Top critical review
Great Potential, BUT...
Reviewed in the United States on December 2, 2018
There were more enticing choices this month on Amazon First Reads than usual, so I took my time to select the most provocative suspense. I especially appreciated the bio of the author of “Hunt Them Down.”
The opening displayed great potential, for enjoyment and for disappointment. By Chapter 4, I was, alas, leaning towards disappointment. Why?
1 - The author gives us an info dump about Chicago and the street value of a kilo of heroin and how some $15 Mn is peanuts to a drug cartel. Granted, if done correctly, this sort of information CAN lend credibility, so at this point I’m not too concerned, but...
2 - The writer decides he wants the embedded tv journalist (equipped with his own camera, I think, to be a hater of police “bullies” (author’s words, not mine). The reporter is a ‘prima donna’ who live tweets a raid, thus enabling an escape/defense by cartel members, who kill a member of the team. Mind you, all of this happens in the first three or four chapters, so I don’t consider these revelations to be spoilers. When you come across a reporter who dares to even think of his greatness stemming from tragedy, well, part of me wanted to toss my Kindle-app equipped iPad across the room. But, then, as a former journalist, I don’t view the media as an enemy of the people.
But, I abhor reviews that reveal too much of a book’s plot, so will stop here.
BLUSH FACTOR: One might expect an Action-Adventure to feature hard-edged characters evoking profanities. In that sense, there are no surprises here. Some will be disappointed in the number of eff-words, but, as for me, the language spoken felt real, even if the number exceeded the artistic needs. Put simply, don’t plan on reading to children or to your prayer group.
CHARACTER: Early on, it felt as though the writer might be developing cartoon characters, but I also surmised he might be setting me up for turning the jerk reporter into a buddy to the agent later in the story, so I read on. Certainly, the agent (Hunt) felt like he was drawn on the author’s alter-ego.
‘...Moore couldn’t believe his luck. He checked his live viewers. Ten thousand and climbing. Amazing. The likes were coming in faster than ever before. And so were the comments.
He had filmed everything, including when the lead special agent—what was his name again? Oh yeah, Hunt—had shot the man who had just surrendered. Moore’s whole body was shaking—not from fear but from excitement. He quietly climbed out of the Durango and continued to film. The scene was surreal. The panel van had so many bullet holes that it looked like an infantry platoon had used it for target practice. Part of him wished innocent people had been inside the van when the DEA agents fired at it. That would’ve been the biggest law enforcement blunder in the history of Chicago. Worth a Pulitzer, maybe?
Moore aimed his phone at the lead agent, who was kneeling next to what appeared to be a dead DEA agent. Oh my God. I can’t believe this. The viewers will go crazy. This will be international news within the hour.
He jogged toward them. “What’s the name of the dead agent?” he asked.
Hunt turned his head and saw that [expletive deleted] reporter aiming his phone at his fallen comrade. Moore was grinning as if he had just...’
Excerpt taken from Chapter 4 of Hunt Them Down by Simon Gervais, copyright 2018.
After reading this Action-Adventure I found myself wondering if I might have actually loved this book when I was younger. Then, I recalled how I despised Navy Seals (the action-packed movie of 1990 with Charlie Sheen). So, maybe this time, the fault is with the writing, not with my reading.
Three stars out of five.
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