London, present day. Ex-forces independent security operative Danny Shanklin is set up, waking up in a hotel room with a corpse and a gun. A running game ensues; Shanklin thought he was meeting a potential client, but had been instead framed as the perpetrator of a terrorist attack. He runs, with his tech support guiding him through central London. Shanklin has to evade capture, solve the problem of who framed him, and clear his name. Now.
For much of its length, Hunted is great, a real-time thriller with an ingenious series of set-pieces as Shanklin, on foot, is pursued by a tightening net of regular police and anti-terrorist units, monitored by high-tech surveillance and TV news crews throughout. There’s a keen sense of geography maintained throughout, and what feels like well-deployed research on technology, weaponry and police and military tactics. Once the running game is over, though, the pace perhaps inevitably drops; there’s an awkward though perhaps inevitable twist, and the climax is maybe too keen to leave matters open for Shanklin’s continuing adventures. There’s a feel that there’s one eye on a film/TV adaptation too (if you think of Hunted as 24 meets Crank you won’t be too far away).
That said, there’s plenty to enjoy here, especially if you read Hunted in one sitting, which I did, and if you’re a little paranoid about the surveillance potential of the digital technology incorporated into many people’s everyday lives.
Rees, Emlyn. 2012. Hunted (London: Corsair), 424 pages, 978-1849018845