Review & Extract: Hunted by Paul Finch

Saturday, 9 May 2015
Title: Hunted
Author: Paul Finch
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: 7th May 2015
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9780007492336
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Heck needs to watch his back. Because someone’s watching him…

Across the south of England, a series of bizarre but fatal accidents are taking place. So when a local businessman survives a near-drowning but is found burnt alive in his car just weeks later, DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is brought in to investigate.

Soon it appears that other recent deaths might be linked: two thieves that were bitten to death by poisonous spiders, and a driver impaled through the chest with scaffolding.

Accidents do happen but as the body count rises it’s clear that something far more sinister is at play, and it’s coming for Heck too…

Hunted was easily one of my most anticipated books of 2015 (yes, another one, I have a lot!) and so after a long walk to the sorting office I returned with a parcel containing the book and some rather creepy promotional material. Regular readers will remember a similar thing happened with Dead Man Walking.


Do you ever read a book and feel like the author has somehow gotten into your mind? I like to think that if I ever turned my hand to writing a book myself (unlikely) then I think it would go along similar lines to what occurs in Hunted. Across the South of England a series of bizarre but fatal accidents are taking place. DS Mark 'Heck' Heckenburg discovers the accidents might in fact be murders when he is brought in to investigate the death of a man found burnt alive in his car. He has his work cut out however convincing the local police of his findings...

Heck works for the Serial Crimes Unit, headed up by his former flame from their early policing days, Gemma Piper, who really needs to feature even more in this series. She is by far my most favourite superior that I have read about in crime fiction. There's real scope with Heck working for this unit, it means Paul Finch can continue to keep the series fresh, moving Heck around the UK to investigate some seriously messed up cases, as opposed to having him assigned to the one city looking into mundane, routine murders. You can almost guarantee Heck will upset most people he meets within minutes of meeting them, and that is no different when he almost meets his match in DC Gail Honeyford, one of the local officers he must convince that the accidents are in fact murders. Another real strength of this series is the vivid descriptions from Paul Finch and the detailed and knowledgeable way he portrays his settings, always using them to full effect which help enhance the story, and create a really atmospheric read.

Paul Finch is one of the more gruesome writers out there, and some of the scenes created in Hunted and the inventive ways some of these characters are killed are blood-curdling and, quite frankly, just brilliant. I found the middle of Hunted to be somewhat slower paced than what we are used to from Paul Finch, but the investigative element was really strong and for the most part I had no idea who was behind the murders and the actual denouement of Hunted was brilliantly done. I can't of course elaborate as to why, but I can say that the ending was a surprising one and not the one that I anticipated. It all leads up to a really exciting last few chapters and a satisfying conclusion which also leaves readers desperate for more. There's really nothing more I can say about this series that I haven't already in my reviews of previous books but Paul Finch goes from strength to strength with Hunted and I don't think returning readers will be disappointed. New readers are in for a treat and will almost certainly become #HookedonHeck!

5/5

Chapter 1 Extract

Dazzer and Deggsy didn’t give a shit about anyone. At least, that was the sort of thing they said if they were bragging to mates at parties, or if the coppers caught them and tried to lay a guilt trip on them.

They did what they did. They didn’t go out looking to hurt anyone, but if people got in the way, tough fucking shit. They pinched motors and had a laugh in ’em. That was their thing. And they were gonna keep doing it, because it was the best laugh ever. No one was gonna stop them, and if some geezer ever got pissed off because he’d just seen his pride and joy totalled, so what? Dazzer and Deggsy didn’t give a shit.

Tonight was a particularly good night for it.

All right, it wasn’t perishing cold, which was a shame. Incredible though it seemed to Dazzer and Deggsy, some numbskulls actually came outside, saw a bit of ice and snow and left their motors running for five minutes with the key in the ignition while they went back indoors for a cuppa; all you had to do was jump in the saddle and ride away, whooping. But if nothing else, it was dank and misty, and with it being the tail end of January, it got dark early – so there weren’t too many people around to interfere.
Not that folk tended to interfere with Dazzer and Deggsy.

The former was tall for his age; just under six foot, with a broad build and a neatly layered patch of straw-blond hair in the middle of his scalp, the rest of which was shaved to the bristles. If it hadn’t been for the acne covering his brutish features, you’d have thought him eighteen, nineteen, maybe twenty – instead of sixteen, which was his true age, though of course even a sixteen-year-old might clobber you these days if you had the nerve to look at him the wrong way. The second member of the tag team, Deggsy, though he wasn’t by any means the lesser in terms of villainy, looked more his age. He was shorter and thinner, weasel-faced and the proud owner of an unimpressively wispy moustache. His oily black thatch was usually covered by a grimy old baseball cap, the frontal logo of which had been erased long ago and replaced with letters written in Day-Glo orange highlighter, which read: Fuck off.

There was barely thirty years of experience between them, yet they both affected the arrogant swagger and truculent sneer of guys who believed they knew what was what, and were absolutely confident they were owed whatever they took.

It was around nine o’clock that night when they spied their first and most obvious target: a Volkswagen estate hatchback. A-reg and in poor shape generally: grubby, rusted around the arches, occasional dents in the bodywork; but it ticked all the boxes.

To be continued...

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