Book Review: Wounded Prey by Sean Lynch
With thanks to NetGalley and Angry Robot for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Vietnam War provided the perfect opportunity for Vernon Slocum to unleash all of his twisted, murderous rage on the world, a product of his abusive childhood. His skills as a Marine earned him many medals and his commanders and squadmates recognized him as a man who got the job done – and who could easily end them if they questioned his more depraved actions. But when Slocum returns to the real world 20 years later, his kidnapping and brutal murder of a young girl isn’t going to go unnoticed.
The story jumps right in with Slocum’s depravity – and the valiant, but ultimately failed attempt by rookie deputy Kevin Kearns to save the girl. The FBI turns their attention on Kearns, as does the small town, whose thirst for vengeance will see Kearns burned at the stake for daring to survive where a little girl didn’t. Meanwhile, retired cop Bob Farrell recognizes Slocum’s MO and is not going to let him slip away again.
This is an introduction to Kearns and Farrell’s partnership and Lynch puts a unique spin on the old cop/green cop team up by binding them both so strongly together through the guilt of the little girl’s death. Kearns isn’t too happy with Farrell’s methods, but considering his new scapegoat status and his desire to catch the bad guy, he hesitantly goes along with Farrell’s less than legal methods.
Essentially, the two become vigilantes and I really liked the liberation it gives them – knowing the law and being able to slip over and under it without the use of a cape and tights. It also means that the two are as much criminals themselves, adding to the intensity of the hunt.
I really appreciated the authenticity of the characters and the situations. Lynch is clearly drawing on his career to pull together a dynamic and often gruesome story.