The Hunted

Written by Gabriel Bergmoser

Review written by Andrew Hill

A former Customs and Police Officer, Andrew Hill is just putting the finishing touches to the first book in a crime series set in the New Forest, where he lived for 30 years. An avid reader across the crime genre and regular at Crimefest, he now lives in West Sussex and works in property.


The Hunted
Faber & Faber
RRP: £8.99
Released: August 6 2020
PBK

This is the first adult novel from this Playwright / YA author, originating from an earlier short story.

The narrative works with a split-narrative, and pulls the strands of three sets of characters together fairly early on. Frank, who runs an outback ‘roadhouse’ and his granddaughter, Allie. Charlie, a backpacker on a road trip with Delilah and there’s also Maggie and Simon.

The tale brings them together at the roadhouse and that’s when everything goes off kilter very quickly. Maggie is badly hurt and while Charlie tends to her - we rapidly descend into the realms of ‘Wolf Creek’ as well as a suitable referencing of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’, ‘Deliverance’, ‘Southern Comfort’ and ‘Assault on Precinct 13’.

When an outsider arrives at the roadhouse, inquiring after Maggie, you get that first feeling that this isn’t going to end well. The main telephone is out. No one has a charge on their mobile phone the reader questions who is this stranger making the lightly-veiled threats?

And then the horror reveals itself, with the already swiftly-paced narrative kicking up another gear. Strap up, as the ride becomes distinctly of the white-knuckle variety.

The author has very successfully tapped into that latent and somewhat irrational fear that many of us have. Are your neighbours really like you? Why is that when you walk into a small village pub, you feel like you’ve walked into The Slaughtered Lamb, from ‘An American Werewolf in London’? In some backwater place, do they live to their own rules and moral code that doesn’t conform to what the civilised world would call normal?

There is certainly an enthusiastic market for this type of writing, as Jane Harper’s, ‘The Dry’ proved and this is a horror tinged fillet of Aussie Noir.

Breakneck pacing, oodles of action, characters pushed beyond their limits and not a little blood. Stick this on your reading list, she’ll be good, mate.



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