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Wounded Prey by Sean Lynch

If you are of a nervous disposition, look away now! Wounded Prey is the latest epic crime thriller from Exhibit A books. A young girl is snatched from her school in broad daylight, her teacher gunned down in the process, despite the intervention of rookie cop Kevin Kearns who lets the man get away. The girl is later found assaulted, murdered and hanging from a tree.

Retired Police Inspector Bob Farrell sees the horrifying story in the news and realises he has seen this MO before – the calling card of a deranged child killer he let slip through his fingers twenty years previously.

As the psychopath, ex-soldier Vernon Slocum sets of on a bloody path of death and destruction, Farrell enlists the help of Kevin Kearns to pursue Slocum themselves; a job that the FBI seems unable to do. Against the rules and against the clock, the unlikely pair have their work cut out to catch a madman before more die.

I really enjoyed the pairing of Kevin Kearns, naive in some ways but determined and goodhearted, and seasoned investigator Bob Farrell with all his vices and great sense of humour. Theirs is the sort of relationship I can’t wait to see carried through into other books. The hulking figure of Vernon Slocum was probably one of the most menacing villains I’ve read in a while and his crimes were truly gruesome. The military background worked well in the storyline and all the characters were clearly defined.

Adrenaline pumping, gory and scary at times, Wounded Prey is an expertly written crime thriller debut definitely not for the faint hearted.

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