31 Days of Spooky Reads: Hunted

  • TitleHunted
  • AuthorEmily Lloyd-Jones
  • Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Paranormal, Horror, Suspense
  • Publication Date:  August 2018
  • Publisher: Black Owl Books
  • Rating: 3/5 stars

Nonstop thrill, Hunted is a mystery/thriller by horror writer Darcy Coates.

A young woman, Eileen, goes missing in Ashlough Forest, and everyone presumes her dead, including the police. Her brother and his friends go searching for her, even if only to find her remains to bring back home to bury.

The group find more than they’re hoping for, though, as a monster with razor sharp claws is trying to pick them off one by one.

I was expecting far more paranormal considering Coates’ other books I’ve read, but was pleasantly surprised that Hunted was far more than that.

The writing is fast-paced, and had me pacing to get to the end of the book, just to know what was happening to Eileen and the 60+ hikers that went missing over the years in the forest.

Coates has you panting as the forest killer hunts down the characters, starting with poor Eileen. A typical mystery/thriller, Hunted leaves you guessing what the hunter with the razor sharp claws is, and who’s really behind the murders.

The tension was tight, with scenes flipping between the characters in a way that left me breathless as I tried to piece together the clues. Cinematic writing, with breakneck points along the story. I did think the twist was unexpected, but cliche, though it fit in with everything. I was expecting a bit more thrill at the end, but the conclusion was still satisfying.

I did think that the characters were smart, but some things didn’t add up. One of the friends, Anna, in the group that went searching for Eileen was very smart, and in some ways, too smart. For one moment, I wondered if she was the killer, only because she seemed to know a lot about surviving in the wilderness, though there was no indication that she had experience in, say, Girl Scouts. Another character, Hailey, knew how to clamp an artery…Now, these are all college-age kids, and even being pre-med, you’re not going to know how to clamp arteries, even by watching videos on how to do it, as Hailey claimed to do.

Todd, another character who was somewhat friends with the group, but still an outcast, has a crush on Eileen and goes off alone into the forest to look for her. His behavior is unrealistic, even being an awkward creep. He’s also cliche, re: awkward creep.

Carla, the main police officer involved in the investigation, was also cliche: she’s the emotionally distant officer who has a poor home life and is emotionally withdrawn after suffering in life. Too cliche, too much of the ‘withdrawn cop who once wanted to save the world but doesn’t have the willpower anymore’ routine.

But considering the writing itself, I didn’t want to put the book down. So 3 stars for keeping me engaged, even though the characters and plot points were all cliches and had me rolling my eyes a few times. On the plus side, after reading this book, I’m motivated to take a few survival classes…just in case I ever get hunted by a monster in the forest…

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