Finding Fionn

A Mystery Inspired by the Kidnapping of the Irish Racehorse Shergar

Fiction - Mystery - General
316 Pages
Reviewed on 10/11/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Carmen Tenorio for Readers' Favorite

Finding Fionn by M.J. Evans centers on the search for Fionn MacCool, a champion and renowned racehorse who became Ireland's national treasure. Fionn's elite position was also much a result of Patrick McCallin's abilities as the jockey who guided him to victory and success. One chilly February night, Fionn was suddenly taken hostage, and a hefty ransom was requested for his release. Sadly, his owner was unwilling to pay. The entire country was devastated, and the horse's heartbroken rider, Patrick, also began to worry about Fionn's safety. He set off on a mission to look for Fionn, along with the aid and encouragement of his close friends and schoolmates. Despite the news, hazards, and concerns associated with the risky scenario, they remained unwavering in believing they would eventually find Fionn alive and well. Will Patrick and his crew be able to unravel the mystery of Fionn's abduction, locate and free him from his captors?

Finding Fionn by M.J. Evans, based on the true-to-life circumstances of the champion Irish racehorse Shergar, is an organized and well-researched novel that leaves no stone unturned. Character development for main and supporting players is multidimensional, relatable, and memorable. Along with the author's skill in exploring details and possibilities in a scene, seeing the progressive changes in the characters and how they influence the plotline also adds to sustaining interest, excitement, and drama, which keeps the reader hooked. The pacing and story build-up are moderate, and the occasional parts with some action and cliffhanger suspense are not overwhelming. The chapters aren't too long, and the language level isn't complicated, making it appealing to young readers. The unexpected plot twist truly gives the reader the extent of the complexity of the scenario. M.J. Evans is a talented author who offers more than just a tale about a famous racehorse. She offers the reader a thorough and realistic impression of what Irish culture is. Recommended for young adult readers and mystery buffs.

Pikasho Deka

Inspired by the true-life kidnapping case of the Irish thoroughbred racehorse Shergar, Finding Fionn is a sleuth mystery novel by M.J. Evans. It's the 1980s, and the shadow of "The Troubles" looms large all over the Republic of Ireland. Patrick McCallin grew up loving horses and wanted to be a jockey more than anything else. His dreams finally come true when he gets the chance to ride the beautiful Irish stallion Fionn MacCool. Soon, the dynamic duo exceeds all expectations, with Fionn winning the European Horse of the Year and becoming a national hero. However, tragedy strikes when Fionn is unexpectedly kidnapped, with a ransom demand of over two million pounds. Patrick sets out to find Fionn along with his two friends, Ronan and Maddie, and tracks Fionn's trail to France. Will he be able to reunite with his beloved horse?

There's a lot to love about M.J. Evans' riveting mystery novel. Finding Fionn is just the book for anyone looking for a fast-paced sleuth story with some relatable characters you can root for. The fact that the events described in the book are inspired by the real-life story of the racehorse Shergar makes it all the more immersive and impactful. Evans paints a moving portrait of the bond between a horse and its jockey. I also enjoyed the friendship between Patrick, Ronan, and Maddie, each of whom came together to rescue their animal friend. Fionn has a charismatic personality that is bound to win you over. All in all, an absorbing tale for all sleuth story aficionados.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Finding Fionn by M.J. Evans relates the saga surrounding a magnificent racehorse. Fionn McCool had captured the hearts of Ireland, and so had its jockey Patrick McCallin. No one loved this horse more than Patrick and when Fionn mysteriously disappeared he was devastated, as was the racing audience who saw in Fionn a hero that brought joy to a country torn by inner strife. Patrick was not a quitter and he was determined to find the horse and return him to his home in Ireland where he belonged. It’s a race against time because the horse’s foreign owner refused to pay the large ransom and Fionn’s life is threatened. Would Patrick be able to find his beloved horse before it’s too late?

M.J. Evans's novel, Finding Fionn, is a mystery inspired by the true story of the kidnapping of the Irish racehorse star, Shergar. The plot follows Patrick as he trains to be a jockey and then joins the stable where Fionn is being trained. It is love at first sight, as the horse and his jockey forge a forever bond. When the two start attracting attention in the winner’s circle, the trainer starts to fear for Fionn’s safety. But who is to blame for the horse’s sudden disappearance? There are a lot of twists and turns in this mystery, set in the difficult era of Irish history known as The Troubles. The author has woven a fascinating tale of intrigue and mayhem. Her love and knowledge of horses and racing are obvious in the well-detailed narrative that sets the stage and outlines Patrick’s training as a jockey. The true story of Shergar was never solved, so readers will be on edge to the end as they cheer Patrick on in the hopes that he finds Fionn and brings him home to Ireland where he belongs. A fast-paced story that will have mystery fans and horse lovers thoroughly captivated.