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Second chances usually dissapoint...
on 9 October 2013
I read the first Joe Hunter... it was poor. 3 years later trapped in camping holiday downpours with nothing left to read - I bought this, the second book in the series. I had determined to give the author a second chance. It was against my better judgement. It wasn't worth the £2. I couldn't even finish it... I read Child, Coben, Baldacci, Leather, McBride, Ferris, Hart and many more. I love a thriller. I love a character driven thriller. I like some self-righteous action and shaky morals in an anti-hero. On paper I should love Joe Hunter. I am the marketers model customer - hell they even dress them like a Lee Child novel.
Why did this fail to meet the required standard?
Simply - the writing just isn't good enough.
Because the lead character has no depth and little believable motivation or empathetic value. The villains are absurd and pantomime in the extreme. In this case the Joker meets Lionel Blair with a skin complaint. The victims are generally charmless and without much interest. The action is overblown, often to unreal for even my overactive suspended disbelief. The narrative structure is so simplistic it relies on coincidence and cliché to progress and the general requirement that despite the limited skill of the protagonist (he achieves almost all via the timely interjection of others)he's smarter, faster and better than all others. How bad and incompetent everyone else is breath taking.
The dialogue is on a 'Megashark the Movie' level - with characters using the same expressions repeatedly to each other and indeed repeat prose to describe action. There is no narrative subtext - no meat to the socio-economic backdrop and little context that adds real intrigue or bite to the story.
If you are a fan of the authors mentioned above then you should read Matt Hilton and make up your mind where he fits in the thriller pantheon. My review is an honest sign post and no more.