Author: J.E. Locke
Published: 18th August, 2017
Length: 60,000 words (240 pages) approx.
ISBN: Paperback ISBN: 978-1-910635-83-4
eBook ISBN: 978-1-910635-84-1
ASIN: B074PWFHJDCategory: Fiction
Genre: Crime, Thrillers and Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
A police procedural inspired by CSI.
Meet Superintendent Brian Tyson, based at Scotland Yard. Aided by a group of forensic experts and the police of three different counties, he is charged with catching a serial rapist.
Having already attacked once in South London, the target is travelling north, and Brian is in hot pursuit. With a second attack in the Midlands - this time on a young Afro-Caribbean teenager - the hunt intensifies, with Brian getting ever closer to his prey.
Can he catch the rapist before he strikes again?
Whilst 'police procedural' is not my literary genre of choice, I'm quite partial to TV series about crack teams of profilers and highfaluting police officers embarking on caffeine-fuelled hunts for dangerous criminals.
Hunting a Predator has some definite hints of shows such as CSI, Criminal Minds and Cracker, but it is distinct in several ways. It's similar in the way it's told - through a series of scenes at distinct times and locations, linear progression of the case and the procedure itself - and, of course, there's the investigative team, led by Superintendent Brian Tyson - a former officer in the Special Services.
Other personnel include Anthony Terrence and Will Fordham - forensic psychologists who play together quite nicely, considering their profession and that they're based at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford respectively. Then there's Tom Donald - a senior forensic scientist - workaholic with a heart of gold and my favourite member of the team. Brian's personal assistant Olivia needs a shout-out, too, because it's clear Brian wouldn't be anywhere near as efficient without her at his side.
As the investigation escalates, the team draws in a few others, the most prominent of those being fifteen-year-old Alonso Davis - Ace to his friends. I won't say more about what he does, but he steals the show, and in some respects, this story is as much about Ace's growth as it is about solving the crime(s). He proves himself to be a great ally - the kind of young man who could rightfully wear the badge of 'feminist'.
Aside from the refreshing mix of ethnicity, age and gender among the main characters (the bias is still white males in their 30s-40s and realistic in context), a major strength of Hunting a Predator is that whilst the focus is on the investigation, it also explores the impact of the crimes on the victims, families, communities and those involved in caring for the victims / tracking down the rapist.
This, to me, is what makes this story distinct. I stopped watching CSI and Criminal Minds because once you've seen/read one criminal investigation you've pretty much seen/read them all. The crimes change, the victims have different names, but the procedure is the same old same old. Hunting a Predator digs deeper and without falling foul of romantic sub-plots, marriages sacrificed to the job, drug/alcohol/gambling addictions, and so on.
Content warning: includes reference to the nature of the attacks (rape, constraint, mutilation) on both animals and young women. In both cases, the details are scant and not graphically or gratuitously depicted, but may cause distress to some readers.
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