It is my absolute pleasure to be sharing my thoughts on Hunting Time by Jeffery Deaver and to wish the author a very happy publication day. I love the Colter Shaw series and am very grateful to publisher HarperCollins for the advance copy via Netgalley. That made my week! It feels far too long since our last outing with Colter. Here’s what it’s all about.
About the Book
THERE ARE TWO FUNDAMENTAL RULES OF SURVIVAL.
#1: NEVER BE WITHOUT A MEANS OF ESCAPE.
Allison Parker is on the run with her teenage daughter, Hannah, and Colter Shaw has been hired by her eccentric boss, entrepreneur Marty Harmon, to find and protect her. Though he’s an expert at tracking missing persons—even those who don’t wish to be found—Shaw has met his match in Allison, who brings all her skills as a brilliant engineer designing revolutionary technology to the game of evading detection.
#2: NEVER BE WITHOUT ACCESS TO A WEAPON.
The reason for Allison’s panicked flight is soon apparent. She’s being stalked by her ex-husband, Jon Merritt. Newly released from prison and fueled by blinding rage, Jon is a man whose former profession as a police detective makes him uniquely suited for the hunt. And he’s not alone. Two hitmen are also hot on her heels—an eerie pair of thugs who take delight not only in murder but in the sport of devising clever ways to make bodies disappear forever. Even if Shaw manages to catch up with Allison and her daughter, his troubles will just be beginning.
SHAW IS ABOUT TO DISCOVER RULE #3:
NEVER BELIEVE ANYTHING.
As Shaw ventures further into the wilderness, the truth becomes as hard to decipher as the forest’s unmarked trails…and peril awaits at every turn.
I love Colter Shaw. He is such a refreshing protagonist. Whilst he can outgun and out manoeuvre his foe using all the traditional weaponry and skills one might expect, that really is, for him, a last resort. The greatest weapons in Colter’s arsenal are logic and probability, and until he has determined the proportional risk or likelihood of any given situation, he doesn’t make a move. Sounds long winded? Not when Colter Shaw is in charge. It’s his specialism and he can assess a scenario faster than most of his foes could open up a switch blade. It makes for some very interesting, and very unique, moments of threat and jeopardy and also makes for one hell of an entertaining story.
That is absolutely true of Hunting Time, in what starts as a relatively simple investigation into industrial espionage turns into a cross country quest to save a scientist, Allison, and her daughter, Hannah, from what could well be a very deadly confrontation. The tension is high, the pace fast, and the thrill of the hunt, and for Allison staying always one step ahead of the hunter, ensure that the interest in the story never wavers for one second.
Jeffery Deaver has such a skill in setting up the perfect scenario, ensuring that we are armed with all of the salient facts and then leading Colter, and by extension, the reader on one heck of an adventure. There is absolutely no doubt about the threat levels in this book. The perspective is shared between Colter and his investigations, Allison and Hannah as they try to evade those who are searching for them, Allison’s ex-husband, the very man they are hiding from, and a couple of heavies whose only aim is to ensnare Allison and ensure that her fate is well and truly sealed. The switching POV keeps the action fresh and the sense of threat at an all time high, giving us, as readers, little time to relax before the next pulse-pounding scene.
It’s not all action and tension though. There are some poignant moments, some scenes where the softer, more emotional moments take over, driven by both familial love and, in some cases, pure physical attraction. These scenes were vital because I knew all to well that, sooner rather than later, I was going to be perched right back on the edge of my seat, wondering just what dangers Allison and Hannah, and to a certain extent, Colter would be facing next.
Be prepared to be surprised, and keep your eyes well and truly open. This wouldn’t be a Jeffery Deaver novel if there wasn’t more than the odd twist or two. He most definitely delivers in Hunting Time, making use of the obvious but also managing to blindside readers a touch. The clues are all there, although you may well miss them first time around. Some are more obvious than others, but the level of subterfuge, by both characters and author, are perfectly pitched and extremely effective in this book.
What I really do love about this series, aside from the irresistible Colter Shaw, and in fact any Jeffery Deaver novel I have read so far, is that the author does a superb job of serving up strong female characters. Not just Allison Parker, although she is a woman of great resilience and whose logic rivals even Colter’s, but also Sonja Nilsson. She is the head of security at Harmon Energy, and a perfect match for Colter in both skill and mindset. There is a real spark there and it’s fun to see the pair feeding off each other. But it is perhaps Hannah who surprises the most. As a teenager she is prone to the surliness and lapses in judgment you might expect, but they way she takes on board some of the simple lessons that Colter shares with her is impressive and really brought a smile to my face.
Another absolute belter of a story, packed with energy, tension, and all the thrills and suspense I have come to expect from this series. Brilliant characterisations, a very vivid depiction of a town in decline and that time-stealing sense of urgency that kept me completely glued to the page. What more could you ask for in a book? Definitely recommended.
About the Author
Jeffery Deaver is an international number-one bestselling author. His novels have appeared on bestseller lists around the world. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into over twenty-five languages. He has served two terms as president of Mystery Writers of America, and was recently named a Grand Master of MWA, whose ranks include Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Mary Higgins Clark and Walter Mosely.
The author of over forty novels, three collections of short stories and a nonfiction law book, and a lyricist of a country-western album, he’s received or been shortlisted for dozens of awards. His “The Bodies Left Behind” was named Novel of the Year by the International Thriller Writers association, and his Lincoln Rhyme thriller “The Broken Window” and a stand-alone, “Edge,” were also nominated for that prize. “The Garden of Beasts” won the Steel Dagger from the Crime Writers Association in England. He’s also been nominated for eight Edgar Awards by the MWA.
Deaver has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, the Strand Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Raymond Chandler Lifetime Achievement Award in Italy.
His book “A Maiden’s Grave” was made into an HBO movie starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin, and his novel “The Bone Collector” was a feature release from Universal Pictures, starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. Lifetime aired an adaptation of his “The Devil’s Teardrop.” NBC television recently aired the nine-episode prime-time series, “Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector.”