Reviewed by: Keith Nixon
Genre: Thriller / Crime
Approximate word count: 40-45,000 words
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Martin Stanley studied to be a graphic designer. A love of crime fiction at an early age led Martin to start writing. He has since released The Gamblers and now The Hunters.
You can learn more about the author at his blog: http://the gamblersnovel.com
Rose Bennett is a woman with a grudge. Her ex-husband, Mike McGarvey, is a car dealer with a variety of very dubious connections and half a million pounds tucked away in a safe. It’s money no-one knows about, or so he thinks.
Rose believes she was cheated in their divorce settlement so she approaches an old school friend and local Teesside criminal, Stanton, to rob McGarvey. It’s planned to occur when he’s having one of his regular poker games with several criminal friends. For Stanton there’s some money in it and the potential of a grateful Rose.
It should be simple, but it isn’t…
The take down goes well, the aftermath doesn’t and the Stantons get ripped off. Rose finds out and threatens the brothers – recover the cash or she’ll put Raffin onto them, a man so bad he scares even them.
This is a very good, fast moving, at times violent story with a range of excellent characters, the latter being the strongest aspect of The Hunters.
There’s the Stantons themselves, tough guys, one clever, one the muscles. Rose, stunning and alluring, is a dichotomy – she was jailed for attacking a girl with a high-heeled shoe and killed another girl in prison. Is she redeemed? Or just pretending?
There’s a litany of bad guys – Hollis, Eddie Miles and Raffin to name but a few. All well painted, all evil in their own way. One intriguing aspect - the author doesn’t reveal the Christian name of either Stanton brother. It works well.
The Hunters is written in the first person by the narrator - Stanton himself - delivering an immediacy to the plot. It clips along at a fair pace, the brothers drawn into one problem after the other. The prose is terse and Stanton’s character shines through in the language. Stanley creates excellent tension and a strong motivation for the reader to keep turning the pages.
Here’s an example of the writing:
I decided not to crack wise with Eddie. Despite the tension in the room he was Zen personified – his voice may have sounded rough, but his tone was calm and collected – and that made me nervous. He looked like he was already planning new and interesting ways of disposing of our corpses.
Thoroughly enjoyable and with a cliffhanger at the end, presumably ready to explode at the beginning of the sequel. I’m looking forward to finding out.
Some swearing. Violent scenes.
Rating: **** Four Stars