Some crime fiction readers may not have heard the name Emlyn Rees before, and might conclude wrongly that Hunted is a debut novel. What they might not know is that Rees first entered the ranks of thriller authors a number of years ago, publishing two books, before co-writing seven comedies with Josie Lloyd, one of which – Come Together – was a number one Sunday Times bestseller and remains a mainstay of the chick-lit genre.
However, being a self-confessed addict of thriller movies and books Rees could not deny the urge to write the meaty chase thriller he always wanted to write. With Hunted he has certainly achieved that dream and more. Hunted is one of those rare books that define pace and keeps you turning the pages in breathless fashion.
The tag line for the book reads “The biggest manhunt in history is just beginning” and with a promise like that expectation is high, but I’m glad to report that Rees comes through in spades. The pace is relentless and follows Danny Shanklin, a man framed for a spree shooting in the heart of London while he not only attempts to clear his name, but also to save the life of his estranged daughter, Lexie, and bring the real villains to justice. Shanklin is an interesting new protagonist in the crime thriller field, in this the first of a proposed series. An ex-CIA operative and hostage negotiator, now engaged in the high-tech world of private security, Shanklin has the skills to see him through a fast paced race against time, but he is also a damaged man who witnessed the brutal murder of his wife and son.
Alongside the contemporary manhunt, Shanklin’s backstory is told in a series of flashbacks where we meet one of the most sinister villains I’ve come across in thriller fiction in some years. The PaperStoneScissors Killer chilled me, and this from a writer who has conjured many monstrous killers in his own books. I can’t wait for the confrontation that is sure to come in a future Shanklin novel. Hunted reads like Simon Kernick and Jeff Abbott have joined forces to write an action-packed, pedal to the metal, tour de force. I loved it!