Friday, December 9, 2011

Noteworthy Reads: DEAD MEN'S HARVEST by Matt Hilton

This sixth adventure in the popular Joe Hunter series is an action-packed thrill ride from start to finish and author Hilton holds the pedal to the metal on practically every page.

Hunter, former military man and agent for the mysterious counter-terrorism outfit Arrosave, once again finds himself pitted against Tubal Cain—a vicious serial killer also known as the Harvestman due to his quirky little habit of "harvesting" bones and other souvenirs from his victims. What makes their clash all the more unnerving this time around is the fact that Hunter thought he had killed Cain a number of years ago (as related in DEAD MEN'S DUST, the first entry in the series). When Cain escapes from the ultra-maximum security prison where the CIA had been holding him for mysterious reasons known only to them, the Harvestman is hell bent of getting revenge against Hunter and also wiping out Joe's brother John, who is in Witness Protection waiting to testify against the crime boss who helped spring Cain.

The plot is marvelously complex, with numerous back stories and ulterior motives all interwoven around the central thrust of events building steadily toward the inevitable clash between Hunter and Cain. Some of the action strains real-life credibility and Hunter's straight-ahead-at-all-costs method of doing things is borderline reckless to say the least … but, ultimately, that is part of the fun. Hunter is a larger-than-life hero made to overcome larger-than-life challenges. And Tubal Cain is a cunning, well-realized, thoroughly despicable villain who makes a very worthy adversary.

The cutting back and forth between first- and third-person narrative has become somewhat common in thrillers these days and in several instances I, for one, have found it unnecessary and annoying. Here, however, author Hilton does it skillfully enough—and the insight/information learned in the third-person segments are important enough—to make the shifts not only justified but seamless in the reading. Also, Hilton does a terrific job of writing the action scenes that are crucial to this type of thriller, and a hell of a lot harder to do than you might think.

All in all, an exciting, slam-bang tale with a hero you'll want to see more of. Be sure to check it out, and—if you haven't already done so—also check out the other titles in the series. You'll be glad you did.

Persevere --- WD

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