Initially, L. J. Hurst worked in the backrooms of the media industry. He now divides his time between work for an international scientific publisher and a rather more British independent bookseller. In years past he was a regular attendee at the Shots on the Page Festivals from whence Shots Mag sprung
Bill Moore, protagonist and part-time narrator of Killer Move, would like to be rich: probably, sincerely wants to be rich. Achieving that position today is more difficult than it used to be, especially if – like Bill – you are a Florida realtor, nevertheless Bill is trying. He is willing to wheedle and befriend and pretend to his customers and potential customers; he is almost sycophantic to his bosses. None of that stops him being a victim.
As he goes about his daily round of appointments to help buy and sell he starts to find things strange – just little things at first, the sort of things you might have forgotten you had planned. When, though, you open the parcel from your bookseller and find some soft porn, something your wife by your side might find questionable, things are not so comfortable. Much less so when, in a directory on your laptop, your wife does not find the holiday snaps she expected but a series of peeping tom voyeur snaps of your business partner undressing instead. Okay, so rationalise it: take some technical advice: have you got a virus?
Bill may not know it but he could be marked for death.
Now, while all this has been going on, David Hunter has been released from prison. As he has served twenty years for a murder of which he was innocent – for which he was set up – Hunter has plans. Those plans are not to go straight, they are to get even.
You ask yourself what Bill Moore might have been doing twenty years ago. Is Hunter doing things to Moore, as he is doing to others? Is someone else apart from Hunter at work? Are we all being played with? Do not get paranoid. Do not become paranoid. You cannot be paranoid.
The paranoia is already here. People are not who they seem, not by name, not by role. Others are playing games, some really, some virtually. And some have crossed over. There are references to “straw men”, subjects of an earlier Michael Marshall trilogy set in Los Angeles, but this is not a continuation. If anything it reminded me of an earlier one-off: Paul Mayersberg’s 1991 study in personal persecution, Homme Fatale, whose resolution is in unrequited love. Working out a paranoid plot is difficult for any author and Homme Fatale fell off in the last third, as unfortunately does Killer Move. I doubt, though, that readers will have relaxed by then.