Hunted By Simon Maltman Review

Hunted is the gripping debut novel in Simon Maltman’s engaging Michael Walker series, a fast-paced political thriller set in 1999 as the Troubles, the violent sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland that lasted for about thirty years was all but ended with a peace deal. Read my full review.

Hunted by Simon Maltman is an absorbing story of secrets and international intrigue set in a small town in rural Pennsylvania, where the British government has relocated the main character, Michael Walker, after a fragile peace agreement has all but ended the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Hunted Publisher's Synopsis

Michael Walker Thrillers Series #1

Michael Walker – former IRA soldier, turned MI5 informer – is living in hiding in rural America. A robbery at Walker’s home leads to his rare copy of the Irish Declaration of Independence being sold online. This proves to be the first link in the chain leading to his location being revealed. Walker’s life is plunged into peril, as an IRA hit squad – led by Marty Sullivan – is dispatched to eliminate him. Sullivan, a former comrade, is out for blood. Against the political backdrop of a struggling peace process back home, Walker goes on the run across the state of Pennsylvania and forges unlikely allegiances to survive. Walker seeks help from his former British handlers, but he should have known that any assistance must come at a price. Walker will not just remain a victim. He must fight back. The hunted must become the hunter.

Sharpe Books (November 22, 2023)

Genre(s) Political Thrillers & Suspense, Assassination Thrillers

Simon Maltman | Pub Date 22 Nov 2023 | ISBN ‎ 9798870411965 (Print) | 257 pages

Hunted Review

It’s 1999, and the relocation of Michael Walker, a former IRA soldier forced to become an informer for the British, is like a witness protection program arrangement with the aim of keeping him hidden safely from his former IRA associates who consider him a traitor to the cause and want him dead. Living a quiet life in hiding in the United States, Walker is facing the ghosts of his painful past when an unexpected catalyst sets him on a collision course with an underground network of vengeful IRA operatives who discovers his location.

The catalyst is a burglary of Walker’s house. He arrives home one evening to discover intruders, two local black men, burgling his home. Walker drives them away, but only after they make off with, among other property, a large sum of money the near destitute Walker can’t spare along with his prized possession, a rare copy of the of the revolutionary Irish Republic Declaration of Independence. He goes to work tracking down the burglars, only to learn a fence in a nearby town has already listed the document for sale on the internet and the rarity of the document exposes Walker’s location to an IRA hit squad.

After recovering his document, Walker continues pursuing the two men who broke into his home, intent on getting his money back. After finding them, he forces one of them, a young man named Brandon, to help him recover the money now in the possession of a black gang leader that Brandon and his partner worked for. The confrontation with the gangster where Walker gets his money back puts him and Brandon in harm’s way and in the interest of self-preservation, they stay together and soon a friendship develops.

While they try to stay a step ahead of the irate gangsters, Michael and Brandon run headlong into an IRA kill team and Brandon gets sucked into Walker’s troubles from his past. The bond between them strengthens as circumstances force them to fight together for their survival.

Hunted will satisfy seasoned crime and thriller reader, with its standard “on the run” archetypal type political thriller plot and keeping readers guessing until the last chapter with a few unexpected twists offered along the way. What is initially a one-off run in with the first IRA hit squad soon leads to another and then another, maintaining the pacing and tension at a high level throughout with plenty of action to keep the reader turning the pages.

Maltman does an excellent job seeding the story with cultural landmarks from 1999 to give the story a realistic feel. He offers us many notable secondary characters to keep the story interesting—in particular, Walker’s sidekick Brandon and a female FBI agent, Amy Landish, who is also a significant presence in the story.

Largely dialogue-driven with a tight plot, Maltman has done well in capitalizing on the novel’s anchor to the Troubles and in capturing the isolated rural setting with its sense of foreboding. The conclusion, in particular, will satisfy readers.

Hunted is recommended for crime, thriller, and mystery readers. A big thanks to the author and the publisher for making available a review copy of the book for consideration of my honest review.

Book rating: ★★★★

Where to Buy Hunted

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