than a DS should in order to get results. This story sees Heck & co on the trail of John Sagan, a non-descript looking man who has a nasty side line as a torturer for hire. Info leads to Heck's home town, currently in the midst of a drugs gang war & also with a lone killer on the loose..."The Incinerator", who kills his victims with a flame thrower. Who is the mysterious Incinerator? Well, lets just say I fell hook line & sinker for one red herring, to the point where I was nearly shouting at Heck "HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE IT!!" - duh!!! Despite that lapse of judgement the identity, when revealed, still wasn't much of a surprise as to be fair there aren't that many candidates to pick from! It's certainly a fast moving action packed tale - could imagine it making a great film. However one or two scenes were a bit over the top & a couple of the chase sequences went on a bit too long for my liking so my attention wandered... Overall a good read & despite it being book 6 in the series, works well as a standalone. I'm completely out of order with the series having only read book 2 "Sacrifice", & that was just short of 5 years ago - I won't be leaving it so long again....

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kelda

    Very different to what I normally read style wise. Maybe why I thought it started off slower. Its darker than I usually like aswel, but saying that, dark is good as a one off. I dont usually like too much detail on certain subjects. But I was gripped from about page 150 and it is a big book. Nearly 500 pages!

  18. 5 out of 5

    J.B (Debbie)

    Well what an explosive book and a complete baptism of fire into the world of Mark Heckenburg or Heck as he's known! Not having read any of the previous books in the series I was a bit dubious about whether I'd be able to jump straight into this. I needn't have worried of course as it was not necessary at all to have read the other books, though I might go back and do so as this one was so great! I've raved so much about it at home that my husband practically grabbed the book out of my hands the Well what an explosive book and a complete baptism of fire into the world of Mark Heckenburg or Heck as he's known! Not having read any of the previous books in the series I was a bit dubious about whether I'd be able to jump straight into this. I needn't have worried of course as it was not necessary at all to have read the other books, though I might go back and do so as this one was so great! I've raved so much about it at home that my husband practically grabbed the book out of my hands the minute I finished it so it looks like we might have another Paul Finch fan in the house! And, I've found a copy of Hunted, book 5 in the series sitting on my bookcase! Hooray! The book jumps straight in with a gory double murder right in Bradburn, Heck's home town and somewhere he'd rather forget. As if that wasn't enough to deal with, Heck is on the trail of ruthless torturer for hire John Sagan. What should have been a simple operation to arrest him goes badly wrong and Heck is on the move to track him down. Can Heck reconcile his past in order to do his job effectively? And, will he ever become a team player in time in order to catch the two murderers? This book has it all....... murder, a sadistic killer for hire, gangland wars, gangsters, prostitution, dodgy informants and police officers trying to fight a losing battle to stop it all. And of course, at the heart of it all is Heck! He is a bit of a loner, preferring to work on his own and not rely on anyone. This gets him into trouble on numerous occasions, particularly with his commanding officer, and ex girlfriend Gemma who is a total hard ass and I loved her! I love the fact that Paul Finch has some really strong women characters in this book who aren't afraid to give an ass kicking when its called for. I even liked the dodgy police informant prostitute! A very complex and interesting character. Ashes to Ashes was action packed throughout and barely gives the reader a chance to catch their breath before throwing something else at them. Its exciting, violent and a little bit gory at times. Murder and torture is a gruesome business after all. I don't often call a book a page turner but this one definitely was and I'm wondering if anyone has approached Paul Finch about tv or movie rights yet because they really should! Not a book for anyone who likes their detectives fluffy and wholesome because Heck is definitely not that. A great cast of characters this is a highly recommended read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sally Boocock

    The saying "It's grim up north"could apply to the sixth book in the Heckenburg series. Grim a nd full of action from start to finish. Absolutely loved it The saying "It's grim up north"could apply to the sixth book in the Heckenburg series. Grim a nd full of action from start to finish. Absolutely loved it

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sue Wallace

    Ashes to ashes by Paul Finch. This is book 6 of the DS Heckenburg series. A brilliant read. Great story. I loved Mark's character. Lots of action too. 5*. Ashes to ashes by Paul Finch. This is book 6 of the DS Heckenburg series. A brilliant read. Great story. I loved Mark's character. Lots of action too. 5*.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Liesbeth

    Not for me I'm afraid. This is like an action film, which my son would enjoy. Very implausible , sometimes confusing, story line, not much character development, and a lot of chases and gore. If you like that sort of thing, this is the perfect read for you. I don't, and I wish I hadn't started it as I find it hard to give up on a book. " Heck" never grew on me either as a character, he became more and more irritating and unbelievable as the book went on. Not for me I'm afraid. This is like an action film, which my son would enjoy. Very implausible , sometimes confusing, story line, not much character development, and a lot of chases and gore. If you like that sort of thing, this is the perfect read for you. I don't, and I wish I hadn't started it as I find it hard to give up on a book. " Heck" never grew on me either as a character, he became more and more irritating and unbelievable as the book went on.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Do you ever get the feeling that you have been a complete and utter donkey? Astoundingly, incomprehensibly stupid? That’s is exactly how I felt when listening to the audio book of Ashes To Ashes when I was left wondering how I have managed to let this series pass me by for so long. I have heard other people raving about it before, bloggers that I trust and respect, but I’ve never got around to reading any of the books until now. This is book 6 in the series about Detective Sergeant Mark ‘Heck’ H Do you ever get the feeling that you have been a complete and utter donkey? Astoundingly, incomprehensibly stupid? That’s is exactly how I felt when listening to the audio book of Ashes To Ashes when I was left wondering how I have managed to let this series pass me by for so long. I have heard other people raving about it before, bloggers that I trust and respect, but I’ve never got around to reading any of the books until now. This is book 6 in the series about Detective Sergeant Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg but I think that in just one book I have fallen in love with this character and now I am desperately trying to work out how I can go about finding time to go back and read books 1-5. Like I said. A complete and utter donkey. So. Enough about my stupidity. What about the book? Well this is quite some book. When Heck and the team are put onto the trail of suspected serial killer known torturer John Sagan, they can only guess as to the level of evil and depravity the man is capable of. To the cost of one of the team they find out just how dangerous underestimating this man is. When he evades capture they are soon able to tie him to two torture murders in Heck’s home town of Bradburn but returning there to capture their target is not going to be easy for Heck as he has a very troubling relationship with the place he once called home. And when another series of grizzly murders starts to take place in the town Heck is to find himself up against a merciless killer that the press have given the moniker ‘The Incincerator’ due to the method he uses to dispatch his victims. Throw in a burgeoning gang war and the scene is set for a deadly showdown. From the very beginning of this novel the tension is high and the pacing fast and to be honest there are few moments throughout where it ever lets up. Paul Finch sets the scene brilliantly, an underlying sense of menace in even the simplest of actions. From the moment the first two victims are faced with ‘The Incinerator’ you get a taste of what this book is going to be about. The deaths may be violent but none are unnecessarily graphic. the same can be said of the torture inflicted by John Sagan. You are not forced to act as voyeur to the acts of violence but you are left in no doubt as to the severity of what has happened or the cold and calculating nature of the man himself. Even though interactions with Sagan are limited, Finch has created a really unsettling character and the knowledge that he and his pain box are still on the loose, and an understanding of what he is capable of, is enough to creating an underlying and gradually building tension from start to finish. More intriguing is the character of The Incinerator. You never quite know who this person is and I found myself continually second guessing their motives for the killings. He/She? You are never quite sure as suspicion falls to the gangs of Ship and Shaughnessy, each with their own motives for killing the other in order to gain control of the streets. And suspicion also falls to someone outside the gangs, someone with a personal reason to hate Vic Ship and all he stands for. So is this a simple case of gang warfare or vigilantism taken to the extreme Well… You need to read to find out, don’t you. The investigative team in this book are all really well developed and strong characters in their own right. Joining the usual SCU crew is DI Katie Hayes of the GMP Serious Crime Division. She is a fantastic character and more than a match for Heck when they are partnered together to investigate The Incinerator. As for Heck. He certainly has a way about him. Often acting outside of procedure and regularly taking on the lone wolf role, you cannot help but like his occasionally gung ho methods. He certainly gets results, even if he does put himself in the firing line to do so. You learn a lot about his past in this book, get a good appreciation of why he joined the force, and the demons that haunt him on his return to Bradburn. He is exactly the kind of character I eat up. I love his fire and his passion for the job. He acts on his instincts, speaks his mind, but all in the name of upholding the law and catching two very violent killers. When his passion boils over, the results can be deadly. Love it. There are a few really tense and intensive scenes in this book, firstly when Heck is chasing down John Sagan, when he nearly has the sadistic killer in his grasp, and secondly when Heck himself is being pursued by one of the gangs controlling the streets of Bradburn. If you don’t like to see animals get hurt, then you might not like one particular part of the book, but then again, we aren’t exactly talking about kicking the behind of the Andrex puppy here, so while the result may make you cringe, the end probably justifies the means. Think less St Bernard in Beethoven and more Doberman in The Omen. Nasty little poochie. If you like a good strong lead character, an exciting story and the thrill of a darned good cat and mouse game then definitely read this book. I am off now to go and purchase books 1-5 and then to plan in a good few days to catch up. By the way, I actually listened to the audio book which is absolutely superb and well worth a listen if, like me, you enjoy taking your books to go. A hot to trot 5 stars from me

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susan Kennedy

    There was too much going on for it to be a decent story. It would suit a film more than being a book. It seemed very long though that may have been that I wasn't engrossed in the book. My first heck book and there are far better series' than this I'm afraid. There was too much going on for it to be a decent story. It would suit a film more than being a book. It seemed very long though that may have been that I wasn't engrossed in the book. My first heck book and there are far better series' than this I'm afraid.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mom

    I was going to give this book just one star because of the boring, detailed descriptions, but the last 50 pages brought it up one star. This book could have easily been done in 200 pages.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    Heck is back on home turf and it's not a happy experience for him. Following a lead for a known torturer, Heck and the SCU team are plunged into the middle of a drugs gang war, however someone else is out to cause mayhem.  Dubbed 'The Incinerator', a lone figure has been burning people alive with the use of a flame-thrower.  When Heck is taken off his original case and moved to the incinerator case he is less than happy, but when the two cases collide Heck could be in more danger than he realises Heck is back on home turf and it's not a happy experience for him. Following a lead for a known torturer, Heck and the SCU team are plunged into the middle of a drugs gang war, however someone else is out to cause mayhem.  Dubbed 'The Incinerator', a lone figure has been burning people alive with the use of a flame-thrower.  When Heck is taken off his original case and moved to the incinerator case he is less than happy, but when the two cases collide Heck could be in more danger than he realises. Heck is by far my favourite detective. He is not your traditional 'guns-blazing' hero, he gets dirty, tired and more often than not beaten up.  Like a tenacious Jack Russell, he grabs hold of a lead, shakes it around until something gives, then sinks in his teeth to leave his mark. This story was far more personal to Heck than his previous cases.  Being on his home turf hasn't helped but when friends become suspects and family becomes victims, Heck feels it more and to some respect it makes him reflect on his life.  The 'chat' with Gemma Piper doesn't help the situation either. The relationship between Heck and Gemma needs to advance. Part of me really wants them to get together but then another part feels that, although Gemma shows signs of the love she used to have for Heck, she will always choose her career over him, maybe the same could be said the other way round as well.  I would just really like to see Heck happy with a partner who will be there for him, help him through the tough cases, and love him for who he is without trying to change him.  If this turns out to be Gemma than I would be happy, if not then so be it (plot twist - what if Hazel from 'Dead Man Walking' came back in his life?) And what's going to happen to Shawna?  Really like her character and her link to Heck.  I think she also helps to keep him sane in a non-romantic capacity. Another exciting and action-packed case for DS Mark Heckenburg.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dana Sullivan

    I'd say 3.5. This was my first DS Heckenburg book, and I had no problem following the story without reading any of the previous books. I did enjoy this -- the story is well-written and put together, everything ties together (which is amazing, because there is a LOT going on), and is suspenseful. If you're looking for a good crime/suspense novel, check this one out. I did have a bit of trouble during the first half with the English terminology (which is just ignorance on my part -- you figure it o I'd say 3.5. This was my first DS Heckenburg book, and I had no problem following the story without reading any of the previous books. I did enjoy this -- the story is well-written and put together, everything ties together (which is amazing, because there is a LOT going on), and is suspenseful. If you're looking for a good crime/suspense novel, check this one out. I did have a bit of trouble during the first half with the English terminology (which is just ignorance on my part -- you figure it out as you continue reading, it just took me a bit to get into it). I also thought Heck, while bad-ass, was also kind of a ridiculous character -- doesn't listen to anyone, somehow manages to not get fired when he repetitively doesn't listen to his boss, does whatever he wants with no real thought to anyone else, somehow manages to get off these really long monologues of speech without any interruptions, gets out of the most impossible situations, and was a bit creepy towards his boss in the hotel room (like no, means no buddy). I mean, without all of this, it probably wouldn't be that great of a story (and he does end up apologizing to his boss at the end), so I see why people loved it and why there's a whole series with his character.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    Another thrilling installment in the life and times of Mark 'Heck' Heckenberg aka Superman aka the indestructible-one-man-crime-solver. Plenty of action, great dialogue and excellent narration by Paul Thornley, despite a couple of mispronunciations. The thing that always amuses and frustrates me is Heck's mobile phone. Most of the time he ignores it especially when a superior is phoning, but when he does need to use it it's either broken, the battery is flat, there's no signal or he's left it in Another thrilling installment in the life and times of Mark 'Heck' Heckenberg aka Superman aka the indestructible-one-man-crime-solver. Plenty of action, great dialogue and excellent narration by Paul Thornley, despite a couple of mispronunciations. The thing that always amuses and frustrates me is Heck's mobile phone. Most of the time he ignores it especially when a superior is phoning, but when he does need to use it it's either broken, the battery is flat, there's no signal or he's left it in the car/house/office etc. On the few times he does use it he's invariably giving chase on foot, going full pelt after a criminal, but, being superhuman, manages to make a coherent call for back up (which of course rarely arrives in time) without breaking stride or needing to catch his breath. The amount of phones he loses, breaks or throws at villians must cost him a fortune especially when it's clearly stated in this novel that he uses an iPhone, not exactly cheap. And how do people manage to phone him on a phone he's 'acquired' from a bad guy before he's been in touch with them to tell them the phone number of this new phone he's just taken? Anyway, phones notwithstanding, this is an excellent if sometimes gruesome book and I look forward to the next one.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gordon Johnston

    The first of the series I've read. The set up is a little hackneyed - maverick London cop goes home to the grim northern town he grew up in to chase a killer. Or maybe it's two or three. Working on his own, ignoring his superiors and getting into all sorts of scrapes it's no surprise when he works out the true story behind an apparent gang war. But the novel is well written and fast paced, keeping the reader hooked. Some of the fight scenes are a little overdone but there are many twists and unus The first of the series I've read. The set up is a little hackneyed - maverick London cop goes home to the grim northern town he grew up in to chase a killer. Or maybe it's two or three. Working on his own, ignoring his superiors and getting into all sorts of scrapes it's no surprise when he works out the true story behind an apparent gang war. But the novel is well written and fast paced, keeping the reader hooked. Some of the fight scenes are a little overdone but there are many twists and unusual elements to the plot too.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Teague

    Possibly the most violent Heck novel yet... terror arrives at the Lancastrian small town of Braeburn, when Heck is hot on the tail of a sadistic killer for hire. Add some Russian gangsters and small-time drug dealers, and you've got a hot-bed of small-town tension and turmoil with some seriously gruesome set-pieces. After six books and with a seventh on the way, it is only a matter of time before Heck transfers too the small screen: not if, but when... and I for one cannot wait for that day. Possibly the most violent Heck novel yet... terror arrives at the Lancastrian small town of Braeburn, when Heck is hot on the tail of a sadistic killer for hire. Add some Russian gangsters and small-time drug dealers, and you've got a hot-bed of small-town tension and turmoil with some seriously gruesome set-pieces. After six books and with a seventh on the way, it is only a matter of time before Heck transfers too the small screen: not if, but when... and I for one cannot wait for that day.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pavan Reddy

    Contrary to the first half which is slow paced, second half deals with heavy action. Pages will turn automatically in the last scenes. Simple story and heavy action. The plot was weak as it doesn't have great base. What mesmerizes the readers is how the story is told and Paul Finch has one heck of job there. He is born story teller as they say. About the story, it was like Heck was doing one man army in the whole story jumping there and chasing him it was like he possessed a super human strength Contrary to the first half which is slow paced, second half deals with heavy action. Pages will turn automatically in the last scenes. Simple story and heavy action. The plot was weak as it doesn't have great base. What mesmerizes the readers is how the story is told and Paul Finch has one heck of job there. He is born story teller as they say. About the story, it was like Heck was doing one man army in the whole story jumping there and chasing him it was like he possessed a super human strength and intelligence. Seriously, the story was whole Heck centric like all in one package.

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