Wounded Prey by Sean Lynch is an upcoming book from Exhibit A, a crime-publishing imprint of Angry Robot, and I can already tell you it is going to draw a lot of comparisons to other great crime stories. It’s already been noted as a mix between No Country for Old Men and Silence of the Lambs. I’ve debated over and over again about throwing out my own comparisons of the villain, Vernon Slocum, to that of so many other diabolical characters and I just can’t do it. Why? Because those characters are fictional and somewhere there once existed a man known as Vernon Slocum, there can be no other sufficient explanation for how mind-blowing the portrayal for this character was. For me, Vernon Slocum was a showstopper, evil and blood-crazed as this former insane marine was, I couldn’t help but become sickly fascinated when quivering behind closed doors and trying not to urinate myself as his parts neared.
For my first read from Exhibit A, Wounded Prey met and exceeded all my expectations. Sean Lynch dishes out what I like to consider a “complete novel” filled with: stellar characters, an engaging plot, captivating and also humorous writing at times, and most importantly, realism. I’ve already made a few notes during the read about how I loved the brutally realistic fighting. When a huge man with military combat training throws some hefty punches around it doesn’t take long for him to dish out serious damage. I tend to get sick of imitation style wrestling fight depictions of these superhuman hulks absorbing so much damage there is no way they should still be standing, let alone still alive and conscious. Every action by these former soldiers has been programmed and drilled by instinct to be quick and deadly efficient, and Lynch gives us just that. Vernon Slocum doesn’t pull many punches, when he wants somebody dead, he will kill them anyway he can.
Realizing I haven’t told you anything about the actual story inside Wounded Prey, here it is: “It’s time to finish what he started…”
A young girl is snatched in broad daylight from outside her school and later found brutally murdered and hanging from a tree.
When recently retired San Francisco Police Inspector, Bob Farrell, sees this on the news, he realizes his worst nightmare has just come true. The same brutal killer a government agency stopped him from putting away twenty years before is once more on the loose.
As the killer wreaks a trail of blood and destruction across North America, Bob Farrell teams up with rookie cop Kevin Kearns and sets out to track down their lethal prey.
But Farrell & Kearns are not playing by the rules any more than the killer is, and soon the FBI have all of them in their sights…
If this sounds to you like a harsh, disturbing, exciting, brilliant, amazing, violent, sick, and drug-infused wreck coming to a head-on collision with a lot of unique investigation techniques (You might want to think twice about giving Farrell your business card), enjoyable characters, and killing – then you assumed correctly.
The road Deputy Kevin Kearns and former inspector Bob Farrell take is one of the vigilante and they are damn good at it. By the time the novel ends I’m not sure whose bad side I would rather be on; that of the Farrell and Kearns duo or the unstoppable Slocum.
Reading Wounded Prey for me was like living in the shadows of Vernon Slocum and crawling my way through the jungles of Vietnam, praying I would make it out alive, watching as the big man slaughtered innocents and combatants alike. In case you can’t tell, I’m still in awe at what a presence Lynch has given Slocum and I can’t imagine any another character trying to enact Slocum’s perverse role. I’m sure there will be more Farrell and Kearns quests which I will be thrilled to read, but those who try and step up to fill Slocum’s shoes have a mighty big challenge ahead of them. 9 out of 10 Liams for Wounded Prey by Sean Lynch, I almost wish the hunt had never ended.