Hunted: A BookShot, by James Patterson and Andrew Holmes

Seven stars

Another BookShot means additional excitement for readers who enjoy a little something to keep the blood pumping. Patterson and Holmes offer up a grisy tale that pits money against pure wit. Former SAS David Shelley learns of the death of a friend and military veteran, whose body sustained injuries that do not match up with the official record. While the friend was homeless, these are not battle scars from life on the streets or the fisticuffs that might accompany the lifestyle. Approached by an MI5 agent with a theory and news of a potential suspect, Shelley agrees to go undercover to substantiate rumours of exclusive club that finds sport in killing homeless men. The Quarry Company entertains the richest of the rich, mixing the thrill of the hunt with the desperation of the hunted, all while reaping massive monetary fees for those wishing a chance to participate. Working in concert with MI5, Shelley takes on a new identity and is chosen to act as hunted, unsure how serious things could become. As he is primed for the special day, members of the Company learn of his true identity through sloppy work by MI5, turning this simple game of cat and mouse into one of foxes and hounds. Shelley is unaware of this and is released into the forested area around the Quarry Company compound, armed with only his brains and brawn. How Shelley will make it out is up to him, though the odds are stacked against him. A thrilling tale that keeps the reader wondering until the very end.

As with all BookShots, there is little time for introductions or true character development. Patterson and Holmes toss the reader into the middle of the madness and let things play out in a handful of chapters. However, the reader is permitted a little backstory as it relates to the Quarry Company and the role MI5 plays to bring it down, which adds some suspense and mystery to the narrative. David Shelley has a sordid past in Afghanistan, which is hinted at throughout the story, though it is only in the latter section that its importance comes to fruition. An intriguing piece of writing that differs from much of what I have seen come from Patterson, though surely Holmes used his literary influence to fashion something unique. A decent story that does not waste any time in ramping up the action.

Kudos, Messrs. Patterson and Holmes on this collaboration. I was intrigued and would surely read some of your joint work again. Will we see another BookShot soon?