When the weather is dire over a bank holiday weekend, there’s nothing like a decent thriller to grab you by the scruff of the neck and not let you go until the final page has been read. Hunted is just that sort of book: a pacey, chase thriller full of modern technology and the paranoia of the espionage world.
In London’s SW1, Colonel Zykov can’t believe his luck with the company of the young Glaswegian-accented blonde tonight. He’s planning a night of rough sex. Unfortunately for him, that’s not in her diary and her diary is a shared one so other people join in and direct the party. Also in town is former CIA operative, now private sector ‘protection’ worker Danny Shanklin. Via Crane, his ‘ops provider’, with whom he only ever connects via the net’s encrypted virtual world, he has a new assignment and he’s meeting the principals in room 112 of the Ritz Hotel in the morning. He’s using The Kid, one of those techie, engineering whizzos as his surveillance back up. Sometime later, Danny wakes up in an unfamiliar hotel room, in clothes he knows are not his own and with an unrecognisable dead man on the floor beside him. A high-powered rifle is strapped to him. He hears sirens outside and when he looks out of the window he sees carnage on the street below. He knows he’s been set up and that he is the hunted one. With The Kid as his only back up, so starts the race to clear his name…
Rees delivers a powered, adrenaline-fuelled thriller in the traditions of the best north American thriller writers with no letting up and no letting go. As Shanklin’s escape takes him across the best parts of London – including a dip into Harrods, but not for ordinary shopping – we also have his backstory interwoven and gradually revealed. His past contains tragedy and the foibles that come from human weakness/error; and that too, is something he must face now, all written to engage emotionally. The ending may not prove to be entirely satisfying but it cleverly makes reading Hunted a solid investment for reading more of the series with Wanted to come in 2012. I only hope that with the protagonist’s name of Danny Shanklin, we don’t find some Northern Ireland-related backstory coming to light. Hunted packs a big punch and is not to be missed if you love a well-written chase thriller.
[Warning: contains scenes of torture.]