Paul's Reviews > Hunted

Hunted by Emlyn Rees
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May 15, 12

Read from May 11 to 15, 2012

The biggest manhunt in history begins

Danny Shanklin wakes up slumped across at a table in an unfamiliar hotel room in London. He’s wearing a black balaclava, a red tracksuit and a brand new pair of Nikes. There’s a faceless dead man on the floor and Danny’s got a high-powered rifle strapped to his hands.

He hears sirens and stumbles to the window to see a burning limousine and bodies all over the street. The police are closing in. They’re coming for him.
With only his tech-support friend the Kid for backup, Danny set out on a nail-biting odyssey through the panicked city streets in a desperate bid to escape, protect the people he loves and track down the men who set him up – and make them pay.

But with 500,000 CCTV cameras, 44,000 cops, 9 intelligence agencies and dozens of TV news channels all hot on his tail, just how long can an innocent man survive.

The best thing about reviewing books regularly is that if I read something that I don’t really enjoy or can’t connect with, I know that I’ll shortly be moving onto something that I will like. Last week I read a novel that was just a bit too surreal for my taste and I was a bit put out by the experience. Fortunately, just at the point where I had reached my lowest ebb, I cracked open Hunted and all my previous dark thoughts promptly disappeared.

London is the perfect iconic backdrop for the plot of Hunted. Historic landmarks like Harrods, Hyde Park, and even the River Thames all play a crucial role as Shanklin attempts to move as discretely as possible from location to location across the city. The odds are stacked against him at every turn and this makes for some pleasingly tense moments.

One of the criticisms I sometimes have with thrillers is that the main protagonists have a tendency to come across as being nigh-on invincible. I’m pleased to say that Rees avoids this cliché and Shanklin has his fair share of flaws. This story is grounded in the real world and all the actions that Danny makes feel realistic as opposed to over the top. Split second decisions have repercussions and Danny doesn’t always get things entirely right. Nice to find a main character in a thriller who is all too human, makes for a nice change.

The author also takes the time to delve into Danny Shanklin’s history and the reader gets the opportunity to tag along. Shanklin is a solitary figure and has lived through some dark moments in his past. These traumas have left their mark and make him the ideal scapegoat for the shadowy group that have set him up. Shanklin is not perfect and has issues that he has yet to deal with. These problems are his Achilles heel and his enemies exploit this to great effect.

We live in a society where Big Brother is constantly watching and I liked the idea of a thriller whose premise explores this concept. Rees deftly uses a 21st century phenomena as the backbone of his tale. Is it truly possible to disappear in a city where everyone knows who you are?

Hunted is a full-on modern thriller whose fast-paced momentum delivers on every single page. Once the action starts it just doesn’t let up.Think the amped up grittiness of the Bourne movies and you’ll get the general idea. I enjoyed Rees’ writing style and rattled through the entire novel in a couple of sittings. It was terribly easy to get caught up. The cinematic scope to the action scenes married together with a gripping narrative kept me thoroughly entertained. The best part? Based on the outcome of events in the final chapters I have a sneaking suspicion this won’t be the last time we see Danny Shanklin.

Hunted is published by Corsair and is released on 17th May.
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