This is the first book I’ve read from crime publisher Exhibit-A, and the first from author Sean Lynch.
As I said in a tweet to the book’s editor, “It should have been called Relentless.”
In WOUNDED PREY, psycho killer Vernon Slocum is on the loose, murdering kids just as he did years before in the madness of Vietnam. Bob Farrell was an investigator during the Vietnam killings, and Kevin Kearns is a rookie deputy who’s just gone up against Slocum…andlost. With both men reeling from the realisation that they failed in their separate attempts to stop Slocum, they work together to finally put an end to his murder spree.
Slocum is smartly drawn for the reader, with explanations for his motives. The sickening reasons behind his psychosis are revealed throughout the book, and it never felt like an info-dump. In many cases his backstory was very cleverly detailed through the use of supporting characters. One example of this clever technique is when we visit Slocum’s brother Cole. Author Sean Lynch takes us from Cole’s traumatic childhood, all the way through to where he is now. So we not only learn about the kind of abuse Vernon Slocum and his siblings went through, but Lynch uses it to further propel the plot.
It’s first-rate, measured writing.
This brings me to something I really enjoyed: the interplay between Farrell and Kearns. The back-and-forth banter was so funny at times, it literally had me laughing out loud. They work well, the older, cynical cop and the young hot-head rookie. In Lynch’s capable hands, the duo bounce off of one another perfectly. It’s definitely a couple of characters I want to revisit.
WOUNDED PREY is a non-stop thrill ride of a book. Unrelenting, brutal, scary, and at times skin-crawling in its depiction of atrocious crimes. And yet it is also funny, warming and believable. Much like the excellent SUPERBIA police proceedural series, written by former Detective Bernard Schaffer, WOUNDED PREY feels realistic because its author knows what he’s talking about. Sean Lynch has seen a lot of stuff in his law-enforecement career, and that definitely comes across. True, anybody can write a police thriller. But few efforts feel as real as Lynch’s. Like Schaffer, he’s lived the life.
WOUNDED PREY is a great book, the start of a series. Now, Mr. Lynch…get to work on the follow-up. You have one very happy reader waiting for it!