Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Hunted, by Caro Savage

Boldwood Books, ISBN 9781838895389, January 2022

Detective Constable Bailey Morgan went undercover to get the goods on a major drug dealer in London, and now in just a few weeks' time, she'll be a key witness in his trial. This guy doesn't want to spend the next twenty years in prison, though, so he's hired a hitman--a topnotch hitman, who always gets his target.

Bailey's supervising officer for undercover operations wants to put her in a safe house until she testifies at the trial. Bailey, though, decides, and convinces her boss, Stella, that it's a better plan for her to go undercover to hunt the hitman who's hunting her. A chance to catch the guy!

I wasn't convinced it was actually sensible, but that's the kind of not-quite-sensible decision you can easily accept for the sake of the story.

Bailey sets herself up in a dump of a hotel in a skeevy section of town, and starts looking for any information that could give her a lead on the hitman, "Rex." One of those possible leads comes from a previous hit believed to be Rex's work, and a waitress at a club owned by the man believed to have hired that hit.

Meanwhile, we are also getting Rex's viewpoint, and learning that he's coldblooded, thorough, and that his episodic memory only goes back about three years--to about the time that that particular killing occurred. That's when "Rex," the hitman, apparently came into existence.

As we follow the two through their hunts for each other, I really got to like Bailey and some of her colleagues. We do learn that Bailey has some serious trauma in her past, too. The characterization of Bailey, her colleagues, friends, and family seems realistic. If Rex comes off as a bit of a supervillain, it's not beyond what I can accept for helping to make this the exciting story it is.


There are also some stupid mistakes that seem just sloppy.

Emma, one of Bailey's fellow cops but one who has never worked undercover, keeps bugging Bailey to get together with her for lunch (in a restaurant she and Bailey are known to favor), and finally Bailey actually agrees to go to dinner at Emma's home, an address not that hard to track down.

Neither Bailey nor Stella pick up on the fact that the front desk clerk at Bailey's cheap hotel readily tells Stella the room number of the woman with the scar on her face means that Bailey has not even the most basic security in this cheap hotel. Bailey went a little too cheap, this time. The correct thing for her to do is to find a safer place, but neither she nor Stella twigs to that.

Meanwhile, Rex, the ever thorough and careful hitman, makes his own questionable mistakes. His business manager (yes, he has one) keeps needling him about his secret that only she knows; even he doesn't know, because it's from further back than his memory goes.  This is really not someone he should be trusting. And when he gets a call alerting him to Bailey's likely location, he rushes off, in a way likely to produce oversights and mistakes.

Despite these complaints, though, the story is fast-paced, mostly well-plotted, and the characters, even when, as in the case of Rex, or the drug dealer who hired him, they're not really likeable, they are really interesting.

Overall, an enjoyable read.


I received a free electronic galley from the publisher, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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