Today is publication day for the paperback edition of Hunted by Alex Knight. I'm a big fan of this author and love this book and so to help celebrate today's release I'm resharing my review originally posted in June last year.
You're woken early by the doorbell. It's a young girl, the daughter of the love of your life. She's scared, covered in blood, she says her mother is hurt.
You let her in, try to calm her down, tell her you're going to get help. You reach for your phone, but it lights up with a notification before you touch it.
It's an Amber alert - a child has been abducted by a dangerous suspect.
The child is the girl standing in front of you.
The suspect? You.
Hunted is published by Orion tomorrow and is available to purchase from all good booksellers.
Hunted opens with a bang, hitting the ground running. Molly turns up at Jake's door - bloody, scared and upset. She doesn't know him that well, but he's her mum's boyfriend, her mum's hurt and she doesn't know where else to go. But Jake's just had a notification on his phone saying that Molly's been abducted. By him. What an opening!
Jake does the only thing he can - he runs. And the hunt for him truly begins. He is determined to find out what's really going on. But with a massive manhunt on for him, very little cash, nowhere to go and maybe only one friend that he might possibly be able to turn to for help, his chances aren't great. Oh, and there's also the small fact that everyone in the San Francisco area with a mobile phone now knows what he looks like and that he's wanted by the FBI. Phew!
Jake is a brilliant character, really well drawn. I didn't know about Amber alerts before reading this book, other than hearing them mentioned on the tv occasionally, so it was interesting to learn about them and such a great way of getting information out quickly. But I can't imagine what it would be like to be innocent, and have everyone look suspiciously at you. When it happened here I was reminded of the scenes in the John Wicks movies - if you've seen them you'll know what I'm going to say - where John Wick himself goes back on the books as a target, a notification goes out and suddenly every assassin in town (and there are a lot of them) is on the look out for him. There's a real conflict going on with Jake - he's clearly a good guy who wants do the right thing, but not without being able to prove his innocence. I felt for him, particularly his loneliness which is beautifully described. And he is wound so tight for much of the time that I was anxious for him! I could feel the tension coming off the page.
There are some fab, strong characters in Hunted. FBI Special Agent Catherine Lark is in charge of finding Jake. I liked her - she's no nonsense, firm but fair. And has one heck of a job. We follow her as, ably assisted by Kelly Paxon and the rest of the team, she starts to build a bigger picture and a convincing case. Outside of the emergency services there are more great characters - I was particularly fond of Eleanor Grace. You'll see why when you read the book - no spoilers here! And it would be remiss of me not to mention Molly. She is so well written - her fear, shock, anxiety and vulnerability all brilliantly described. She's an outstanding kid, mature beyond her years in many ways. And you can tell the author has experience of being around teenagers - there were plenty of details that rang true!
Knight has clearly done his research for this book around the technical details of the American police, FBI etc but also the locations used. Everything feels authentic and he's found some small towns with brilliant names. I loved the descriptions, the imagery.
Hunted is a cat and mouse chase, a search for truth and justice. It grabs you, pulls you in and doesn't let go. The action doesn't let up at all and neither does the tension. The storyline is full of lies, betrayal and cover ups with twists, shocks and red herrings aplenty. If you're looking for a fast paced, action packed, intelligent and rewarding crime thriller then this is the book for you. I flipping loved it!
Alex Knight is a British novelist who lives near Glasgow with his wife and three children. As Mason Cross he has written five books in the Carter Blake series and last year released standalone What She Saw Last Night as MJ Cross.