First, I should say that I was provided with a copy of Hunter, in ebook format, for review purposes. This has not influenced my review. Hunter isn’t in a genre that I read often. I am, however, willing to venture beyond my normal bounds to some degree.
Hunter is a thriller of a very modern type, featuring the ex-SAS hero, Major Alex Morgan. A member of Interpol’s covert Intrepid branch, he is called upon to carry out operations that the usual force is not equipped for. In this novel, he is pitted against Serbian war criminals turned gangsters, from the dreadful days of the Balkans Conflict, who have eluded the law for too long. And those Serbians are brutally ruthless. In an effort to undermine the law, the worst of the Serbs, Drago, has threatened the judges and their families. Intrepid must track down Drago and bring him and his organisation down, and Alex Morgan is at the heart of the operation.
Mr Allen uses variable length chapters very effectively, creating an almost documentary style account. There are times when the tale races along, but Mr Allen also succeeds in portraying the long, tedious hours spent waiting and watching, or the vast amount of research, intelligence gathering and information co-ordination that goes into any operation involving law enforcement. His characters are well developed and easy to like or despise, depending on which side of the fence they’re on. Alex Morgan is very able but no superman. His comrades in Intrepid are human, with all which that entails. A particularly strong character is ‘the Wolf’, whose brutal efficiency as an assassin and enforcer for Drago has become legendary, who is a sinister figure pacing through the shadows behind the action. Refreshingly, there is genuine cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of all the countries involved – not the constant petty politics of jurisdiction and national ego so often portrayed in books and on film. When the climactic moment comes, you find yourself wishing the action was more prolonged, but of course that would be contrary to what special operations are all about. They deal in seconds not minutes, minutes not hours. Anything else could be catastrophic.
A tale of cold-blooded ruthlessness (from both sides), treachery, courage, cowardice, avarice and lust for power, Hunter has everything the thriller aficionado could wish for. Yes, it took me a while to read, but then I’m a slow reader and I wanted to do justice to a brand new book in a genre I rarely visit. I found it easy to read, partly thanks to that clever use of chapters varying wildly in length, according to content. To me, the story passed a very important test: I began picturing the characters and locations as I read! There is enough detail for both to give a firm base, and sufficient unsaid to allow the imagination to do the rest. The second test was passed, too: there were times when I read far more than I meant to, and certainly for longer than the time I had available!
I can happily award Hunter five stars! In fact, now I’m left wanting to read more of these tales…
You can find out more about Mr Allen and his books on his website.
- Ten Questions No-one’s Ever Asked Thriller Writer Chris Allen (juliegreenart.com)