Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Hunt - Tim Lebbon

About the book...
She will hunt down the men who took her family. She will have blood. Rose is the one that got away. She was the prey in a human trophy hunt organised by an elite and secret organisation for bored super-rich clients seeking a unique thrill. She paid a terrible price - when she escaped The Trail murdered her family. Every moment since she has been planning her revenge. Watching, waiting ...And now her day has come.

Chris returns from his morning run to find his wife and children missing and a stranger in his kitchen. He's told to run. If he's caught and killed, his family go free. If he escapes, they die. Rose is the only one who can help him, but Rose only has her sights on one conclusion. For her, Chris is bait. But The Trail have not forgotten the woman who tried to outwit them. The Trail want Rose. The hunters want Chris's corpse. Rose wants revenge, and Christ just wants his family back.


About the author...
TIM J LEBBON is a New York Times-bestselling writer with over thirty novels published to date, as well as dozens of novellas and hundreds of short stories.  Recent releases include The Silence, Coldbrook, Into the Void: Dawn of the Jedi (Star Wars), Reaper's Legacy, and Alien: Out of the Shadows.  He has won four British Fantasy Awards, a Bram Stoker Award, and a Scribe Award, and been shortlisted for World Fantasy and Shirley Jackson awards.  A movie of his story Pay the Ghost, starring Nicolas Cage, will be released soon, and other projects in development include My Haunted House, Playtime, and Exorcising Angels.

He has had around 20 novellas published and hundreds of short stories, steadily building a dedicated following among the horror & dark fiction community.  A movie of his short story PAY THE GHOST was filmed last year in Toronto, starring Nicolas Cage and Sarah Wayne Callies, directed by Uli Edel. He is also working on two TV series ideas, as well as a new original screenplay.  

He has won 4 British Fantasy Awards (3 for Best Novella, one for Best Novel), a Bram Stoker Award and a Scribe Award.  He has also been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award multiple times, the World Fantasy Award, and the Shirley Jackson Award.

My thoughts...
I was involved in the cover reveal for this book way back in April and jumped at the chance to be part of the blog tour.  I loved the sound of the book and was very intrigued, even more so when AVON, Tim's publishers went full pelt with their marketing campaign.  

Imagine opening a parcel to find a survival kit and a hostage letter asking me to take up a challenge, 48hrs to save my family!  Intrigued and with the adrenalin already beginning to pump I opened a second parcel to reveal a personalised book - #TheHunt was on and I was preparing to run, egged on by AVON and Tim Lebbon.  But, not before I headed to Amazon and downloaded a kindle copy for fear of creasing the pages of my personalised paperback.

The story begins as Chris returns from his early morning run, he's happy, he has beaten his personal best and is preparing to enter the usual morning chaos as his two daughters and wife prepare, respectively for school and work.  On entering his home it was obvious straight away that something wasn't right - it was the deadly silence, no music, no tv, no bickering just nothing - then Chris encountered a stranger, drinking coffee, his coffee, in his kitchen!

To say Tim Lebbon dropped me straight into a story from a great height and made me pick up the baton and run with it would be a true understatement.  Within the first few pages I was hooked - intrigued, yet apprehensive at the same time - my heart was in my mouth as Chris first discovered an empty house, blood in the bathroom and then not one but two complete strangers in his house.  The first telling him to keep quiet, stay in the house and not to call the police if he wanted his family to live.  The second, unseen, knocked him to the ground before giving him some instructions.  She was on his side, she says. But, was she?

It seems Chris had to run to save his family! A no win situation - get caught - he dies, his family survives.  Escape 'The Hunt' - he lives, his family dies.  Rose survived, her family died - she's seeking revenge - she wants to kill each and every member of The Trail, the company that seeks out people to use as bait for their rich clients to hunt down - in effect a live computer game.  She's now using Chris as a pawn, her bait as well as the Trail's bait - one slip up from Chris and it's over - his life and his family's life hung in the balance.

The story alternates between Rose's story and Chris's story - both on the run, both for different reasons.  This truly was a heart stopping book that was impossible to put down as both physical and mental agility were put to the test.  Tim dragged me into  a game of endurance where mental strength was stronger and more important than physical fitness.  Knowing when to run and when to stay hidden to keep in the game was physically exhausting and mentally draining for me as a reader.  I held my breathe, and bit back tears as Chris and his family faced death

Tim Lebbon has written a story that thrives on primal fear, yet it was a book that I couldn't put down.  There didn't seem to be a way out, I just had to keep turning the pages.  He has created characters that evoke strong emotions, I was part of #TeamChris from page one but see-sawed with Rose.  I spent more time thinking about her psyche and that of the Hunters than I did about Chris.  On the surface Rose was cold, calculating and manipulative but the more I read, I understood her and actually warmed to her, if that's possible?   I loved how outwardly she was one person, yet underneath someone else. She was a contradiction to life itself, outwardly alive yet dead inside. 

Tim Lebbon's knowledge and attention to detail in The Hunt was brilliant.  I know the area reasonably well and each page turned was like looking at a series of snapshots so vivid and accurate were his descriptions.  Anyone who has spent time in the welsh hills surrounding Snowdonia will recognise the area easily. This is a brilliant, addictive read, not everyone's cup of tea I have to say but, it will get you thinking.  What makes people tick and which is better physical or mental strength.  The Hunt demonstrates and brings survival instincts to the fore.  

I genuinely thought I'd have trouble sleeping whilst reading this book but it had the opposite effect - I was so psyched up and involved, I really was running to save my family, I was so mentally drained when I finished it I just shut down and slept the sleep of the dead.  I highly recommend this dark, twisted story - you don't want to be the only one not in the race - so join all of the triathletes and ultra runners out there - get your trainers on and run!


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