Review: Blood Tracks by Matt Hilton

Blood Tracksout of 5 shades

Grey and Po 1

My version:
Hardback
Fiction Crime, thriller
Severn House
2015
Bought direct from the author (!)
Signed

When her local District Attorney offers her a considerable sum of money to track down state witness Crawford Wynne, private investigator Tess Grey is in no position to refuse. Wynne is one of the few men still alive who can help the State nail vicious drug lord Alberto Suarez. But Tess is not the only one trying to track Wynne down. Suarez’s psychotic brother Hector has been hunting and butchering anyone who is a danger to his brother.

Tess needs help and there’s only one man she can turn to: Southern renegade ex-con Nicholas Villere, known to all as Po. Po always gets his man, but he has never been teamed with a woman before. Both have their own agenda for taking on this case, and neither fully trusts the other. But of one thing they are sure: if they don’t cover each other’s backs, they are both going to die…

I’m a big Matt Hilton fan. He is an excellent writer and a really nice person on what the young people of today seem to be calling ‘social media.’

I’ve read three of his Joe Hunter books, got many more waiting and been consistently impressed. This book is a new venture, and different from the Joe Hunter books, in that there are two main characters sharing the limelight – and one of them is a woman.

He (Matt) is back on familiar ground, the USA, though with a story set a little further south than the Joe Hunter ones I’ve read so far. And my initial feelings were, that his feel for and communication of the nuances of the southern States, was excellent. In the initial stages, it was this that captured and exited me most. As with all new ventures, books that are clearly destined to be the starts of series, there is some background work to be done. Filling in of character and motive. However, from my point, Matt wisely keeps this to a minimum. So it doesn’t block up the story and of course, gives him some wiggle room in later books.

The story fair rattles along and there’s barely a moment wasted in getting us where we need to be. Once they get down to Mississippi, you can fairly feel the heat and the tension rising accordingly. There are enough twisty-turney bits and interesting additional characters to stock several volumes. Maybe some of them will.

He is of course taking a chance writing a woman lead character after the Joe Hunter books, which are very masculine. OK, there is a little skirt-interest in those stories, but there’s never any doubt about who is wearing the trousers in those books. He pulls it off with great style, ‘Tess’ is an interesting character, with a background and plausible motives. She could let herself go a bit more, but that’ll come, I’ve no doubt. Po, is another matter. He’s a strong male character and the hard part writing him, must have been not to make him Joe Hunter 2.0. He’s not. Another one with an intriguing and interesting background and ripe for development further down the line.

There are some points where character development could have been a little less clumsy. Kind of like letting actions speak louder than words. Letting what the character does signal what they are like, rather than the author stating it openly, again and again, just to make sure you got the point. And…the romance…I’m giving nothing away, you’ve figured what the possibilities might be, in reading the synopsis. I didn’t go for it. And I can’t see where it’s going to go over the course of several further volumes. It’s too soon and too constricting for the rest of the series. I could sketch out two or three possibilities here and now – and I shouldn’t be able to. It wasn’t really believable enough, too inevitable and too TV series got-to-fit-it-all-in-an-hour’s-show (minus advertising breaks)-like, Stockholm Syndrome-lite and predictable.

Having said that, this book actually says several very important things: Matt Hilton can write. Very well. He can write just what he wants to, he and his books are/were not a flash in the pan. And the Grey and Po series is going to be one that will build into a series as exciting and essential as Joe Hunter.

Buy Blood Tracks at The Book Depository

Related reviews:
Dead Men's DustJudgement and WrathSlash and BurnNatchez Burning

 

 

 

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