Friday, 19 August 2011

Book Review: The Hunter by Tom Wood

While this isn’t the work of an indie author, I enjoyed this book by Tom Wood so much that after buying it in paperback at a train station I felt I had to post a review.
Synopsis: The Hunter of the title is Victor, a hired assassin.  Following a hit that goes wrong, he ceases to be the hunter and becomes the hunted. The story moves from France, where the hit took place, to Germany and Russia as Victor goes in search of the people who set him up.  Scenes at the CIA Head Quarters in Langley, Virginia, inform the reader that there’s a deeper, hidden plot afoot. Victor’s pursuers have inside information on his movements, and track him down even in supposedly safe houses.  This results to a series gun battles and explosions, which Victor escapes by skill, cunning and guile.
Review:  For me, three things made this stand out from the run-of-the-mill shoot-‘em-up thriller.  The first, was the quality of the writing, which was generally terse and added to the ever-present sense of danger.  (There were however, in my opinion, still a few places where the prose could have been tightened up a little more.) 
The second, was Victor’s ever present paranoia – this isn’t quite the right word for his obsessive vigilance as they really were out to get him – but describing it as anything less than paranoia wouldn’t do justice to this aspect of the novel. The sense of always needing to look over your shoulder was scary and oppressive.  (It made me feel sorry for people who truly are paranoid.) 
The third, was the character of Victor.  I liked the way Tom Wood didn’t feel the need to justify him being a cold-blooded killer, or have him engage in soul searching about his brutal acts.  Victor was simply who he was; a psychopath in the true sense of the word, a thrill seeker with few emotions and no empathy.  While this was one of the book’s strengths, by definition it means the central character doesn’t have much emotional depth.  As such, there isn’t much space for character development over the coming novels.  I'm not sure how Tom Wood will deal with this in subsequent books and avoid these becoming a little more than endless gun battles and explosions.  So Codenema Tesseract is on my, to read list.  Here's hoping . . ..
The Hunter is a four star good read.


Monsieur D'agneau said...

Thanks, Jake, for the review. It prompted me to download the kindle version and I'm enjoying the book very much. I agree that the prose could be tightened up here and there but the plot is nicely paced and keeps you turning the pages. I must say, though, that Josh Ryder makes Victor look like a little girl...

Jake Hardman said...

Great to here from you Mr Sheep. As a beta reader for No Escape, you know all about Josh. When the book is e-published I'll send you a copy. The final version is much improved as a result of your comments.

Thanks, Jake

Monsieur D'agneau said...

Excellent - I will look forward to it.